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The Power of Positive Reinforcement: Why Treats Matter

Following the successful release of the Walking + Treat bag, I took a step back to wonder why more people hadn’t purchased the product. This is not a dig at people who simply just don’t like the bag (I’m holding back the tears), but actually a dive into people who simply don’t use treats at all when training or walking.

When I first got Nava, I don’t think I ever took treats out with me. Yup, I was literally the person I’m reaching out to. But honestly, I did not see/understand the enormous value in them. When I did start to take some treats out, it was just Nava’s basic kibble and only a small handful of it. As I would give her one every now and then, I could never fully understand why Nava wasn’t getting to grips with her basics. Recall is one of those cues we wanted to absolutely nail, but as Nava’s recall didn’t improve, I was really stuck with what to do. Walks stayed on lead and Nava continued to drag me (yes she is small but mighty) around the park to chase the squirrels.

As I’ve mentioned before, during my eye-opening experience to positive training, the simple principle of rewarding desired behaviours, the number of treats, and also the variety might I add, that this trainer used was crazy! It was like a rapid-fire round for those big yes moments. You could see how quickly this dog was understanding exactly how if he did this one thing, he would get a tasty treat.

This training method operates on the fact that dogs, like humans, are more inclined to learn when their efforts are met with positive rewards, like treats. Treats serve as currency in the world of dog positive reinforcement. Dogs are naturally motivated by food, making treats a wonderful incentive for them to engage in desired behaviours. The immediacy of the reward is key here. You want to create a clear understanding for the dog to grasp the concept of action and reward.

One of the key advantages of using treats in positive reinforcement is their versatility. Whether you're teaching basic commands, addressing behavioural issues, or reinforcing good manners, treats can be adapted to suit a variety of situations. This adaptability ensures that the training process remains engaging and enjoyable for both the dog and the owner, creating a positive learning environment.

It's crucial to choose treats that are super tasty to your dog. Kibble might not be enough if they have it every single day. Try testing out a few different options of treats and see which one your dog will come back to you or just want to stay by your side. Big winners are cheese, liver paste, chicken and pate.

Moreover, treats provide a tangible and immediate reward that bridges the communication gap between humans and dogs. Unlike verbal praise or physical affection, treats offer clear and consistent reinforcement. This is particularly beneficial when training puppies or rescues with unknown histories, as treats become a universal language of encouragement and affirmation.

The act of giving treats also creates a positive association between you and the reward, strengthening the bond between them. Dogs begin to see their owners as providers of good things, creating a sense of security and trust. This positive relationship is essential for effective communication.

Designing and creating the Walking + Treat bag was truly about giving you as owners the easiest tool to make all of this happen. All it takes is a tiny bit of prep and once it’s on you, you don’t need to worry. The bag has some key features to make things easy for you:

  • Dual treat pouches for high and low-value treats so you can reward specifically.

  • Easy to access pouches whether you’re wearing it either crossbody or bum bag style

  • Resealable pouches so you don’t need to refill constantly, seal up and pop it in the fridge for the next time

As someone who has joined the wonderful world of positive training, I cannot stress enough how incredible this method of training is. I also cannot stress enough the importance of treats. Even if you’re in a rush to get out of the house before a toilet accident or ran out of the standard treats or have never taken treats before. Take the extra time to go and get some and watch how quickly you and your dog can boss those everyday challenges.


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