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Average dog knows five spoken commands

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Friend of family. Close up shot of happy curly haired woman plays with dog expresses positive emotions likes animals. Small pedigree puppy licks face of owner. Adopted pet. Tender sincere feelings
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Half of America’s dogs come running just from the sound of a treat bag, new research suggests.

According to a recent poll of 2,000 dog owners, 47% said that their dog reacts instinctively to the noise made when a treat container is opened.

Fifty-two percent are also likely to run over when they hear words like “treat” or “cookie,” while only 37% consistently respond to the sound of their own name.

According to those polled, the average dog knows an average of five spoken commands, implying at least a fifth of the vocabulary dogs understand is treat-based.

Reported by OnePoll on behalf of CLIF PET™, the results further confirm that 67% of dogs are “very food motivated.”

Four in ten respondents give their dogs treats as a way to reward them, making it the most popular reason among those polled. Three in four even believe they wouldn’t have been able to teach their dog any commands without using treats.

Roughly 21% of respondents give treats to their dog at least once a day, while 18% admitted to handing out multiple treats in a day.

Maybe that’s why respondents mistakenly estimated that treats should represent, on average, 27% of a dog’s overall caloric intake – even though according to experts, the real recommended amount no more than 10%.

“It’s easy to get carried away when treating your dog, but it’s important to remember to treat in moderation,” said Greg Lok, Head of Incubator at Clif Bar & Company. “One way to do this is to look for treats made with wholesome ingredients so you can ensure your pup is getting a quality treat, and to opt for easy-to-tear treat options that help you treat more responsibly.”

Overall, 64% said they look to their dogs to make them feel better on bad days. More than a third (39%) said they’re much more likely to use treats as a way to cheer their dog up, while 32% use treat-giving as a way to cheer themselves up.

In fact, 62% agreed that giving their dogs a treat is more of a reward for them than for the dog itself.

When asked what factors they consider most when reviewing dog treats, 41% look for ingredients that they know rank among their dogs’ favorite foods.

They also placed value on the nutritional value (34%), brand trustworthiness (33%) and sustainability of ingredients (33%) when selecting a treat for their dog.

Thirty-nine percent would even prefer to buy treats from brands that make food for both dogs and people.

“It’s no secret that people love their pets and want to make the best choices for them. Treats are an incredibly important part of the dog and pet parent bonding experience,” said Lok. “When considering what treats to buy their pets, pet parents should consult their vet for their dog’s dietary needs and look for treats that provide wholesome nutrition to fuel their adventures.”


  • Walking - 33%
  • Doing outdoor activities (e.g. rollerblading, biking) - 32%        
  • Watching TV/relaxing - 31%       
  • Exercising - 30%
  • Sleeping in bed together - 29%           
  • Cuddling/snuggling - 27%
  • Eating dinner - 27%        
  • Visiting friends - 27%        
  • Running errands - 27%               
  • Working - 25%     

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