Dogs absolutely go nuts for most treats - so it’s hard for us to understand the difference between low and high value treats. Why do some dog trainers choose to use certain treats instead of others? What’s the point of having so many different types of treats on the market? How does choosing the right treat improve the way you train your dog?
These are some pretty common questions that we have on our minds, so let’s start by taking a look at how treats should be used, especially when you’re training your pup.
Training with Treats
Dog training can be tough, but it’s rewarding to see our pup learn new tricks and it’s a great way to spend time with your pet. Nevertheless, it’s never easy to get a restless pup’s attention - and you’ll need a lot of their attention to get them to learn even a simple trick like rolling over or lying down.
This is where treats come in - dog treats are incredibly useful as they help grab your pups’ attention, plus they encourage them to repeat good behaviour. This helps reinforce the good behaviour they’ve learned, helping them respond more quickly and accurately to your commands.
But when you’re training your dog, the type of treat you use will affect a lot. High and low value treats get different responses from your dog - and often times the difference between these responses can be huge, affecting everything down to how fast it takes for you to train your pup.
High Value vs. Low Value
We’ve talked a little about the value of our dogs’ treats, but what exactly does ‘value” refer to in treats? Ultimately, the value of a dog treat equates to the level of motivation it can get your dog. For instance, if you try to get your dog to do a trick and reward them with the puppy dry food they eat every day, they’re most likely to turn their nose.
Of course, tasty kibble like Stella & Chewy’s range of raw coated kibble will likely still catch your pup’s eye - but if they’re eating something this tasty every day, it’s unlikely they’ll maintain the same level of motivation for their kibble for too long.
A high value treat is therefore often something tasty that your pup rarely gets to eat - so something like BARE’s collection of delicious premium meaty dog treats will definitely get their attention and have them ready to listen to your every command, especially if they seldom get it. In other words, low in value doesn’t mean low in quality!
Factoring Value into Puppy Training
Now that we know how to differentiate treats of different values, we need to get a better understanding of how this value affects our training and what kind of dog treats we should fill our EzyDog SnakPaks with!
As we’ve gone over before, high value treats equal high levels of attention and motivation, which also equals an easier job training a difficult pup. But beware! High value treats devalue over time, especially if you train them exclusively on the best treats you have. Here’s a quick look at the general differences between different tiers of treats:
For the best effect, train your pup with a mix of high and low value treats. That way, you can always up the ante when your dog is losing motivation, or if they’re performing extra well. Increasing the value of your dog’s reward is also especially great for dog distraction training.
This is also a big reason why most basic dog training classes teach clicker training. Dog clickers help simulate the effect of a treat after some dog clicker training sessions, but for a much lower value, keeping your dog excited for the same treats they’ve been consuming.
For special occasions and especially after a particularly productive session of training, you may also want to set aside some extra special high value treats stuffed in a toy from KONG’s assortment of classic dog toys for a reward!
Another thing you want to take note when picking out suitable puppy training treats is size and how easy it is to eat. Small and soft treats make great training treats as they can be easily swallowed without much chewing, allowing you to reward them more quickly, and possibly in smaller amounts as well.
Just imagine giving your pup a huge stick of jerky to chew on between every trick they do successfully - they’d most likely have forgotten what behaviour you were trying to encourage by the time they’re done!
Try using something like The Barkery’s Bark Kwa Dog Treats for training. It’s easy to break into small pieces that your pup can swallow right up, allowing you to get on with the rest of their training. Plus for dogs (and most humans), scrumptious dehydrated pork is absolutely a high value treat!
Of course, it’s also important to be careful with the amount of treats you’re giving your pup. High value treats tend to be high in calories, so make sure not to give your dog more than 10% of their daily calorie intake in the form of treats! Instead, try using lean and low-calorie treats like ZIWI Peak’s range of Good Dog Reward treats which only contains 5.6 calories per treat. These help you extend your training session, while keeping your dog healthy and motivated.
In the end, the most important thing is to cater to your dog’s needs! Try out a wide array of suitable training treats to find out what really gets your dog going - after all, every dog is special and deserves their own little something-something for doing a good job. In fact, after a great session of training, make sure to give your pup an extra high value treat like The Barkery’s Organic Peanut Butter for Dogs for a job well done to keep them happy and excited for more training!