Many people ask what kind or the best treats to use. My answer: It depends on the dog and what motivates them. If the dog is not “food motivated,” we can try a squeaky toy or favorite toy as the reward instead of treats; however, in most instances, the dog simply hasn’t found a treat that they consider high enough value. It has to be something amazing to get your dog to come to you or follow you instead of sniffing that fire hydrant that ten other dogs peed on.
A good training treat needs to be something your dog wants. There are some dogs that might be willing to work for plain, dry kibble, but for most dogs, you’ll need to step it up a notch to hold their focus and make them think, “What do I need to do to get that?!”
Treats need to be very small – pea size – because we’re working on multiple repetitions and don’t want to fill the dog up. You can also skip the dog’s dinner or feed less when working with a lot of treats. Treats need to be soft and chewy and smell good. They need to be easily hidden to prevent visual dependency, but they need to be easily accessible to reward the dog the moment he performs a new behavior, so you may need a treat pouch. Also, you might not want to put liver treats or chicken in your pocket! Remember – motivate, reward, wean them off, have fun.