The Hierarchy of Dog Treats

Eko and Penny are both food-motivated, so they’re both ever eager to work for some extra treats. We’ve tried just about every treat in the store (and are working through the rest) but I tend to keep four treats always in stock.

Those four are: a low value treat, a medium value treat, a high value treat and a novelty value treat

Low value treats are great for working familiar commands and practicing polite treat-taking behaviors. I like Zuke’s Minis because of their size and varied flavors

We use medium value treats to reward exercises which require more focus and patience. A larger effort equals a larger payout. 

And when practicing newer commands (or working on agility) I break out the high-value, high protein treats. ProPlan and others make simple beef/chicken/venison treats which my two go crazy for

High value treats are so good Penny won’t even look at them for fear she might yield to temptation! 

Recently I’ve added the “novelty” treat to the rotation. The allure of a new treats seems to garner hyperfocus from the pups as they jostle for their first taste.

Jerky treats give the pups more to chew on. Literally.  I like treats which they can’t just vacuum-eat

“Is that a new treat!?”

“Penny, get out of the way, I got this!”

I reserve novelty treats for practicing our most difficult tricks. And Eko knows it. As soon as I break out a novel treat he goes right into “circus mode” trying to do every difficult trick he knows to get the treat as quickly as possible.

In this case, we’re trying to teach Eko a seated, two paws off the ground, “wave”

I don’t even have to ask, Eko just starts the balancing show all on his own

Eko gives a big wave and finally gets the sweet taste of victory/jerky

I always laugh and say that Eko and Penny work on a pay scale. Eko is reluctant (at best) to wave for a low-value treat, but for a novel treat he’ll sit back and wave like he’s the mayor in a parade.

I’m always looking for good, high-value, novelty treats so if your pup has a favorite snack they go into “circus mode” for, be sure to let me know!

18 thoughts on “The Hierarchy of Dog Treats”

  1. OK my 3 suggestions
    Jim Dandy beef jerky….this is not for Dogs but humans. Its $5.99 a bag but has about 40 pieces. Both go insane over them.
    Honey nut Cheerios …this goes in the Kong treat dispenser. With the Kong, treat time lasts 15 mins as they have to work to get the treat dispensed.
    And every night, Activia vanilla yogurt. Love Love Love it….plus it is so good for their digestive system!


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