We all know how useful treats are when teaching your dog certain behaviors, but have you ever noticed that your dog likes one treat at home but could care less about it when out and about? Or maybe after 10 minutes of training they lose interest in their favorite treat? When it comes to treats, variety is the spice of life! I have no less than 3 types of treats in my treat bag at any given time. I use treats with different flavors and textures so I can keep the dogs interested throughout the entire training session.
So what treats do I use and recommend?
If you have ever had training session with me, you have probably heard me talk about using food that seems like treats. The dogs LOVE it and I don't have to hold back when training because I know they are getting nutritious food (I just cut back a little at their next meal).
Kiwi Kitchens Air-Dried (not freeze-dried) is my favorite! It is a jerky consistency and is moist and meaty which the dogs really like. The size is perfect for training and can be broken up into little pieces if you have a smaller dog. The beef and lamb flavors are my go to (the chicken flavor has a different consistency that doesn't hold together as well).
Rawbble and Nulo make a freeze-dried food that many people use as toppers for kibble. They are a unique, fluffy texture. I like them because they are easy to crumble. You can give your dog a little taste of the "treat" when they have earned a reward. These are my favorite to use when the level of distraction is high or when dealing with a picky dog.
Vital Essentials makes freeze-dried "mini nibs" that are more like a kibble than the Rawbble and Nulo versions and are easy to bring with you since they are a lot less crumbly. They are relatively small too which means you can give your dog a lot without getting them too full, too fast.
Another option would be freeze-dried single ingredient treats such as chicken, fish, beef liver, heart, and other gross animal parts that dogs can't seem to get enough of. There are many brands that make these treats so you can find them almost anywhere. Kiwi Kitchens, Northwest Naturals and Pure Bites are a few of my favorites!
These bigger jerky style treats are great if you are on the go. You can grab one and break off pieces. That way you don't have a ton of little dog treats floating around in your pocket.
Bixbi Jerky Treats are softer which some dogs prefer. They also have functional jerky options that help with joints, skin, etc. The Boo Boo's Best BOOsters! have a wide variety of flavors made with novel proteins (great for dogs with allergies) to peak your dog's interest.
I am always trying new and different types of treats because dogs' preferences change day to day, or situation to situation. Just like us, our dogs have preferences. Keep searching for those delicious treats your dog will do anything for. Keep it interesting and find what your individual dog will work for!