The value of the treats that you use when you are training your puppy or dog should be high.
Treats are meant to be used as a motivator. A form of payment for your puppy or dog.
If we compare the training treats that we use as a monetary wage for our dog this gives us a clearer understanding of the value of the treat. I would value kibble and the coachies treats at being equivalent to 1 penny and the meat and fish treats would be equivalent to a £20 note.
I have listed below the types of treats that I often see being used in classes and they have been listed from the lowest value to the highest value.
- Kibble (your dogs dry food, very low value.)
- Dried biscuit like treats eg Coachies – contain minimal meat a very low value treat)
- Liver paste or cream cheese
- Homemade training treats using meat or fish, eggs and flour (a cheap alternative to just using meat. A recipe will make hundreds of tiny treats that can be frozen)
- Dehydrated meat or fish treats
- Cooked meat or fish (if cooked with a small amount of garlic treats will be higher value)
Treats are a payment for our dogs. We often use them to lure and shape a behaviour. If the treat is low value the puppy or dog will be less interested.
If you are working at home with minimal distraction and in a familiar environment then sometimes their kibble will be enough of a reward.
When you are working in a training class or workshop the kibble or dried treat wont be high value enough and your puppy will lose interest.
Some puppies or dogs wont eat if they are stressed or anxious so bear this in mind when you are training them.
Try increasing the value of your treat to motivate them, have a variety. A liver paste or cream cheese can be used instead of a treat that your dog will need to chew. It can be easier for them to lick a tube for their food reward than to eat a treat and the licking will have a calming effect.
If you want to make your own pastes for your puppy or dog have a look on the product recommendation page for refillable squeezy pouches that are more commonly used for homemade baby food. This is ideal for dispensing a paste treat to your dog for training.
I am in the process of re-writing my recipe book and there are many new ideas for training treats and lots of useful information has been added to the book.
Keep an eye on our website and social media for when the book will be ready to purchase. It will also be available as an e-book.