I think treat training is cruel. - Page 2

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by ValK on 25 November 2018 - 19:11

Koots: has a strong bond with me and wants to work WITH me

bond with handler, paired with genetic predisposition to be busy, involved in physical activity in team of two, is a foundation and gives a success in training.

by Gustav on 25 November 2018 - 19:11

I trained dogs in Army, ( Scout, Sentry, Tracker,Narcotic contraband, Mine and tunnel in early seventies) before the advent of predominant treat training or food reward....and to say that these dogs weren’t trained to a very high level of competence far beyond pet training is speaking from a lack of knowledge. I have titled a dog personally ( Sch/IPO) in 1980 and in early 2000. I used entirely different methodologies in attaining the same title. I’m not knocking using food as a reward, for it is obviously effective, but to hear that other methods( praise, bond, correction, without food) is limited, is spoken by folks who probably have only trained a dog one way, or not at all, and thus speak of the other way from a lack of knowledge or more importantly experience.


by Jessejones on 25 November 2018 - 20:11


absolutely. bond with handler, paired with genetic predisposition to be busy, involved in physical activity in team of two, is a foundation and gives a success in training.

Of course Valk! 

This happens with marker training as well! Who says it doesnt? 

If you read Koots post again, he writes that he STARTED with FOOD, then moved to his HANDS later, as the reinforcer...a reinforcer can be anything the dog likes (or doesnt like if using neg. reinforcers) .

It can even be a crumpled piece of tissue paper laying on the floor, as long as you ‚charge’ it for the dog to desire it, to see it as a prize.

In puppyhood, the best and fastest reinforcer it is often food. So Koots was doing just that, and is still doing Marker Training with his hands.

His dog is working WITH him. Just like all correctly marker trained dogs do.

I truly don‘t understand where some of you are coming from, and I say this respectfully. Sometimes I wonder if posts are even read in detail.


Repectfully, I know trainers from the old days. And can say that many of them, once they have learned marker training, use it consistently...and would never be without it, going back to ONLY the old Methods.

And, I NEVER said there is only ONE way. This thread is about food treats being Cruel. Which is simply not true.

Training evolves. And there are many tools to be used....and I ALWYS HAVE SAID „In combination with each other“. No training method can be used exclusivly for best results.

To continue ....as you are implying that I have no knowledge. I have trained  my share of pups with marker training for  almost 20 years. I have had dogs in various states of training for 50 years. So please don‘t say that about someone you don‘t know that might think differently.

I think I prove, to any one knowledgeable about marker training, that I know what I’m talking about.

I just dont think that putting correct marker training with food into a bad light serves anyone.

by Rik on 25 November 2018 - 22:11

I think every dog is individual and different motives.

IMO, not being able to identify and use whatever it is that motivates the individual dog is cruel and leads to many cruel training methods, flanking, string on toe, e collar, harsh methods for retrieve,

in show world, very severe corrections for dog that won't stand for judge exam, so nervous dog is more scared from handler than approach of judge.

many methods truly are cruel.

and some of them would now result in criminal charges in many parts of the world if caught on youtube.

"pez dispenser" method is just short cut in most cases, and really the best method for way many dogs bred today.


by Gustav on 25 November 2018 - 22:11

Jesse, I know that training has evolved...I used food rewards and treats in training on that last dog. Evidently you didn’t see where I said it was very effective!!!....and I was gearing my remarks to whoever equated NOT using food or using praise/bond primarily as not being able to train a dog to very high level. I don’t know if you said that or not, but whoever said that lacks understanding of effectiveness of training in the past. That’s all!
I still train with food and I still train with praise. Depends on dog. A client brought me a dog last year with no food drive at all. He’d spit food out every time. He also wasn’t ball crazy, actually would go to ball pick it up and drop it. But he loved the tug....so we did the obedience with praise and built the drive later with the tug. He is on/ off leash trained in obedience now.
I seldom speak of what I speculate, but moreso about what I have done. I don’t think treat training is cruel, but I do think that it’s good for some dogs and not so good for others. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many handler/trainers that only know this method and think other methodology is deficient.
I hope this clarifies my statement.

by MuchToLearn on 25 November 2018 - 22:11

Personally, I hate clickers. They are annoying and serve literally no purpose. Saying "Yes!" or "Good boy/girl!" work just as well as a reinforcer than a stupid annoying noise. Besides most dogs already love praise even as puppies.

Another pet peeve of mine is silent dog training. People will use clickers and other than that are completely silent. Click, treat. Click, treat. ENGAGE YOUR DOG!!!!

I think saying treat training is cruel is a bit far fetched. On the other hand, I also understand completely. Dog training should be fun! Engaging! While also strengthening the bond between you and the dog. Not stiff and unemotional.

You can absolutely train puppies with just praise. Just be over the top with it! "Good boy/girl!" along with lots of pets/rubs and praise! Works just as well! It also works to strengthen the bond and reinforce the power of praise and reinforce the negativity of no! Because of course they would prefer love over the sterness of no! Jmo

by Gustav on 25 November 2018 - 22:11

Jesse, I went back and looked and you didn’t make the comment that lead to my post. The individual that did said to prove them wrong about level of training achieved with just praise and high pitched voice. THAT wasn’t you, I actually agreed with most of what you wrote, so I have no idea how you surmise I was talking about you and your marker training. I have used marker training also, in these latter years, but certainly not exclusively, because I fit the training to the strengths of the dog.
My post was giving proof that I have trained a dog in obedience to level of IPO 1 with and without food. I think that LEVEL of training would be proof that the way Hans speaks of is very effective also, it’s just many really don’t know how anymore.

by Gustav on 25 November 2018 - 22:11

Much to Learn 👍👍

by Sunsilver on 25 November 2018 - 22:11

Here's what happens when you use treat training EXCLUSIVELY, and don't engage the dog:

A handicapped woman had an assistance dog. She'd had a busy day shopping, and was ready to get into the car.

She dropped her keys, but because she'd run out of treats, the dog refused to pick them up for her. She had to go back into the store and get help.

A good trainer has many tricks in his/her bag. No one method works for every dog. And you need to treat the dog like a feeling/thinking being, with instincts and drives and needs, not a damn robot!

Reminds me of when Temple Grandin interviewed B.F. Skinner. He said to her, "We don't need to know what goes on inside the animal's brain. We have operant conditioning [which of course, is the basis for clicker training]!"

She walked away thinking, "There's so much more to animal behaviour," (I'd find the exact quote, but I've packed all my books away for a move. And yes, I agree with her.)

Of course I use treats and markers for training, but people who think treats and clickers are the be-all and end-all drive me batty! You'd think it was a religion, and that everyone else was worshipping the wrong god!  Roll eyes


by Jessejones on 25 November 2018 - 22:11

Thank you Gustav for clarifying.
I know you are very revered on this forum and with right.

Gustav: I think that LEVEL of training would be proof that the way Hans speaks of is very effective also, it’s just many really don’t know how anymore.

I don‘t disagree with that at all. As a matter of fact, my first sentence on my very first post on this thread, page 1, was to Prager that before saying what he is saying is that:

Me: „It is important to state what stage of training or stage of development you are talking about.“

Because marker training is simply an efficient way to teach new behaviors. Later, you don’t need it.

And yes, it depends on the dog...always. The dog will tell you...the  DOG DECIDES the best way to train him. Which is why we need a big tool belt. Not every dog is the same. But there are similarities from dog to dog.

Marker training can be with food, but can be with anything the dog desires. Or, that you can manufacture for the dog to desire by charging it. Even a 1inch minuscule twig can work wonders as a reinforcer  if you have nothing at hand (dont let him eat it though, or choke on it...LOL - this is just an example). Or, desired activities like letting him jump out of the car only upon cue...(he desires to jump out of the car...jumping out of the car after waiting patiently for the OK cue from you is also a reinforment for the behavior of waiting patiently.)

Food happens to work very well with most young pups. Other items work well with older dogs...but both are marker training.

When I go on walks or hikes...off leash, I always have my 1“ x 8“ firehose tug in my back pocket for spontaneous training spurts. I don’t need a tug or toy to have him comply...but want to, to keep him alert and to have fun. I dont need food anymore ever. But I started with food.




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