Treat'm well! Food as reinforcement - rewards
I don't want to train with treats because....
1. I don't want my dog to get fat.
2. I want my dog to work for me - not food.
3. My dog has a sensitive stomach.
Here's why you should scrap all these silly notions and get on with training your dog - in a very effective way.
1. Use crumb size - When using food as reinforcment - make your rewards, crumb like and very tiny in size. By doing so, your dog will never get sick, fat or full! Never in over a decade of dog training, have I experienced a dog balk at the size of my dispensed rewards. A shred of chicken is just fine and a low sodium hot dog is enough to make 200 training rewards. You must also think of these training rewards as part of your dog's overall daily food intake. Not extra treats. Training rewards should factor into your dog's caloric intake and daily allowance.
2. The fastest way to your dog's brain is likely through his stomach. If my dog were working out of pure love for me, I'd be flattered. At the end of the day though, do I really care if the reason she is blasting toward me at 20 miles per hour away from a road is becasue she thinks she might get a nibble of something? No, I care that she is responsive and safe. We need to get over our egos! Your dog loves you and you'll be all that more powerful if you convince him that you dole out good stuff! Humans are usually most willing to work for money. Your dog is likely most willing to put out his best work (and feel well-compensated) when earning food rewards.
3. If your dog has a sensitive stomach, then you must investigate what works. Don't categorize all food as bad. You are greatly limiting your potential by totally ruling food rewards out of your training program. There is an entire list of ingredients that make up you dog's food! Carrots, chicken, lamb, raspberries, peas, bison, lick of a yoghund frozen yogurt, tuna -there's loads of food out there to try!
Now, it's important to realize that using food as reinforcement in your training program is NOT the only type of motivator you should incroorate into your training program. My dog has a very strong drive for the game of fetch and tennis balls. I train her with every toss of the ball.
You never want to limit yourself to one type of reward . Whether it's food, play, toys or your praise - strong training programs include motivation tools of ALL kinds. If your dog wants it - use it (so long as it's safe).