When you stop carrying poop bags, you can stop carrying cookies. - K. Sdao

Now that you have discovered a love of baking and the delicious baked goods that come from it, from now on you will be expected to bake every day but you will never get to eat another cookie AND you will not be paid at all for your baking.  You will be expected to bake for me only because you want to please me. 


Today someone posed a question to me. One that I get often enough to usually have a response right there in my pocket.

Today though,  I feel a bit slow and honestly a bit spicy, so I wasn't as prepared for that question as I usually am, which has given me a good opportunity to go back and revisit some of the many analogies around the question,

"When Can I Stop Using Food For Training My Dog?"

My knee jerk response today, NEVER, really doesn’t do the topic justice and just isn’t helpful.
(Like I said, a bit spicy today!).

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If your garden stopped yielding vegetables would you continue to dig, turn, fertilize water, and plant it each year? 

I talked about the good, science-based, and valid reasons for not fading food out of your training, a little bit or altogether, But left the conversation feeling like I hadn’t really found my ‘IN’ with her and therefore, didn’t really do much in the way of education or change, or even assuaging her genuine interest. 

Knowledge doesn’t really influence if it doesn’t resonate with people, in my opinion.  You can quote the facts all day long, but if your audience has wandered off in their head to get ice cream cones, then you have done nothing but waste everyone’s time and energy, especially your own. 

Would you still go to work if they started to fade out your paycheck?


As I drove home from that interaction today my mind continued to dwell on that question, and I thought to myself how interesting it is that we never ask that question about training dolphins, whales, bears, lions, or the distant brethren of dogs, wolves.

We only ask this in relation to our pets, especially dogs, it seems.

I also noted to myself, that more often than not in classes and private training, my experience is that people find the ‘permission to be generous with dogs and cats, a relief.  I mean really, with all they give us, why not give them all the good stuff all of the time?

For more on this topic, colleague Glenna Cupp, CTC of Practical Pup has written THIS GREAT PIECE

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Suzanne Bryner