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December 14, 2015

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,
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!

Comments for The Hierarchy of Dog Treats

  1. I can get a “sit” for a treat…. only for a Greenie Easy would do anything :o)

  2. meANXIETYme says:

    Salmon skin. When we make fresh salmon on the grill, we let the skin crisp up a little by itself (after we pull the salmon off of it). Once it’s crisp (and cooled) we feed them little pieces of it. There’s a lot of drool involved.
    If you don’t cook salmon (or whatever the reason), you can get fish or salmon skin in stores, too. I think part of the high value with the fresh stuff (and some of the store bought stuff) is that it smells A LOT. So the smell gets them going right away… (also, good and healthy omegas in those skins!).
    Same for the smell is dried lung. We’ve given different types of dried animal lung (beef, goat, lamb) purchased from a local boutique type pet store… it also has a lot of smell and seems to be really high value. (Unfortunately, it makes Butthead sick–she has a sensitive stomach–so we don’t give them lung anymore, but Le Moo and our previous dog LOVED it.)

  3. Victoria says:

    For Rigby its Puparoni Turducken – for Muff she loves greenies which is bad because she can only get one of those a day

  4. Emmadog says:

    We have the low end treats for basic stuff around home, but we always have high value for sports. Mom mixes them up, so we never know what we are getting and since we get them one at a time, we don’t know how many we will get either. We also have our treats for snack time and jerky is a favorite there. We just got a load of buffalo jerky from Raw Paws Pet Food and we are loving that. Something new and different is always good.

  5. Kismet says:

    Kali and Kaci get healthy treats. Frozen green beans, cranberries and carrots are favorites of theirs.

  6. Geri Zeibert says:

    Both my dogs love Denta Sticks, especially the green ones, which are supposed to improve their breath and clean their teeth. I have been giving them one a day for years before bedtime after their last “out”. You would think that they would get bored with the same treat and they will turn up their noses sometimes on different treats but NEVER at the Denta Sticks. All I have to say is “time to go out and then get your Denta Sticks” and they will come bouncing from wherever in the house they happen to be lounging, already drooling. Sometimes it is hard to get them to go out to relieve themselves because they are crowding around the Denta Stick bag! I believe they are made by Purina and come in several sizes and both beef and the green flavor. They are difficult to cut so even though your dogs are large like mine you might want to consider the mini size as treats. Whatever you choose I am certain you will continue to spoil Eko and Penny righteously!

  7. realappetite says:

    We always seem to have a hundred different types of treats but what does Atlas go craziest for? Single bits of his everyday kibble. At least he’s easy to please! Definitely one of the many perks of having a ridgeback — as long as it’s food, he’ll work for it! No picky eater here.

  8. dogdaz says:

    Dehydrated liver. They go nuts.

  9. Cupcake’s prime treats are saved for when we do her therapy work. At the VA and at the library, she loves her one ingredient treats from Chewy.com. Freeze dried chicken and freeze dried pork. They have a nice strong smell to get her attention and an easy texture for her to chew.

  10. KDKH says:

    “Circus mode” is perfect to describe treat behavior around here – except for one dog. We have ceramic tile floors, and if it’s cold, she won’t sit her hiney on a cold floor for any kind of treat. When she’s desperate, she’ll look for something to sit on, but it won’t be the tile!

  11. Donna says:

    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!

  12. HIYA sweet things! Great treats and tricks!

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