During dog training, the most important tool you can have in your kit are high value dog treats. What do I mean by high value? High value means your dog will do something that might be difficult for them; all for what you’re holding in your hand. Not every dog will perform during difficult training with just your typical dog treats. You have to have something spectacular your dog will do tricks for. No, I’m not talking about getting your dog to stand on a ball. I’m referring to basic obedience training. The most important training any and every dog should know.
In any dog training, you’re teaching your dog to do certain things. Things like, Heel, or Center. Dogs are an instant gratification kind of animal. This means, that in order for them to want to please you, you have to give them something in return. Hence, the high value dog treats.
But first, what are treats versus the dog food you feed them? How do you know what treats to buy? Are there good treats, versus bad treats? Finally, what do I use? What do I stand by that I’m willing to tell the world about?
Treat basics? What do I mean by this? Look at it like you would a human looks at treats vs other things. Yes, I’m going to get my kids involved here! If I’m wanting my kids to eat all their vegetables, no matter what age they are, I can bribe them with a treat. For exmaple, “If you don’t eat all your veggies, you don’t get ice cream after dinner.”
When you phrase something to your kid(s) this way, it usually gets them to shovel all their veggies in their mouth. Yes, I know, I’m bribing my kids to eat something healthy for something that isn’t. But guess what? They eat their veggies!
It’s the same with our dogs. When you’re trying to get them to focus on something you want them to learn, then you may have to bribe them with food. Now, this isn’t their standard dog food I’m talking about. No, you need something higher up the bribe scale!
High Value Dog Treats Vs Dog Food.
I say you need something higher up the bribe scale, because just getting your dog to do something crazy requires more than what you already give them twice to three times a day. I don’t know about you, but if you want me to do something new, I need some sort of reason. Like with heights – I’m scared to death of heights. But, if there’s a reward at the end of me attempting to scale heights, I’m down! I’m not talking ice cream here, either. There better be money in it for me.
But, you see how I’m willing to do something in return for something? Dogs are the same. Now, many people in my dog training will buy standard dog treats at the pet store. And, these may work for most dogs. But if you have a truly stubborn dog, like I do, those don’t work.
In the beginning of dog training, I had to go to extreme measures. I’m talking, hot dogs! My dogs will do anything for a piece of hot dog!
Hot dogs worked great as a high value dog treat in the beginning. My dogs will do anything for some pieces of those bad boys! The problem I encountered? Hot dogs don’t make my guts feel very good. So, naturally, my dogs got diarrhea with them as well. Over the course of a month, two times a week, feeding them even just four hot dogs per session, they had bubble guts.
Poor babes were constantly having soft stool and going way too many times in the day. Now, for those of you that don’t know, hot dogs aren’t good for anyone. Humans, dogs, cats, you name it, they’re bad. Too many chemicals, salt, and other things that dogs don’t need.
Of course, hot dogs aren’t the only treats that are bad for dogs. Most of what you find at the store is bad as well. Full of chemicals and things dogs aren’t supposed to ingest. This led me to find treats that wouldn’t hurt my dogs guts. But, I needed treats that they would actually work for. So, I had to go shopping.
What I Use for Treats Now.
After some digging, I decided on Vital. Technically, it’s a grain free dog food, but it works wonders as treats for my dogs. I feed them dry kibble during the day, so I simply use this food as a treat instead. It works wonders! Whatever I’m asking of my two stubborn mules, they do. Especially for these as treats. I will say, I was worried about the expiration date on this food, since it’s a blend of salmon, chicken and eggs. But, it says it lasts for about 2 months.
Since using this as a treat system, now, they don’t have bubble guts. Their stool is normal every day, and they go the normal amount of times per day as well. And, I like that the ingredients are transparent. I’m all about good food for my dogs. This goes for dry kibble, or anything else I feed them.
If you want to try Vital for yourself, try them here!
Final Words on High Value Dog Treats.
Hopefully, you’re more knowledgeable after reading this article when it comes to dog treats. Using something that your dogs will jump up and down for matters. A lot. Especially when you have stubborn dogs like we do. No matter the training session we’re in, both Atlas and Muse can be finicky. Of course, Muse has gotten way better over the course of two months. She’s not nearly as reactive as she was in the beginning.
In fact, yesterday we had a session that was at a dog park where most dogs were off leash. Yes, she was reactive in some cases (only twice), but she did really good. I took safety measures and had her in a muzzle the entire time. But even so, only twice did she try to steer towards a dog to where I had to pull her back to the heel position.
Other than that, she’s done great in all training. And, the high value dog treats during the sessions have mattered the most. So, if you’re trying to train your dogs, and they’re not responding to the treats you have, find something they like more. It truly is the most important tool in your arsenal to have when it comes to obedience training.