If you train your dog with us, you will know that we don’t train obedience and good behaviour with the use of food.
If you have been in a classroom with our Animal Assisted Therapy dog’s, you will notice food rewards sneaking in here and there.
Are we being inconsistent? Did we change methods?
No, I don’t think so. Let me explain.
Our dog classes are to teach puppies, young dogs and older dogs how to act in the human world. A place where human manners and expectations do not come naturally. Our dog classes are about training a dog to behave. We should not need food to bribe our dogs to behave for us. They should want to behave because it makes us happy (we show this through physical and verbal praise) and to avoid a consequence such as a restriction.
Food treats are simply not necessary. They muddy the waters. The dog doesn’t focus on us, they focus on the food and they behave, not because of our leadership or a growing understanding of expectations in the human world, but because of a treat.
However, it cannot be denied, dogs will usually work harder for you for a treat. This is why we use treats for some exercises in classrooms where there is as little disruption as possible. Also look for a time to adopt when the adults in the family have time to work on setting up routine and making sure everyone feels safe.
A dog is an awesome addition to the family. We are also well aware of the benefits it can provide with children on the spectrum, really this relationship has the power to change lives. However, it must be approached carefully.
If you would like to have a chat about introducing a dog into your family give our Director and Educator Sarah a call. She is always happy to talk to families about integrating a dog into children’s lives as calmly and safely as possible.
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