I take my treats pretty seriously. I have tried a lot of treats during years of training and with Max. I have come across picky dogs, nervous dogs and dogs who typically are not food motivated. The treats included below have proven hard for dogs to ignore.
I also take my treats seriously from a training perspective. Treats are your tool, your most valuable tool, in getting a dog to do a behavior you want them to do when you want them to do it. So, yes, they should be motivating from a taste and smell perspective, but they also should be motivating in the way that they have to work for that treat. If you have done training with me, you rarely see me handing out free treats.
This list is not in priority order. These treats are all great and have stood the test of time!
1. Nudges Jerky Cuts: These are the treats that all the dog owners go "what treats are you using" after their dog ignores their treats! I am always happy to share so you know! These are great. They have quality ingredients, are easy to bring on walks and are really motivating for dogs.
2. Nudges Grillers: These get the dogs salivating! They are a little crumby when breaking into smaller pieces, but their flavor really gets the dogs moving.
3. Iandloveandyou Nice Jerky Bites: You want quality, Iandloveandyou is a great company always putting dogs first. I break these apart but I also use a big one as a high value reward for outside training such as off leash work.
4. Stella and Chewy's Crav'n Bac'n: Stella and Chewy have a lot of great treats and meal makers. Their single ingredient beef hearts are the most motivating treat I have found for off leash walks, but theres something about walking around with beef hearts that isn't always for me! Their Crav'n Bac'n treats are still satisfying and come in small easy to give balls.
5. Vital Essentials Freeze Dried Chicken Breast: Single ingredient treats are my favorite. I like giving my dog real food and minimizing how much processed food he eats. (I say this while my son eats Ritz Bitz out of the box!). Dogs like meat, and keeping it simple is effective.
6. Wellness Soft WellBites: These are an oldie but a goodie. I have been using these treats for years and the dogs keep loving them! They have great flavors with high quality proteins as the leading ingredients. They are also easy to break so you can bring a few on a walk and get at least 16 training opportunities out of them.
Treats are your tool to get your dog to do a behavior you want, when you want them to do it. Use them wisely! You can also use or mix kibble into your training if your dog is motivated. Again, this will allow you to practice commands repeatedly without worrying too much about calories. Make sure to rip/cut your treats into small pea-sized pieces. This will allow you to practice commands while being responsible about calorie intake.
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