Last week I talked about tug toys. But what about cookies!? We use play as a big training reward, but we also use a lot of cookies.
For a long time, I’ve been in allergy dog treat mode. That is, if I read the label and Silas can actually eat it, I buy it. Finally I decided that enough is enough. I’m tired of going all over town to buy Silas’s treats. I’m tired of always feeling like we’re running out of treats, because there are five open bags with two cookies left in each one. So, I’ve started keeping bulk quantities of his favorites. I keep a large variety of treats because 1) I can and 2) I need to match any protein-based treat to Silas’s rotational diet.
In reality, we use two kinds of cookies. I like training treats to be extremely small. A wise dog trainer once told me that dogs do not care how big the bite is; they care how many they get. Also, a fast-paced training session could easily use up the majority of Silas’s daily calorie allotment if I’m using big treats. That’s why so many people use their dog’s kibble to train, but that isn’t really a luxury we have. Because tiny training cookies are more of a “gulp and move on” item, I also keep some bigger snack-sized cookies. Silas gets a snack cookie when we leave him home alone, and he usually gets a few snack cookies around 5:00. His stomach seems a little better if he gets some “filler” in the afternoon.
These are what I’m keeping on hand right now:
Small Training Cookies:
Honest Kitchen Quickies.
Cloud Star Itty Bitty Buddy Biscuits, Peanut Butter or Cheese & Bacon flavors. (I break these in half for training.) These are not grain free, but Silas doesn’t seem to have a problem with grains.
Silas-approved kibble, usually something I’ve gotten as a sample-sized bag. Fromm Pork and Peas, Zignature Turkey (not pictured), or Pure Vita Turkey. Because Silas doesn’t get kibble, he thinks it’s pretty good stuff.
Ziwipeak Daily Dog Venison and Fish. Doubles as higher-value training treats and the occasional backup meal.
I also dehydrate turkey liver and turkey heart into small training treats. (not pictured)
Primal Venison Lung Puffs.
Cloud Star Grain Free Original Buddy Biscuits, Peanut Butter or Cheddar flavor.
Honest Kitchen Beams. (not pictured)
Orijen Wild Boar freeze dried treats. These can be broken up in a limited way for training treats, but mostly I use them for tempting Silas to eat when he’s in one of his phases or for delivering tablet-style medications.
Smiling Dog Freeze Dried Pork treats are really high value for Silas. They are simultaneously too large and too apt to reduce themselves to dust, but I keep them for special situations, like training at the park.
What are the best treats at your house? How many do you keep on hand?