High Value Treats & Why You Need Them
Treats come in all shapes, sizes, smells, textures, and tastes. And, yes, I’ve eaten my share of dog treats. As most of you probably know, there are some treats that our furry friends like more than others. These can vary from pet to pet. One of my dogs will eat anything I put in front of her, but this is not the case for many animals.
That being said, just because a dog WILL eat a treat does not mean that the dog is willing to work for it. There are different values to treats. Think about it this way: if you were offered a plain graham cracker or a brownie fresh out of the oven, my guess is that most of us would choose the brownie. The same concept applies to our dogs. If you are training a dog or working with a fearful one, you want to have something on hand with a lot of value to that dog. If it is not interested in that treat, then it may not have the motivation to do what you ask.
Here are some things to look for in a high value treats:
1. Soft: Having soft treats is very important for shelters and can also be important for you. There are definitely high value treats that are hard, but when it comes to training, it is not practical to give a dog a Milkbone, let them take thirty seconds to consume it, and get back to training. It’s important to maintain the dog’s attention, so having something that they can consume quickly allows for that to happen.
2. Small: When the treat is small, you can maintain the dog’s attention. Also, when you have a small treat or one that easily breaks into small pieces, you won’t have to worry as much about overfeeding your dog a lot of soft treats that aren’t necessarily healthy, so giving a him/her large quantities of these is not recommended. You can break apart a soft treat into many small treats so that,by the end of the training session, you will have only given the dog one or two treats. Or three if it gives you sad eyes…
3. Low Calorie: In my opinion, the best high value treat is a small, soft treat that is also low in calories. These are excellent to use since you can use quite a few of them. This prevents overfeeding but allows for a longer session with a focused dog.
Some of my favorite high value treats are:
- Zuke’s mini naturals
- Peanut butter
- Natural Balance mini rewards
- Natural Balance dog food logs
- Boiled chicken
- Hot Dogs
- Nudges natural dog treats
- Pup-peroni (use sparingly)
- Beggin Strips (use sparingly)
This is a very short list. There are a lot of high value treats available, but just as you would with dog food, check the ingredients to be sure it’s something you’re comfortable giving your pet. If you see something that is off brand, do some research first to make sure it is safe for your dog.
If you would like to donate treats to either of our Animal Resource Centers, any of the items listed above would be a fantastic choice. Our shelter pups love their soft treats and we go through them very quickly, so we always appreciate donations! You can easily donate through our Amazon Wish List!
Manager of Animal Care (North Side)