Top 7 High Value Training Treats

Top 7 High Value Training Treats

Top 7 High Value Training Treats

7 Amazing High Value Training Treats Almost All Dogs Love

As a modern dog trainer, you know the importance of figuring out each individual dog’s likes/dislikes when it comes to training treats.  However, there are some foods/treats that are almost always considered high value in the minds (or mouths?) of dogs.  Just be mindful that as so many of these high value food items are not specifically for dogs, they may be extremely high in fat or sodium, or just have questionable ingredients (see #1!), so save them for training complex behaviors or locations that will require super high value rewards.

Kraft Easy Cheese, AKA “Squeeze Cheese”

Perhaps the penultimate high value treat.  Was ever a human food more perfectly designed for dog training than squeeze cheese?  That lovely metal can with a nozzle at the end is perfect for relatively mess-free treating.  And you cannot get a more ideal treating method for muzzle training because the nozzle fits so well through the muzzle.  It comes in several flavors, though anything other than American or Cheddar can be difficult to find.  There is an elusive bacon flavor that is rumored to be THE ONE.

Peanut Butter

Old reliable.  There are very few dogs that don’t go crazy for peanut butter.  Whether you give them a quick swipe with their tongue directly out of the jaw, or dip a spoon or finger in to let them lick it, peanut butter is going to keep even the most distracted of dogs working with your clients.  It is also handy smeared on the refrigerator or another vertical surface to occupy a dog while getting a nail trim, or of course stuffed and frozen in Kongs or other stuffable toys.

Baby Food

Baby food is soft and stinky, pretty much ideal for dog training.  Also, seeing as how it is designed to keep human infants alive and healthy, it often contains less questionable ingredients than something like Easy Cheese or hot dogs.  Baby food also now comes in squeezable pouches for easy mess-free treating.

Hot Dogs

Kind of like peanut butter, hot dogs are a classic super high value training treat.  Whenever possible, get the nitrate/nitrite-free ones so they are at least slightly less unhealthy.  And remember, one hot dog can garner over a hundred treats if cut well.

Freeze-Dried Bison

Freeze-dried or dehydrated meat/organs is considered “doggy crack” by those in the know.  Though it’s not overly stinky, it still can get the attention of most any dog in your vicinity.  One drawback is that the pieces are often kind of large, requiring a little work to break them into more appropriate treat-sized pieces.  The effort is worth it for such a mess-free, healthy, high value treat.

French Fries

Fresh, warm, salty, greasy french fries.  Nectar of the gods (dogs?).  Incredibly unhealthy, so definitely only use these in extreme moderation.  However, the lovely thing is they are soft so they are very easily torn into very small pieces so you can get a lot of training mileage out of just a handful of fries.

Fruitables Skinny Minis

These are relatively newer on the market but dogs seem to go nuts for them.  They smell really good, they’re small, they’re soft, not messy, and very inexpensive.  Almost the ideal high value training treat.

What are some other treats your clients’ dogs consider high value? 

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Product Review – Ruffwear Haul Bag

Product Review – Ruffwear Haul Bag


A Review Of The Ruffwear Haul Bag

Behind every great dog trainer is a great training bag. Between treats, clickers, toys, notepads, treat pouches, harnesses, and leashes, it can be difficult finding an appropriately sized bag that isn’t super bulky and half the size of Ohio.  So when Ruffwear introduced their new Haul Bag, dog trainers everywhere rejoiced in expectation.  Ruffwear has a history of making extraordinary products and this bag was expected to hold up to their standards.

Ruffwear was gracious enough to send The Modern Dog Trainer a bag to try out.  To nobody’s surprise, this bag stands out in a large crowd of training bags.

This bag appears deceptively small.  It is 16.5″ long, 11.81″ wide, and 12.2″ tall.  It comes with two small handles for hand-held carrying as well as a shoulder strap.  It has a zippered top.  On one outer side, there is a large zippered pocket that goes the length of the bag.  On the other side are three mesh pockets, one perfectly sized for business cards, and then two larger ones.  On one end is a label that can be filled out with your contact information.

Notice the three pockets. The smaller pockets is perfect for business cards.



Notice the label for your personal information on the bag.


Inside Compartments Of The Haul Bag

It is upon opening the bag that the wow factor really kicks in.  The bag is gigantic.  It has what Ruffwear calls a “gatemouth” opening, which opens the bag to a full rectangle.  The inside, like the outside, has both a zippered pockets on one side and mesh pockets on the other side.  The bottom is wide and flat.

Notice one side with a zipper and one with pockets.


IMG_4192I was pleasantly surprised to find that all the training gear that had maxed out my other training bag fit into the Ruffwear bag with plenty of room to spare.

Even when fully stuffed, the bag is lightweight and comfortable to carry.  When slung over a shoulder, it is less prone to knocking into furniture, vehicles, dogs, and people than other training bags due to the smaller dimensions and tapered top.


The Haul Bag is not inexpensive; however, with the sturdy materials and craftsmanship, as well as the lovely yet simple design, it is a bag you will not have to replace in the near future. If you are a professional trainer, be sure to join Ruffwear’s Pro Purchase Program for a discount on their items!

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*This bag was given to The Modern Dog Trainer for free for the review. Our opinion of this product was not affected by Ruffwear’s generosity. We participate in Ruffwear’s affiliate program in order to support this blog and our dedicated contributors.

10 Behaviors All Obedience Classes Should Cover

10 Behaviors All Obedience Classes Should Cover

Ask anyone and they have their own idea of what a dog should learn. There are the essential behaviors but there are some other behaviors that might not be taken into consideration until there is an issue. It is important to cover these in a class to provide students with a proper foundation for a well-behaved and stable dog.

Image via Bessey's Positive Paws

Image via Bessey’s Positive Paws

1. Sit

An essential behavior that most clients have already started with their dog when they come to class but is still just as important to cover. Sit is key to get as a solid behavior because it can be utilized when working on proper greetings or providing a dog with an incompatible behavior to jumping.

2. Down

Another essential behavior that clients like to know how to teach. It works as an incompatible behavior to things like jumping but also is handy when working on teaching place or a settle.

3. Leave-it

A behavior that has endless uses. Not only to teach a dog to leave food or inanimate items but other dogs, cats, people or “yuck”. You can fill in the blank.

4. Loose Leash Walking

Whether a dog is allowed freedom outdoors or not, how to walk on a leash is a behavior to start immediately. There will always be a time when a dog needs to be put on a leash and it is more pleasurable for dog and handler when the leash is loose, let alone safer.

5. Settle/Relax

Clients tend to focus their attention on exercising their dog which can lead to an anxious or hyperactive dog that doesn’t know how to chill. Dogs will adapt to the level of exercise they are given. We need to teach them to settle and relax in the face of excitement or boredom.

6. Recall

Also known as “coming when called,” this is a life saving behavior and takes lots of practice to be truly successful. Coming when called is a key behavior to teach early on in lessons. Consider incorporating a hand touch with this behavior to make sure the dog comes within reach in case of an emergency situation.

7. Place

A versatile tool like a mat, towel, dog bed etc. that can be used to have the dog target at a  specific location and then to relax and settle. Mats are portable and can be taken to coffee shops or restaurants as well.

8. Focus

Client will repeat cues to a dog when they don’t even have the dogs attention. By teaching the client this tool of gaining their dogs attention will help to eliminate frustration in the face of distractions.

9. Handling

Teaching your clients to teach their dogs to love handling is essential. It helps to create a stable, confident dog. Dogs should allow their owners to comfortably hold their feet (for nail trimming), check their mouth, look in their ears, brush their coats and accept restraint. Having strangers perform these exercises to the dog is a definite bonus to prep for vet visits! (Tip: Have everyone in class switch dogs and practice gentle handling exercises with lots of rewards.)

10. Give

Teaching “give” or a “drop it” helps prevent resource guarding. Instead of forcing something away from the dog we can give the dog the choice to drop the item for something of better value.

The above behaviors are listed in no particular order to importance. Which behavior do you think is the most important?

Three Ways To Teach Relaxation

Three Ways To Teach Relaxation

Three Ways To Teach-min

Three Different Ways To Teach A Dog To Relax

Relaxation is something a lot of dogs do not know how to do in many different environments. It is also something most owners do not think they have to teach their dog. Relaxation is important because it helps lower the chance of reactivity when dogs are able to be level-headed in many different environments. Relaxation exercises are also important to help prevent separation anxiety. A dog’s ability to learn is also higher when they are relaxed versus when they are anxious or hyper.

There are many different ways to teach a dog to relax. Here are three techniques to try.

1. Relaxation Protocol

Dr. Karen Overall’s relaxation protocol is a very popular method to teach relaxation. You can find mp3’s of the relaxation protocol here. Below is a video with an explanation of what the relaxation protocol entails. You can also perform the relaxation protocol on your mat so you can relate relaxation with the mat wherever it is taken.

2. Capturing Calmness/Default Settle

Kikopup has an excellent YouTube video on how to capture a dog’s calmness. Rewarding the dog when they are not expecting it when they are calm. This is something the owners can do while watching tv at night. Teaching a default settle is a great behavior for owners who enjoy taking their dogs to outside patios for meals. These behaviors have the dogs working on relaxation because they enjoy the behavior, not just because food is present.

3. The Calm Chin Rest

Another of Kikopup’s videos touches on ‘the calm chin rest’. This is teaching a chin rest, usually without a clicker because they have a tendency to excite dogs, and working towards moving the dog’s neck and feeling for their body being loose and relaxed.

These are just three methods that can be utilized to teach relaxation. It’s important that all dogs learn how to relax in different environments as it is not healthy or fair for a dog to live in an anxious, stressful environment.

What other relaxation methods do you utilize with your clients?

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10 Prejudices Owners Have Against Clicker Training That Are Wrong

10 Prejudices Owners Have Against Clicker Training That Are Wrong

clicker training

1. Clicker Training Is Permissive

Clicker training does not mean you will never tell a dog “no.” Behaviors that are reinforced with a click/treat will repeat; behaviors that are ignored will go away. Ignoring behaviors and/or NOT clicking/treating is telling the dog “no, that’s not what I want.”

2. A Clicker Is Forever

Some people think, “I will have to carry a clicker and treats with me everywhere for the rest of my dog’s life.” Once the dog’s history of reinforcement for a behavior is built and the behavior is on stimulus control, the click/treat reinforcement is no longer as important. It is, however, important to remember that to maintain behaviors, reinforcement of the behavior should still occur.

3. It’s A Juggling Act

You need to have three hands (or more!) to clicker train. Practice clicker mechanics just like you practice “sit” and “down.” Get your leash, clicker, and some treats (candy or something rewarding for you) and practice without a dog (hence the treats for you!). Another way to practice is to have someone bounce a ball while you click/treat when the ball hits the ground.

4. It’s Bribery

Some people also think, “My dog will only listen to me when I have a clicker/treats.” Dogs will not do what they are asked to do until they have learned the cue and the behavior. Once dogs understand the cue and know the behavior, this is no longer an issue. Using proper clicker training mechanics is also an important part in preventing bribery – keep those hands out of the treat pouch!

5. It Isn’t Applicable To Other People

Do you want your dog to listen to someone else? Then have that person train with your dog. Or if what you want is a dog who will listen to a variety of people (vet tech, groomer, dog walker, etc.), have a variety of people train with your dog so that your dog gets used to listening to a variety of people. It is not about training method — it is about generalization and training in general.

6. A Classroom Full Of Clicking Will Confuse A Dog

Life is not lived in a vacuum and dog training is not done in a vacuum. Dogs pay attention to the whole picture – body language, verbalization, emotion, clicker, treats, etc. Your dog absolutely knows which click is for her.

7. Clicker Training Is Limited

You can train everything with a clicker – from sit to housetraining to dog sports to working dogs. Everything.

clicker training

8. You Can’t Use A Clicker For Dog Sports Or Therapy Dog Work

Clickers are not allowed in the ring or on therapy visits (with many registering organizations/groups). But you can certainly utilize clicker training to train and prepare your dog for these things (remember it’s about history of reinforcement and stimulus control). Fortunately, you can utilize the clicker in your warm-up routine (at competitions it is polite and good trial etiquette to warm up outside or away from the ring(s) if you are using a clicker so as not to distract the working dog(s)).

9. Clickers Won’t Help With Reactive Or Aggressive Dogs

Using a clicker to work with a reactive or aggressive dog can be very calming for the dog. Once the dog understands that click means reinforcement, it helps the dog feel more comfortable and confident. They enjoy knowing that a click means the same thing in the training space, at home, on the street, alone, with other dogs, etc. A clicker increases comfort and confidence in reactive dogs because it consistently reinforces the behaviors they should do in a trigger situation while creating a positive association.

10. Sound Sensitive Dogs Hate Clicker Training

There are a number of different clickers with different levels of sounds for dogs and for humans. Experiment! If you can’t find a clicker that your dog is comfortable with, try a clicking pen, a canning lid, children’s toys – be creative. You can also put your clicker in your pocket or behind your back to quiet the sound a bit. Always be careful not to click too close to a dog, especially his ears.

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Share A Little Win A Lot: National Train Your Dog Month

Share A Little Win A Lot: National Train Your Dog Month

National Train Your Dog Month

National Train Your Dog Month-min

National Train Your Dog Month was started by the Association of Professional Dog Trainers in 2010. Their inspiration was to get owners aware of the benefits of training their dogs using scientifically sound techniques. Since many people adopt animals for the holidays, January seemed the perfect month to dub “National Train Your Dog” Month.

“The APDT thought it was long overdue to dedicate a month to bringing awareness to the importance of socialization and training, and most of all, to inform the public that training your dog can be easy and fun!”

In order to encourage participation in this awareness project, the APDT sponsors a contest and prizes every January.

APDT Conference and Prize Giveaway

Hurry! You only have until February 2nd at 5:00PM Pacific to win. “Win what”, you say? The APDT is giving away four great prizes, just for promoting Train Your Dog Month on social media:


A FREE APDT 5-day Registration for the 21st Annual Educational Conference Oct 14-17, 2015 in Dallas, TX


A FREE APDT Full student registration for a multi-week online course of your choice, like their course “Aggression and the Law: What Trainers Need to Know.” More courses found here:


A FREE APDT Membership for one year, at the level of your choice.


Five free APDT Webinars and a copy of “Dog Trainer’s Resource 3.” Presenters of webinars include, but are not limited to: Pat Miller, Veronica Boutelle & Gina Phairas, Robin Bennett & Susan Briggs, Teoti Anderson, Linda Case, Janis Bradley, Monty Sloan and Jacqueline Muñera.

How To Enter

Ok, I bet by now you are asking how you can get your hands on one of these great prizes? It just happens to be super easy.

Share on any of your social media outlets that January is National Train Your Dog Month (visit for inspiration). Then, once you’ve shared about Train Your Dog Month, get two or more shares or re-tweets and BAM you are on your way. Send a screenshot of the social media image along with your contact information and APDT member number to:

For official instructions and rules for entering the APDT’s National Train Your Dog Month Social Media Contest go to their website.

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Receive valuable dog training business tips and resources every week! Subscribe to The Modern Dog Trainer now by submitting your name and email below.


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