Treats More Likely to Get Your Dog's Attention Than Calling Their Name

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic

Did ever crinkling a bag of chips or opening the fridge door manage to get your pooch’s attention even when they’re seemingly deeply asleep, in another room? Yup, we’ve all been there. It’s no secret that treats are the favorite thing in the world for most pets, but did you know that their love for yummies is so strong that they even react to the very word treat? A new study showed that it’s much likelier for a dog to respond to their owner by saying the word treat than by calling out their name.

The study was commissioned by Cliff Pet, and the survey included around 2,000 dogs and their owners – around 52% of those dogs were reported to come running when they hear the word treat or cookie. On the other hand, when called by their name, only 37% of dogs would consistently respond. I mean, who’s to blame them – it doesn’t guarantee you a yummy reward when you show up! 

Furthermore, 67% of dog owners reported that their pets are very food motivated, and 47% of them say their dog comes running when they open the treat container. With all that in mind, it doesn’t really come as a surprise that 4 out of 10 pet owners used treats as a reward, and 3 out of 4 believed that without using treats, they wouldn't have been able to successfully train their dog. In fact, the surveyed dog owners concluded that around 20% of their dog's vocabulary is treat-based, and that treats make for almost a third of their overall caloric intake, at 27%.

However, there can be ‘too much of a good thing’ when it comes to treats. While it’s undeniable that delicacies are a great motivator and a way to reward good behavior or a job well done, experts agree that treats shouldn’t make up for more than 10% of your pet’s diet. Instead of pampering your pooch with the canine version of junk food and snacks, it’s best to opt for moderate portions and treats made with wholesome, healthy ingredients that will nourish your pet’s body instead of contributing to issues such as obesity. When it comes to training, you might want to look into specific training treats that are small and low on calories precisely so they can be given more often as a reward for successfully learned commands and tricks. 

And it’s not only using treats as bribes that should make you more mindful about the quantity and the quality of treats you’re giving to your pooch. When you consider that over 60% of owners said that they give their pet treats to cheer themselves up – seeing your pet happy is a quick way to boost your mood, after all – it’s clear that it’s very important to consider the quality of treats and canine nutrition overall. The best thing you can do for your dog is to feed them healthy foods – even though they might wag their tail for a treat that’s artificially flavored and calorie-laden, in the long run, it can only cause trouble for them and that’s the last thing any dog owner wants.

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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