What is a Treat? What Isn’t?

Playing Tug With A Sock Is A Big Treat!

In my ongoing quest to help people think out of the box, at least with respect to interacting with their dog, I have put together a list of some treats. First, the definition:

A Treat Is Something Your Dog Likes.

You Need To Be Honest About That! If you say “good dog” thinking it’s a treat, think again. You can certainly TRAIN your dog to think “good dog” is a treat, but without actually doing that, the probability that “good dog” has the same cachet as say, liver, is doubtful. The dictionary states treat (noun) as “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure.” If you can keep that in mind, it helps.

Treats can fall into TWO categories. FOOD and NOT FOOD.
Within the food category (samples below), you want to think of the treat ranging from the ordinary, ho hum, yes I’ll do that if nothing else is happening such as dog kibble or Cheerios, to the canine equivalent of a hot fudge sundae (which a lot of the other examples might fall into for your dog. Remember MODERATION is key, especially on the less healthy forms, and the size given is SMALL).
All forms of liver – Baked, dried, sauted, etc.
Cat food kibble
Cheddar Goldfish
All forms of cheese (including Cheese In A Can) — can be messy in warmer weather
Cooked meats — e.g., chicken, steak, pork, turkey or duck
Mock meat – “fake” meat for the vegetarians
Peanut or almond butter (other nut butters can be good too) on a spoon
Burger King or McDonalds (or other fast food type place) hamburger/cheeseburger
Hot dogs
Fruit – Bananas, All Melons
Vegetables – carrots, broccoli,cauliflower, potato, yams, etc.(the earlier you start your dog on fruits and vegetables the wider the palate will be).
String Beans
Carrots – in pieces, baby carrots, big carrots, cooked or raw
Various crackers
bagels/pita bread (I had one dog client who was mad for stale pita..go figure!)
liver brownies
Etc., etc., etc.

Soft tug toys
Small squeaky toy
Rope tug toy
Crinkly paper
Ball that bounces oddly and makes various noises
Sport balls of all sizes and shapes and textures — soccer, tennis, football, basketball, lacross, croquet, etc.
Stuffed Kong or Biscuit Ball
Tennis ball
Plastic bottles
Jolly Ball
big knotted scrap of fleece fabric
retrieving dumbbell
chase ‘n pull toy
stuffed animals that make the animal sound
Toys that make noise other than squeak
Raw or marrow bones
Bully sticks
Yogurt containers (clean up the yogurt first, then play with)
CAREFULLY used laser light
cow hooves
deer antlers
Etc. etc. etc.
What Your Dog Likes That Isn’t Above


Getting scratched at the base of his tail
Scritching, belly rubs, gentle touching
car/vehicle rides
Going for a walk
Hike in the woods
Rubbing your dog’s ears
Clapping and cheering him on
Playing a favorite game
Tug and ball retrieve
quiet praise w/soft eye contact
big ‘whoo hoo’ praise with jumping up
a good game of chase
Alone and focus time with your dog
Cuddling on couch
verbal praise with pats on his sides
scratching/rubbing between his eyes and on top of his muzzled
clicker training
Butt scritches
ear rubs
chest scratches
jaw massage
permission to jump up on usually forbidden objects (couch, bed)
time with other people your dog loves
Swimming Together
Training Classes w/ lots of other good looking dogs
on the floor snuggles
being brushed
Other Things Your Dog Enjoys Interacting With That Isn’t Above.

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