• Liz MacHaffie

Rewards and Treats

Updated: Jul 9

What can be used for rewards? You can use ANYTHING your pet enjoys! This might include:

  • Treats

  • Toys

  • Playtime

  • Attention

  • Being let off leash

  • Getting to sniff stuff, like that really exciting tree or another dog’s butt

Reward Value

Not all rewards are created equally! Your pet probably has preferences for certain rewards over others. We use the terms “low-value” and “high-value”.

Training Treat Suggestions

The best training treats are bite-sized, low calorie, easy to eat, and easy on tummies. Not all of the treats on the list below fulfill each of those qualities, but many do!

Often Low Value

  • Your dog's regular kibble

  • Kibble that is new or different to your dog

  • Tricky Trainers Crunchy

Often Medium Value

  • Buddy Trainers Training Chews (Great for small dogs and puppies!)

  • Train-Me Training Treats (Mini size available, great for smalls!)

  • Tricky Trainers Chewy

  • Pet Botanics Training Rewards

Often High-Value

  • Pet Fresh Select Roasted Meals (Need refrigeration, but economical and most dogs LOVE them! Look for the ones that look like little nuggets, not the shreds.)

  • Diced chicken (unseasoned)

  • Canned food (ground, not chunky) in a silicone travel squeeze tube

  • Meat and veggie baby food pouches (avoid the fruity ones, too much sugar)

  • Real Meat brand dog food (comes in a jerky form, the Venison and Turkey is easiest to break apart)

  • Squeeze cheese

  • Low-sodium deli meats

  • Freeze dried chicken, beef liver, and/or cheese

  • Freeze dried or dried shrimp, salmon, or tiny fish (Stinky, but great for cats and dogs who can't have chicken or beef) You can also check out Asian markets like H-Mart for these, often at a much lower cost than what's sold for pets.

When Can I Stop Rewarding?

When you want your pet to stop working! (How long would you go to work without a paycheck?) But that doesn’t mean you have to reward every single repetition forever! You can also rotate between food and other types of rewards.

Here’s how often to reward:

  • Learning a behavior: Every time he gets it right.

  • Maintaining a behavior: Randomly. Frequently enough that behavior doesn’t weaken or fall apart.

Have fun experimenting and being creative with what rewards work best for your pet!!!

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