What does YOUR dog find rewarding? Dogs are all individuals, with their own unique preferences. What one dog finds reinforcing can be boring to another. So what kind of training rewards should you use? Sometimes the difference between a brilliant obedience pupil and a dog who completely ignores you is just a matter of discovering which treats YOUR dog finds rewarding.
Ideas for training treats:
In general soft treats are best — something the dog can swallow without taking his attention off of you. Most dogs have to drop their heads in order to chew hard treats like biscuits and leave behind crumbs that they are eager to clean up. Soft treats manufactured for dogs often contain large amounts of chemicals, dyes, sugar, and salt–so be sure to check the ingredients before buying!
- String Cheese, cheddar cheese cubes, Swiss cheese
- Chicken or Turkey*
- Natural Balance roll
- Roast Beef, Bologna, chicken Breast (have the deli clerk slice you a 1” thick piece that you can cut into chunks)
- Dog Joy refrigerated treats
- Merrick, Zukes, Wellness, and other companies all make high-quality dog treats
*note – because you will be carrying treats in your pockets and handling them frequently, you should make sure that all meat items are properly cooked and safe for human consumption.
It doesn’t matter if you are training a Great Dane or a Chihuahua remember to use small pieces of food no bigger than a dime.
When your dog earns a BIG reward we call this a Jackpot. A Jackpot consists of a stream of small pieces of food given to the dog one after the other OR a scattering of rewards along the ground. We often use Jackpots when a dog comes when called, or when we are fading off the lure and waiting for the dog to make the correct choice. Using a jackpot keeps your dog ‘gambling’ and working towards more and more desirable behaviors.