The more your dog is struggling to pay attention to you and to engage with you (and not everything else), the more important it is to work efficiently with food rewards.
Later on, as you see significant progress, you can start to reduce your treat frequency. But for starters: The less attention your dog has, the more you have to work with treats to establish a solid foundation of attention and engagement.
However, a treat is not just “a treat”.
It can either be something your dog swallows mindlessly within 0.3 seconds … or it can be a true experience and fun adventure.
The way you deliver a treat will play a huge role in how satisfying your dog experiences the reward. And it can even decide whether your dog thinks it’s worth it to engage with you … or whether he would rather go and look for fun elsewhere.
This is why food engagement is a really important skill to master. The more engaging and fun your treat delivery is, the more likely your dog is to choose to focus on YOU instead of the environment.