One of the biggest mistakes with dog training is the treats used. I’ve done it myself. I remember trying to use kibble, instead of high value dog treats, to work with foster dogs at an adoption event. It worked for me at home, why wouldn’t it work for me there. Well, at home there weren’t as many other interesting things going on, so it wasn’t nearly as hard to hold their attention.
What the difference in dog kibble, dog treats and high value dog treats?
We talk about them lots in our dog training posts, but what’s the difference between a high value treat and a regular dog treat?
Dog kibble is what most dogs eat for their daily meals.
Most dogs are very food motivated, but they get bored with the same old kibble. Sure, they’ll eat it for meals. They might even perform some of the tricks they already know for it. But really, it doesn’t excite them much anymore. Even if you get a different flavor.
It’s best to stick with kibble just as meals, not as rewards. Although you can, and should, make your dog work for his dinner by performing a few simple commands. It’s best for dogs to learn that nothing in life is free.
Regular Dog Treats
Regular treats are the treats your dog gets every day for his normal routine. Usually we use store bought, grain free hard treats. If I have time, I’ll make up treats with baby food, fruits or veggies, and oatmeal ground into a flour.
These are the treats they get for going potty outside, and going into their beds at night. Or for practicing commands they already know.
They’re better than regular kibble, and they do get your dog a little more enthusiastic about the treat. But they’re something the dog gets on a daily basis, and is used too.
I keep a bowl of regular dog treats on our bar. It makes them easy to grab if I need to put the dogs away quickly. Or take something from them that they shouldn’t have.
High Value Dog Treats
High value dog treats are treats that you don’t give your dog often. Something they really like, and would do anything for, even give up their favorite toy. Or something they will come for when called, even when they’ve found something interesting outside to explore.
If you really want to get them excited about what you’re doing, high value dog treats are the way to get their attention. Especially if the treats have a potent odor for the dog to know you have them, even before they see them. It’s recommended that for training purposes you use a piece the size of your little fingernail. Smaller for smaller dogs.
We also keep a sealed container of these on the bar for easy access in an emergency. Our high value dog treats can even stop a spat from turning into a full blown dog fight, if we’re fast enough to grab them.
Examples of high value dog treats
Hot dogs are a go to high value dog treat for most people. But they’re terribly unhealthy for pets, and humans really. So use them sparingly, you can get a lot of treats out of one hot dog.
Cheese is another handy high value treat, that most people usually have on hand. Small pieces work best when used for training. Some people like the cheese in a can for dog training, as it’s pretty mess free, unlike a baggie of small pieces of cheese. But use it sparingly, again, not really healthy for anyone, as it has little real food in it.
Peanut Butter is also a great high value treat to use for things like clipping your dog’s nails. Smear some on a lid and let them lick at it while you clip away.
Freeze Dried Meat/Liver is popular now for both dog food and treats. Dogs love it. And it’s also relatively mess free. But the pieces are sometimes a little big, and they’re hard to break by hand, so cut it into smaller pieces for training purposes.
Homemade dog treats, there are a lot of recipes for homemade high value dog treats. Try checking on Pinterest if you’re in the mood for a little baking. Our dogs love the bacon cheddar treats.
What are some of your dogs favorite high value dog treats?