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Dog treats advice: Cheap or expensive?
PublishDate:2015/5/20 15:25:40

We all know that owning a dog means lots of treats for training, rewards or even just for a treat every now and again. But is the most expensive treat always the best treat?
If you are training your dog to learn a trick or even teaching the basics such as a recall, the dog will need the treat to be like a payment – an incentive towards good work. If you were working and your boss paid you £1 an hour you wouldn't feel too motivated to work, but if you were being paid £100 an hour, then you would be more inclined to work that little bit harder. Well it's the same principle for dogs. They need to be rewarded for their hard work with a high value payment, which for them comes in the form of a tasty treat.
When we say "high value", it doesn't mean it was the most expensive in the shop, it means that the dog values what you are giving them and will do anything to get one. One great example is dry kibble. Some owners that feel that dogs on dry kibble will use the biscuit as a treat, which is great but is it rewarding enough? They have the kibble daily and so doesn't become "special". If you used a piece of chicken or a cocktail sausage then you will see the difference in the dog's willingness to work.
A great example is when you are training the recall. This has to be started off on a long line so you still have control of the dog if need be, as soon as your dog looks at you, you reward them. If the dog is on the long line and you give your recall command and the dog comes back then you will need to reward them with great treasures to make it all worth it! This is where a bit of chicken or cocktail sausage will come in. They will realise that command means tasty titbits and will encourage the dog to continue with the training and not switch off.
There are many recipes that can be found online to make dog treats from your pantry. Liver cake is a very popular one and is an extremely high value but cheap treat to have. Limiting the intake of any offal for dogs is always advisable.
The size and texture of treat should always been taken into account to match the breed of your dog. If you have a Shetland Sheep dog then cocktail sausages broken into smaller parts would be ideal, but for a collie maybe the sausage in half would be the way to go. If you're out and about then using soft treats is far better than using hard, crunchy treats. As the dog will me walking/running/moving you need to have something they can easily chew and not carry on running with a treat in their mouth that they still have to chew when they set off.
Using treats for training is perfect and should be kept up during the dog's life so your hard work never fails, but you do have to keep a check on their weight. If you have a dog that's having a lot training or simply using the treats on a walk then make sure the food is adjusted at meal times. If the dog has had a lot treats during the day, adjust their daily food so you don't get a weight gain.
When you have found that "£100 payment" for your dog, use it at the right times. If you are training the dog only use it then and at no other times during the day. If the treats are being used to train a recall then only use then. This will keep the value of the treat high. If you see the dog losing a bit of interest then switch for a while and then bring it back and you will see the dog's interest again.