Yesterday I wrote about the Reactive Rover training class that Leroy and I finished. Woo Leroy! (more on that later, I promise) I mentioned that I bring the “good stuff” to class, meaning that I stock up on very high value treats. Here is a run down of what we use, and why we use it!
When I first signed Leroy up for training classes, I was worried that he would be so stressed out that he would ignore all of my special treats! Sometimes when we are in a scary place like the vet, Leroy doesn’t care about food. This is always hard for me to believe, because he LOVES food. Seriously, he loves it. So I was concerned that he would be stressed and just say “meh” to the hunk of meat in my hand. Luckily for me, I have an awesome trainer. She talked about what “goods” to bring to class, and Leroy ate them all up!
*time out* If there are any of those, “Why do you need food to train your dog? Shouldn’t he be a good boy because he loves you?” type people, I would like to give them a shout out. My dog (and most others) learns best by receiving food rewards when he is doing something right. He offers a behavior, and either a. I do nothing or b. I reward it. Behaviors that are rewarded will happen more often. Training 101. Sure, I could give him a nice pat on the head and tell him he is a good boy. But my dog loves food, so damnit, I’m going to give him food! It is a very high value reward for him. Therefore, using food helps keep his attention and interest in training. Otherwise he would just be eating Fluffy for a full hour. 😉 *time in*
Most of these are under the category of “soft and small”, aka perfect for training. Although we are stocking up with food, dogs should be getting super tiny amounts of these rewards each time they do something good. (And this should be faded and mixed in with functional/life rewards over time) Approximately half a pinky finger nail! No fat puppies here 🙂 So here is our list of the “good stuff”! Tested and proven to be exciting, high value, and delicious to Leroy.. and maybe your dog too!
1. Hot Dogs. First of all, gross. I’m not a meat person. So it was quite the effort for me to buy these suckers and feed them to Leroy. But I did it, and he loved it! The highest of the high value. If you have a dog that ignores food when stressed, try the magical hot dog!
2. “Soft and Small” training rewards. Most companies make some type of small training treat. We like to stay on the healthy side of things, so brands like Blue Buffalo or Zeke’s. Not much junk in them, but still a great treat 🙂
3. Food Rolls. These are a newer thing in the world of dog food. It can be used as a full meal, as a special dry food topper, and as a training reward. It’s pretty soft but still packed together. I used this a lot in Reactive Rover because I could hold a big chunk of it and break of smaller pieces.
4. Freeze Dried Beef Liver. Aka, crack for dogs. This one is a little different because it’s not soft. However, it breaks apart pretty easily so you can still give tiny treats and the dog will swallow it up nice and fast. I don’t know what it is, but dogs like this. Take my word. Tofu is a huge fan as well. 🙂
Well there it is, my list of the top four best training treats in the whole world. Or something like that! Thanks to Stephanie from And Foster Makes Five for the suggestion! Check out some wonderful blogging over there 🙂
If you have any questions about Tofu, becoming a foster parent, or the adoption process- you can email me (Leroy’s mom) at Casey@caseyheyen.com
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