Training is a game of keeping your pet’s attention while you try to teach them a behavior. Some dogs are toy motivated, some are praise motivated but the vast majority are food motivated. That means that of all the things in the word that could convince them to do weird stuff like shake hands with us, food is the thing that could get them to do it!
Training treats can be a variety of things. Some dogs like to have ice cubes as treats! But ice isn’t very portable, and usually dogs take a little bit of time to chew it. The ideal training treat is something small and extremely tasty. It needs to be small because if the dog takes a long time to eat it, their attention can be broken and they won’t be interested in training anymore. A quick treat keeps their mind focused while rewarding them. It also has to be very tasty, of course!
The best treats for this purpose can be freeze dried meat, plain chicken, or training treats. Freeze dried meat or plain chicken can be extremely tasty, but also pretty messy. Training treats, or even treats small enough to be bite sized like Get Naked soft treats, can work much better for training. They are compact, bite size and don’t crumble into dust in the bottom of your treat pouch!
But if your dog is more motivated by toys, you need different treats! Their favorite treats are more along their favorite toy than tasty morsels. Switching between rewarding with treats and rewarding with playtime can be a bit of a shift in training philosophies, but it isn’t difficult once you get the hang of it. Just make sure that your pup has strong “drop” skills, otherwise you’ll never get the toy back to keep training! Make sure they know that they only get so much time with the toy before it’s back to business.
What does your dog respond to best? Treats or toys? Let us know in the comments below!