Here at Cavvy Cuddles, we believe that positive reinforcement is the best way to train dogs. By reinforcing good behaviour by offering a treat whenever you see it, your dog will very quickly learn how to behave and be happy to do so! We recently invested in a PetSafe Treat and Train which can be used for positive reinforcement training from a young age, but our goal was to use it for Indiana's agility training. Here are our thoughts on this clever little machine, and how to get one.
What does the PetSafe Treat and Train do?
The Treat and Train is a little remote controlled machine which dispenses food treats whenever you click the remote. You fill up the main section with something like kibble/dog biscuits, and whenever your dog does something worthy of rewarding, you click the little button on the remote and out pops a biscuit.
We use JR Pate with the machine, as it is 100% meat protein and Indiana loves working and training for it. We cut it into cubes, as you can see in the photo above. If you want to give it a try, click here for 10% off.
The Treat and Train is a way to reinforce positive behaviours in your dog even when you are far away. So for example, if your dog barks whenever the door is knocked, you can provide treats for her even if she are in another room and go silent.
The PetSafe Treat and Train was invented by veterinarian and animal behavior expert Dr. Sophia Yin to help animals learn fast and in a way that suits both them and you. It is based on scientific research, developed and tested in lab clinical trials to teach calm behaviour in high-distraction situations. It comes with a DVD (what are they again?!) but don't worry, you can get the videos on YouTube. It also comes with a target stick for teaching your dog training tricks and games.
What is a Treat and Train used for?
The Treat and Train can be used in the home and also outside when the weather is dry (it's not weatherproof). This is why it's great for agility training.
It means your dog can run on ahead with the agility course and, when she reaches the end of a tunnel (for example) there will be a treat waiting for her there whilst you are somewhere else on the course. And of course, if she hasn't done the course correctly, there is no treat because you haven't pushed the button.
There are two buttons. 'Dispense' releases a treat straight away, and this is the button you will use most. The 'down-stay' is for training dogs to lay down and stay down, as a way to help them become more focused.
Why should you get a Treat and Train?
A Treat and Train doesn't do anything you can't do yourself. However, it can make the task of training your dog easier and quicker than using your hands alone.
This is because it can be somewhere you can't, so you can positively reinforce behaviour even when you are in a separate room.
If you are looking for a way to reward silence when you are at the door; keep a dog calm when you go upstairs or reward a successful round at dog agility, this little machine could be just what you are after.
Where (and when) to get a Treat and Train
PetSafe Treat and Trains are not cheap, compared to many other dog training accessories. They tend to hover around the £130 mark on Amazon. They have been known to go on sale from time to time, but it's unpredictable. If you can buy one at a price under £100, then that's a steal and you should definitely go for it! Otherwise it is a good investment at a higher price point, and will last for many years (and therefore many puppies!).