How To Train Your Dog Without Treats

3 min read
May 11, 2023

Training your dog usually means giving her a treat when she does something good or when she’s mastered something, right? For most positive reinforcement trainers and pet parents that is the case.

Yes, there are low calorie dog treats and treats that are organic and are made of natural ingredients. Even a low calorie treat “adds up” if your dog is getting a lot of tiny nibbles during training sessions.

Keeping your dog healthy, means keeping him at a healthy weight and you can do that by offering dog-safe fruits and vegetables during training sessions or you can train your dog without treats.

Here’s How to Train your Dog Without Treats

  • Praise! We’ll bet your dog loves to hear “good boy!” or “good girl!” when mastering a task. Telling your dog he or she is a “good dog!” and talking to him in a positive, enthusiastic voice will show him how pleased you are.
  • Physical touch. Does your dog love a belly rub or a scratch behind the ears or under the chin? Use physical touch to reward your dog. If you’re training your dog to “sit” or “lie down” and he does it, pet him and give him a pet or a snuggle.
  • A new toy. You certainly won’t buy a new toy for every trick or command your dog masters, but if he has one or two favorite toys, put them out of reach until a training session then give it to him and let him have a great time playing with it. He will have even more fun if you play with him and his favorite toy, too!
  • A long walk in the woods, or a neighborhood sniff-fest. If your dog loves walks – and what dog doesn’t!? – reward her after a training session by taking a long walk in the woods. If you normally take your dog for a neighborhood walk at a brisk pace, give her a walk in which you let her sniff every blade of grass she sees!
  • A car ride. If your dog is like most dogs, a ride in the car is an exciting treat! Weather permitting, and with your dog safely strapped into a dog safety harness, open the window and take a slow drive around the neighborhood letting her feel the wind on her face and take in the scents. Your dog will come to expect a car ride at the end of a training session .

A dog who is at a healthy weight will live a longer, healthier life and will have fewer health issues like arthritis or even diabetes. When you bring a dog into your life, his life span is shorter than yours and because of that you want to do what you can to keep him in your life for as long as you can and training without treats just might be a great first step!

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Nothing in this article should be construed as financial, legal or veterinary advice. Please consult your own advisors for questions relating to your and your pet’s specific circumstances. 

1 Pet Insurance offered by MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company (“IAIC”), a Delaware insurance company, headquartered at 485 Madison Avenue, NY, NY 10022, and Metropolitan General Insurance Company (“MetGen”), a Rhode Island insurance company, headquartered at 700 Quaker Lane, Warwick, RI 02886, in those states where MetGen’s policies are available. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC is the policy administrator authorized by IAIC and MetGen to offer and administer pet insurance policies. MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions LLC was previously known as PetFirst Healthcare, LLC and in some states continues to operate under that name pending approval of its application for a name change. The entity may operate under an alternate, assumed, and/or fictitious name in certain jurisdictions as approved, including MetLife Pet Insurance Services LLC (New York and Minnesota), MetLife Pet Insurance Solutions Agency LLC (Illinois), and such other alternate, assumed, or fictitious names approved by certain jurisdictions.