Grrrrr! In one dog walk, I was told:
– When I had to call my dog a 2nd (not 3rd, not 4th, not 5th; SECOND time) as I called him at a distance while he was playing with another dog.
“Well. What do you expect when you work with treats?”
– When he heels IMPECCABLY for like two minutes as I overtake a group of people walking (in a dog park…), just on my voice requests, and I give him two treats as a reward.
“Well of course, everybody can do that with treats”
– When we work on an exercise which I work at intensively, in rapid succession, over the course of one minute, and someone with a morbidly obese dog says:
“It’s no wonder your dog is so fat!” whilst my dog has the body of an athlete.
No, using food in training is not the easy way out. The most modern and sophisticated animal training techniques today use food.
No, you can’t blame food for my dog’s one-time-only-less-than-perfect recall, on the contrary. Using harsh methods for the recall is hopeless – not to mention unethical.
No, my dog isn’t getting fat from it. I apportion how much food he’s allowed every day, and that’s where his training rewards come from. So my dog is working for part of his food. Is yours?
No, I am not luring my dog with the treats or distracting him. No, he is not blackmailing me. My timing is precise and the treat is the very last thing that appears AFTER he’s performed.
No, what I’ve achieved with my dog is nothing to do with ‘It’s easy with treats”. I have thought long and hard about an exercise, I have then practised it a lot, and I continually refine my technique.
The ‘it’s easy with treats’ remark is incredibly insulting and patronizing.
Do you know what IS easy? To shout at your dog, blaming him for your lack of insight about how to intelligently and gently raising a dog. THAT’s the easy way out!
Photo credits: https://www.flickr.com/photos/125892716@N05/14583206816 – CC BY-SA 2.0