I am lucky both of my dogs are so highly food motivated. It makes training a lot easier. They will also work for toys, playtime and what I call "life-rewards." What about dogs that aren't so into food though? How are they best trained and motivated?
I have met many picky dogs, and most all of them were small breed dogs with one thing in common: free feeding. If Fluffy has access to food all day, food isn't that exciting. Also, Fluffy may be full when it comes time to training. There are other top reasons why Fluffy may not "like" treats.
1. The treats being given are boring (like milkbones).
2. The dog is too stressed or excited to eat.
3. The owner never changes/rotates the treats given.
4. The dog was given his full dinner before training.
For those gourmet dogs (I have one!), owners shouldn't be afraid of using people food. Of course, we want to give our dogs healthy treats, so take care in the people food chosen. Does feeding people food turn your dog into a beggar? No. Feeding dogs from the table creates beggars (I know this too because I find begging cute, even though my husband does not). You could create a begging dog by feeding him dog food from the table! Owners should also rotate treats frequently so the dog does not get bored of them. Just because he loved that bag and now it is empty, doesn't mean you should buy that same bag over and over again.
Below is a list of my top favorite dog treats:
1. Zukes Z-Filets
2. Chicken Jerky (any brand works)
3. Duck Jerky
4. Wellness Pure Bites
5. Natural Balance food rolls
6. Freeze dried liver treats (any brand)
|Freeze dried liver treat crumbs are delecious!|
All of the treats are by-product free, chemical preservative free, sugar and salt free and contain no artificial colors.
Below is a list of my top favorite human foods for treat usage:
1. String cheese or colby jack cheese sticks (the easy packaging is a plus)
2. Peanut butter placed in a squeeze tube
3. Liverwurst in a squeeze tube
4. Tuna mixed with cream cheese in a tube
5. Leftover meat cuts
6. Cucumber, carrot, or apple pieces (some dogs love it, Lex is not one of them though)
7. Fat free cool whip in a can (not the healthiest, but this is Lex's FAVORITE! He will overcome things that terrify him for cool whip)
After talking to owners about other treat options, usually we find the dog that "hates treats" really doesn't hate them, he just hated biscuits and his dog kibble!
List of toy rewards:
2. Tug toy
3. Laser light
4. Plastic bottle
5. Squeaky tennis ball
1. Going potty outside
2. Going for walk
3. Playing fetch
4. Playing tug
5. Getting a massage/petting session
6. Getting up on the furniture
7. Playing with other dogs
8. Playing a game