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The right training treat


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I keep reading about people saying switch it up, find new treats and see which one's work best for your dog. I was about to give up really, I couldn't understand what people we're getting at, finding that high-value food reward. Jude seemed to equally work well for all treats, and a ball was 100% better as a motivator. I could never use treats in high-distraction scenarios, and sometimes playing with a ball/toy just wouldn't work in the area we were. Now don't get me wrong, I love his toy motivation, but I just wished he would work better for food sometimes. *Sigh* Treat bits, liver, chicken, human food, cookies, kibble, cheese, hot dog weiners... nothing seemed to work! But today!! I run into a "premium dog food roll" at the store, kinda looks like a big roll of baloney. So I bought it, what the heck! Seemed like the perfect thing I could cut into loads of small pieces for training. I cut a few pieces up when I get home, give jude one, *sniffs it a little*, eats it. Not too fussy. Give him a slightly bigger piece.... now he really got a taste. The light bulb moment. He loves them. I've never had a more enthousiastic dog working for food. And the training session lasted forever!! He just loved that gross roll of food. Now to save this food for when it really counts.

 

I cannot to start using this in agility class sunday! I thing I found my distraction miracle! I think I'm going to cut it all up tomorrow and freeze portions of it to just take out to class! :lol:

 

Anyone else have fun eureka! moments to share?

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Whisper loves these, too. And you can freeze it! Don't leave it unrefrigerated for yoo long, though--it will grow mold!

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Anyone else have fun eureka! moments to share?

 

Dean is blase about most treats at training class. He tends to like plain old Taste of the Wild kibble best, but I usually use hot dog with him in Agility since I want something soft for him to ingest while running around.

 

One time my husband got the hot dogs and they were the most disgusting hot dogs I'd ever smelled. Dean's eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when he caught a whiff of those things. They are his favorite to this day. I make sure to get them any time he is going to be in a challenging training situation and for trial days, for rewards outside of the ring. He also tends to be more ball motivated, but if I need him to keep his head, I usually go with the disgusting hot dogs over the ball.

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We have a hierarchy of treats too. Poe is so food obsessed that some high value treats short-circuit her brain. But her number one treat is bread. Plain white bread. We only use it for recall training because it is so powerful that she can't focus on anything if it is around.

 

She is a notorious counter surfer but if there was lunch meat and bread on the counter she would take the bread and leave the meat lol. When we made sandwiches she would sit beside us and just chatter her teeth and drool or she would lose her head and steal it right in front of us. She has some major focus issues outside so my DH decided to try it for recalls and her recall went from like 10-20% to 99.9% the very first time he used. Whenever she needs a refresher or we need to work her in a strange place we pull it out. We also only use it when we practice/compete in disc events at a new field. But if I try to use it in flyball she gets so overexcited that she will sometimes spin and not run for the ball. She has more focus/drive for flyball so we can use cheese/hot dogs for her there.

 

Cheese, hot dogs, stinky treats...nothing compares to plain white bread.

 

Funny story, we are having a big mole problem in the backyard right now. Her recall dropped to zero and she was obsessed with digging or tracking the moles. I tried her ball, I tried a tug, I tried cheese, I tried hot dogs. Nothing. DH brought out some bread and she hasn't looked for a mole since.

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Cheese, hot dogs, stinky treats...nothing compares to plain white bread.

 

Bread is popular in this house too, but my guys are a bit pickier. Favourites are the Cheese, Apple and Chili sourdough (which has to guarded constantly while cooling) and the malted black rye (a variant of which I bake specially as dog treats). I use training treats sparingly; mostly for the new fosters. Once the dogs have settled in, treats are faded out, because they know when I am satisfied and when I'm not.

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Those Natural Balance food rolls are a staple in my training. I cut up a ziplock bag worth and store them in the freezer. They don't freeze hard, so I use them straight out of there.

 

For my dogs, if I'm using food, cheese or the food roll is a toss up. They seem to love both equally. But the food roll is more bang for the buck.

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For Buzz, it was dried sour cherries. I gave him a few one day, thinking they'd be too tart for him, but loved them.

 

A couple days later, I took a few cherries out on to the deck. DH let Buzz out the door after me. At first, he trotted out quite normally, then got a whiff of the dried cherries. His eyes got as big as saucers, he dropped on his belly and started groveling his way towards me, whining and moaning that he was starving, close to death in fact. After I stopped laughing, I gave him a cherry and he stopped the melodrama. Cherries are the only food he ever went wild about.

 

Ruth

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Not that it would make a good training treat, but we had an old dog who, in her senior years, went crazy for super spicy Thai-style curries. She made the funny lip-smacking, "this is hot" faces, but always went back for more.

 

I suppose you could dredge chicken bits in Thai curry paste... just don't rub your eyes afterwards! :)

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