If your Patterdale is anything like mine they’ll love treats. Actually, I think it is fair to say that most dogs love treats. Here we are going to look at the value of treats and more importantly how to use the higher values of favourite treats for training and safety. Introducing the best high value dog treats!
Using High Value Dog Treats
When training a young dog and especially when you know you are going to be facing challenges that they are going to find hard, it pays to have a good, ready supply of their favourite treats. Think of the different treats as different currency values; reserve the favourites for the hardest or most challenging situations. They are the £20 treats. Pieces of human food biscuits as occasional treats or £10 value treats and some things that they do like a lot as everyday or £1 treats.
The other way they work as currency is literally that; they are the payment your dog works for. From the dogs point of view the treats are a type of gig economy the harder and more complicated tasks earn them the most, while the standard everyday tasks earn, average income.
Ideas for High Value Dog Treats
It’s a good idea to start by making a list of four to five treats and rate them from one to five. Start with one being the most valuable.
For example my dogs list currently looks like this:
- Cooked sausage chunks
- Cooked chicken pieces
- Wagg treats, they love the chicken and cheese
- Milk bones
- Home made liver cake pieces
Other things you might include in your own list are things like:
- Bits of beef
- Pieces of ham
- Liver chunks
- Pieces of Schmackos
- Milk Bones
Other brands and flavours of treats
Your high value treats are something that your dog really loves and goes crazy for. It will not be something they usually have. It’s the food treat reserved for the highest rewards.
So, you will have the everyday treats, the general training treats, the occasional treats and the most desirable treats that you only use when your dog needs extra incentive at times of high distraction or for a really important task.
Some excellent brands include Lily’s Kitchen, pedigree, Dragonfly and Wagg.
The Emergency Whistle or Word
It’s a useful tool when you start teaching your dog recall and it is something that you never know when you will need in a real emergency.
If you choose to use a whistle, then you will need to carry the whistle with you whenever you are out with your dog, therefore a specific word is usually the best option. So, I will assume you are using a word. Choose a word that you will remember and won’t otherwise use.
When training, use the word for recall and use plenty of praise and the highest value treat only when they come to that word. Continue to use other treats and praise when they come to your usual trigger word. You want to establish that it is really important to come straight away to that word. Once the training is in place, occasionally use the word for recall when you have the favourite treat to ensure that the word remains relevant.
I’ve heard stories of this working when a dog has run out in a strange place to get them back from near a road or to recall a dog from hunting in the woods. Used appropriately, it could save your dog’s life.
Other times to use the highest currency treats are for things like training new things and you need to incentivise the dog, especially in group sessions where they are easily distracted by the other dogs. This is also the case when training for agility or even to distract your terrier at terrier shows or racing where your high value treats will help to get the attention onto you. They can be extremely useful when rehabilitating rescue dogs especially when working to overcome fearfulness.
Buying High Value Dog Treats
There are many dog treats available to buy in pet stores and online. It is worth considering that there is usually more choice online, and it is also easier to browse the ingredients, compare prices and check for any undesirable ingredients or additives as well as any that are particularly desirable.
Depending on the individual dog it may be necessary to avoid grains, certain meats and be aware of the calories. I tend to look for no added sugar and no or low quantity of colour and flavourings, when buying dog treats. I also like to get my dog’s seal of approval and then repeat purchase!
You might like to read about healthy puppy treats.