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Is increasing the value of your training treats always helpful?

When I first started out, I often would advise clients to start with the highest value treat possible when training for reactivity, fear, anxiety. If something wasn’t working or behaviour wasn’t strong enough, increase value! It was an easy answer when not sure what to do next.


I do still increase value if I need more motivation or want to make a big impression with training, but I am more thoughtful about it. This is because feeding very high value food can mask how a dog is actually feeling, and if the dog will only accept super high value food in a given situation, what does that say about how they’re feeling?


So by all means, use food your dog loves and have a few different values on hand - but be thoughtful about what you’re using and when - and make sure to look at other ways to make training easier for your dog as well.


Tess Morgan is a multicertified dog trainer and behaviour consultant in London, Ontario. She sees clients for in-home dog training in London and virtually internationally. Treat Yourself Dog Training & Behaviour specializes in helping dogs with reactivity, fear, anxiety and aggression.

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