The Power of Food

Posted by PetSteps DogTraining on Thursday, December 4, 2014
To all of you out there that have a problem with using treats for training your dog, here’s what I have to say to people who make comments along the lines of:
  • I don’t believe in bribing my dog!
  • Cookies won’t work on aggression, high drive, or working dogs.
I’d like you to first imagine a really happy memory in your life such as a birthday, a visit to grandma’s house, a family gathering, or wedding etc. Now think about what all of these have in common. You guessed it, there was most likely food involved! Especially in grandma’s house there was probably some type of baked goods or your favorite feel good meal that she would make for you. Think about how that made you feel. Think about how the smell of that same food always makes you feel and how all those happy thoughts suddenly come back whenever you smell it. How many of you think your grandma was “bribing” you with food? Most would say that grandma loves me and therefore makes me yummy food. When you are sick or feeling depressed, many people look to food for comfort. When we meet new people we often do so over food. A common peace gesture is to offer food. We celebrate life by having feasts of… food! 

Now imagine the alternatives: Grandma never offers you anything because she thinks you should just come to visit her out of respect, wedding guest don’t sit down to a meal because they should only be there out of friendship for the bride and groom, when you are sick you should just tough it out because we know soup won’t cure a cold anyway, when you meet new people why don’t you just sit together and talk instead of all going out for dinner because food is silly!

Food is a very powerful substance. Food makes us physically feel good because it can change our brain chemistry, think of caffeine, sugar, and high fat foods. Food makes us feel mentally good because it can remind us of happy times, people, and places. Food can drive us to extremes behaviors because it can be addicting. Food drives us to work because without food we simply die. Eventually, under the right circumstances, every animal (except cats) will work for food and we can change their behaviors by offering them food in exchange for the behaviors we want. They will do it and the best part is that they will happily want to do it!

So do you still have a negative view of food? What’s the alternative? Is there any other training tool or strategy that accomplishes all of these positive physical and emotional responses? The answer is simply no.

Tags: "positive training" "treat training" "dog training"