Most of the time, tasty rewards are used to train dogs to obey your directions. But, how to train a dog without treats? Keep reading to find out more.

After a while, your dog will refuse to listen unless you offer them their preferred reward. But this won’t last long, and you’ll have to start training your dog without goodies.

You may be having the same problem right now. Once you adopt a dog, whether it’s a Golden Retriever, a Husky, or a Pomeranian, the very first action you expect them to do when they see you are waggling their tail. Alternatively, obey your orders of ‘Fetch, Sit, Roll’ without using rewarding treats while also avoiding becoming side-tracked by other activities.

It’s critical to wean your dog off the goodie. Suppose your dog relies on goodies for entertainment. In that case, it might be difficult for the owner to keep him entertained, and it can also inhibit the establishment of a relationship and connection.

Why shouldn’t you lean on treats for training?

How to train a dog without treats

Your dog must appreciate you for something other than feeding them. Treats as a means of growing your connection with your dog might hinder it from progressing to a greater, more reasonable scale.

We expanded our relationship by looking for other ways to interact with dogs than meals, such as play, life awards, and compassion. Furthermore, thinking about dogs’ behaviour and our quality of life in a more holistic way, beyond simple obedience cues, assisted owners in addressing some complex concerns they weren’t sure how to handle at first, including obtaining and holding the dog’s interest in stimulating settings.

When owners treat their dogs while training, they appear to be constantly trying to convince the owners, which is admirable, but the fact is that it is only to get food. Shifting from food to verbal appreciation enables owners and their dogs to reach new heights in their connection. Dogs are more loving and pay attention to their owners’ orders.

While food rewards are the most convenient approach to instructing a dog, they may not be appropriate for all dogs or situations. Even non-food-motivated dogs may be trained.

What to know about the food instincts of dogs?

Suppose you wish to interact with your dog. In that scenario, you must first establish a personal, deep relationship without something interfering or bothering you and your dog, particularly if you regard your dog as a family member.

Dogs yearn to communicate with humans. But, since humans don’t understand their requirements, we utilize rewards or instruments that have no significance for dogs, causing them to become distracted or disconnected from us.

Meals and snacks are significant motivators in the life of your dog. They’re a big part of our basic survival instincts. On the other hand, dogs do not associate them with learning new things or relating with humans. Food, and especially desserts, have their place and time. When employed incorrectly, your dog’s nature is to concentrate on the meal rather than learning the work or the owner’s true worth.

The popular belief that a dog is driven by food is only valid if he enjoys it. That is all there is to it. That doesn’t imply he’s reacting to the assignment you’ve given him or grasping the exercise you’ve given him. He’s responding to the persuasion. If you repeatedly tease a food-loving dog with food, you will have the opposite impact since you will be straining and irritating him. He is more concerned with the meal than with the work at hand.

Snacks and food inspire dogs by many individuals, including professionals. However, there are two sorts of dogs: those that enjoy eating and those that don’t. If a dog sees a piece of food, he will try whatever he can to get it, based on how hungry he gets. This is a dog’s natural and intuitive fundamental survival instinct.

How to train your dog without treats effectively?

Below is an extensive step-by-step guide on how to train a dog without treats effectively.

1. Acknowledge the significance of treats

Most expert dog trainers advise that owners begin obedience training with tasty goodies and gradually wean their pets off of them. Snacks are an effective form of training, and while you can educate your dog without them, beginning with food rewards guarantees that you have your dog’s attention. Treats will help your dog learn faster.

2. Reduce the number of snacks you give them

Give your dog fewer snacks when they accomplish a command throughout several training sessions to limit their anticipation for significant food incentives every time they comply.

3. Make a lottery system work

Using a prize lottery system, you can completely emancipate the dog from food treats. You’ll need to use a cheerful tone and caring body language to regularly shower your dog with high praise while periodically rewarding positive behaviour with rewards. Every session should begin and conclude with a snack and lots of praise.

Trying to wean your dog from food-based rewards does not have a specific timeline. Continue to use the lottery method, lowering the number of goodies you give your dog every few lessons until he obeys your directions without them.

4. Make the most of life’s rewards

There are various forms of rewards that might stimulate your dog besides treats. Non-food pursuits that a dog likes are considered real-life incentives. Snuggles, trips, toys, and attentiveness are just a few examples.

Determine your dog’s life incentives so you can motivate them to accept orders without the use of food. For instance, before taking your dog for a stroll, encourage them to sit or perform a trick; this strategy shows that excellent behaviour might win them life benefits.

What are the real-time inexpensive awards or treats for your dog?

Below listed and described are some of the real-time awards or treats for your dog.

1. Toys and Play

Playing with your dog is among the most acceptable ways to bond with them, and being silly is an excellent method to release tension. Utilizing play and toys as training treats is a terrific approach to encouraging dogs that don’t respond well to treats, and it’s not difficult once you know how.

As early as you can, start utilizing real-life rewards with your dog. You’ll be able to reduce the usage of food incentives gradually, and your dog will be more attentive and involved throughout training. Life isn’t just about food, and partaking in the other pleasures of life will strengthen your relationship with your dog.

2. Attention

Providing your dog with your undivided attention is an excellent method to reward good behaviour. Dogs adore being a part of anything you’re up to. Offering them your whole attention may be as easy as making eye contact, chatting with them, and complimenting them.

When training dogs not to leap on people, use attention as a reward. Dogs leap primarily to attract attention (and be aroused), and tragically for us people, this frequently succeeds. In an attempt to encourage them to stop, we usually yell and then touch them. This is attention to the dog, and it’s just what they need.

Remove all focus from the situation if a dog leaps. You may have to turn around and go back out the door. When they stop jumping, your attention is drawn back to them. Your dog will realize that jumping causes the object they desire to go away, but having four paws on the ground implies they receive it with repetition.

3. Touch

Some dogs enjoy being close to their owners, whereas others find it overpowering. Touch is a terrific alternative to give as an incentive if your dog loves to rely on you or craves petting. Try several locations with your dog to determine what contact they enjoy the best, from ear and chin-scratching to belly massages. Check whether your dog appreciates being touched, and don’t hug them unless they want to.

4. Exploration freedom

Make frequent use of the real-life benefit of passing through a door. A reward is excellent when the dog knows she’ll be taking a walk, but she desires to go outside.

She must wait at the entrance rather than run through it to be permitted through. She’ll have to wait until you free her before she can leave. Alternatively, every time you take your dog on a trip outside, ask for a couple of behaviours before letting her off the leash.

5. Mobility and Access

Utilize most of your dog’s motivation at all times and make it a reward for them. Loose leash walking is typical behaviour that may be rewarded through mobility and access. Dogs tug on the leash for various reasons, but the majority of them want to get somewhere which smells lovely.

Top 7 different ways to train your dog without treats

Below listed and explained are some of the different ways to train a dog without treats.

1. Train your dog with affection

Make your pet feel cared and loved, and teach him to be devoted to you rather than his possessions. Using such conduct, you’re more likely to swiftly achieve your aim of teaching a dog to heel without incentives. It’s not going to occur if you’re harsh to your little boy and then expect him to train even without a treat.

Punishment is thought to make your dog more obedient and attached to you. But you should realize that you can’t obtain love by offering hate in any situation, including dogs. The greatest approach to teaching a dog without incentives is to motivate your dog to perform their favourite tasks, such as tug toys, bones, and meals.

2. Make space

You might employ space as compensation by expanding distance or decreasing social pressure. Space may be a very effective reinforcement in the appropriate context once you enhance space by moving the dog away from an anxiety-producing trigger.

By minimizing social pressure in your day-to-day encounters with your dog, you may also employ space in subtler or quieter ways. When you don’t want to use snacks or treats, these are just a few of the various options for rewarding your dog. You may use whatever your dog deems valuable as a reward while thinking.

3. Make the most of life’s rewards

The Premack Principle may be used to harness activities your dog likes in his everyday life, such as heading on a walk, playing in the backyard, or playing in a sprinkler.

According to this notion, a “low-probability activity” can be encouraged by a “higher probability conduct,” according to this notion. This form of incentive is simple to include into your everyday routine and can be extremely advantageous for dogs that require self-control support.

4. Recognize your pet dog

A dog trainer’s essential thing during training is to comprehend the dog’s nature. You should be aware that a dog’s personality differs depending on its behaviours, species, and maturity. Some dogs are pretty headstrong, while others are calm and docile.

The initial step is to comprehend your dog’s general personality better. Observe their everyday routines and how they react to various circumstances. The nicest thing regarding dogs is that, compared to cats, they are laid-back. It wouldn’t take much longer to get to know your dog.

5. Interact with your pet dog

Anybody who has practiced an active sport such as agility or flyball understands the importance of incorporating toys, sports and play into their training. However, toys, sports, and play aren’t only for athletes.

Interacting with your dog may be a great way to strengthen your bond with him and a great way to reward him. Although tugging and fetching are the most apparent play incentives, the games you might play with your dog are essentially restricted by your creativity.

6. Be patient when it comes to the training

If you are bringing a new dog into your home, you should know that dogs require time to adjust to their new surroundings. According to experts, a dog owner must recognize that most of a dog’s thinking processes are similar to those of people.

So, before you begin teaching your dog, make sure he is comfortable in his surroundings. It would brighten his attitude, but he would also obey your directions without expecting a tasty reward. According to research, it takes about four to six months to teach a new puppy.

You must begin training with rewards with each dog and gradually decrease the quantity. Patience is required as dogs adjust to their new surroundings and become acquainted with their new owner.

7. Offer pleasant praises to your dog

The most popular incentive is praise, “happy chat,” or a simple “Good dog!” Certain dogs instinctively seek praise, but even those who seem not to find it gratifying might become praise searchers if you often couple your appreciation with other beautiful things.

For instance, if you train your dog to “down” with such a click and then a reward or pull, you may say “Good dog!” when you give the reward or play tug. Eventually, your dog will identify the treat or pull with pleasant praise, and “Good dog!” will be an incentive.

What to know while training your dog with treats?

Treats are a common incentive in reward-based training because they are widely available, can be promptly provided to the dog, and most dogs enjoy them. Some pet owners worry that offering treats for excellent behaviour constitutes ‘bribing’ their dog, but don’t worry. Consider training sessions as though your dog were going to work.

If you choose to teach your dog to use treats, try to follow a few easy guidelines. Treats must never account for over 10% of the dog’s daily calorie consumption during training. If your dog is prepared to cooperate with them, low-calorie snacks like carrots, potatoes, or frozen blueberries are fantastic possibilities, or you may divide up your pet’s meals for the day and use that instead of snacks.

The goodies you use must have enough “high value” to be gratifying for your dog, so you might have to experiment to see what your dog prefers. For tough jobs or scenarios that make your dog apprehensive, you may have to use greater value goodies – something yummier like chunks of meat or cheese. This is to motivate them to complete the work at hand.

Watch 5 easy tricks you can teach your dog at home | Video

Top 5 FAQs and answers related to how to train a dog without treats

Below listed are five frequently asked questions (FAQs) on training a dog without treats, followed by appropriate answers.

Why should I not use rewards to train my dog?

Most pet owners still want to train their pets without using rewards. This may be essential if your dog has health difficulties, including allergies or a weight-management condition, and you may simply choose to reward your dog in some other way.

What is positive reinforcement training, and how does it work?

Positive reinforcement training is a popular and highly suggested method of dog training for dogs of all ages and breeds. Although the theory underlying this training is complicated, it all boils down to one basic concept: if we reinforce a positive action, the dog is more willing to repeat it. Consistency, patience, and correctly timed incentives are the keys to excellent positive reinforcement training.

What kind of reward should I use to train my dog?

It’s critical to utilize any incentive you want during your dog’s training and do it regularly and efficiently. If you don’t offer the incentive right after the required behaviour, your dog won’t realize what he’s being rewarded over.

What do real-life rewards involve?

Non-food things or events that your dog enjoys and rewards are examples of real-life rewards. According to what’s occurring in your dog’s life at the time, what he considers gratifying may change.

Should I praise my dog during training?

Yes. Rewards are used to teach all of the puppies, and then the quantity of treats is gradually reduced to establish a threat-free dog training schedule. Yet, when the number of rewards decreases, so should the level of appreciation. Within a week or two, your pet dog would be more engaged in your gratitude and less keen on the snacks.


This article explained the reasons to train a dog without treats. An extensive guide on training dogs without treats is also discussed. Different approaches to awarding your dog’s training are also listed. Frequently asked questions regarding training a dog without treats are also answered.

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