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Double Your Money: The Hidden Advantage of Using Food to Train

By Eileen Anderson

© Can Stock Photo/IvonneWierink

We’ve all heard the comments: ‘You’re bribing your dog!’ ‘Training with treats makes dogs fat!’ ‘What do you do if your dog runs into traffic? Throw cookies at it?’ BARKS from the Guild is one publication whose audience knows better. I do not believe I need to convince anyone here of the benefits and ethics of using food, a potent primary reinforcer, to train our animals. But I would like to talk about one of the advantages of using food that is rarely discussed: the way classical conditioning and operant learning mesh to create a learning experience that is far more than the sum of its parts. When we are using food and other pleasant, fun things for our teaching, the learning processes can extend their brightness into every corner of our animals’ lives. Read more

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