It’s Valentine’s Day today. More than 700 $ are spent every year in the US on gifts for pets. Because Valentine’s Day is associated with love, affection, red roses, romantic breaks, nice dinners, Champagne, perfume, jewellery, fluffy stuff preferably pink - the list is endless - , we feel we have to shower our pets with gifts too because we fear they might miss out. But what does a dog get out of it? The simple answer is NOTHING.
A dog does not know Christmas from birthdays or school holidays or Easter or Labour Day in the US or August Bank Holiday in the UK. So by giving gifts to a dog on a special human occasion, you are rewarding it but for doing what? You create confusion.
When training a dog, you have 3 seconds for rewarding it correctly.
You ask your dog to sit for instance. He does so. Give him the treat straightaway. The treat can be your most gentle voice saying: “good girl or good boy” or a toy or a crumble of cheese or a dog biscuit or a pat on the head. Something nice.
So the dog is rewarded because he has done what you asked him to do.
Beyond the 3 seconds slot, it has no meaning other than “yummy” I am eating something nice.
Remember dogs are scavengers. They’ll eat anything you give them.
A dog does not have human emotions or human feelings or a human time table. A dog is a pack animal and understands pack rules.