There is some controversy between dog owners about whether or not dog treats should be used in potty training. Some say that the reward encourages their pet to only relieve themselves outside while others believe that the reward can confuse a canine and do little to nothing for potty training. If you plan to use dog treats when potty training, there are a few things you should consider first.
The Cycle of Potty Training with Treats
Keep in mind that when you potty train with treats, you are rewarding your dog with another reason to have to go back outside again a short time later. This is even more evident when dealing with young puppies that are still developing muscle control. If you feed the treat after returning inside, your pet will only digest it and need to go again soon after. This could lead to a disruption in your potty training schedule and lead to an accident. The goal should always be to prevent accidents because the less opportunity your dog has to make a mistake, the better it is for training!
Your Dog's Expectations
Another problem with dog treat rewards when potty training is your dog's expectations. If you begin by handing them a food reward every time they go outside, plan on doing that for the long term. Your dog will expect to earn a biscuit. Should you decide to wean him or her off of the food reward, this can create a problem that will set back your progress. Rather than create a reason to have to go back over the same training steps, give it a solid start that won't lead to unreasonable expectations from your pet.
When Should I Use Dog Treats in Training?
Dog treats are a very valuable training tool. When used correctly, an edible reward can motivate your dog to pay attention and keep learning new commands. The key is timing. When you use dog treats will greatly impact the progress. Potty training is generally not a great time to use dog treats, although the occasional food reward is acceptable.
Another approach is to combine rewards. When you keep your dog guessing, you will never have to worry about him or her expecting a treat. Occasionally offer a dog treat, the rest of the time shower your pet with praise and petting.
Other Potty Training Aids
There are a number of other potty training aids that can help your pet get the hang of going outside. For example, the Potty Rock dog training device is intended to draw your pet to a specific area in the yard. The rock is scented in a way that appeals to the dog, and will encourage your pet to relieve itself in that area. A similar tool is the Pee Post, which is very similar to the rock, except it comes in a stake shape scented with pheromones. Potty training is one of the most important things you will do with your puppy, so make sure you do it right and avoid the common setbacks many other owners have encountered.