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Tonight I tried clicker training for the first time. Was just on my own, and I know I made a lot of mistakes. I decided to try training the perch stance for agility rear leg awareness (and a closer "line up" or "by heel"). I can't believe how effective it is! I can't imagine getting my dog to stand on the perch by forcing her up there with collar corrections. Well, sure I can, but I am surprised how quick she got it with no lead and no collar to yank on! I might just be a convert (but don't tell my positive punishment trainer, I need to read a book first before breaking those ties...)

Anyway- one thing I noticed is that I very quickly ran out of treats. I was using BillJac liver treats that I cut in half. Probably went through 50 treats in 5 mins... that's not a long training session! I grabbed a stuffed squirrel I just bought her and did about 5 more minutes playing tug after each click.

I'm familiar with beef crunchies, but find that even a large chunk of beef dehydrates down into not a lot of treats. And it takes forever to cube it up. It could get expensive pretty quick using beef!

So I'm kind of at a loss. I have heard of frozen peas, but don't have any at the moment to try out. What do you guys use for treats with your clicker training? Remember that I have a 4.5 yr old GSD; I'm not sure if that should (probably not?) affect the size of the treat.
 

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I like to use the natural balance rolls and string cheese or cubed cheese mixed up. Natural balance is cheap compared to other actual "treats" when you cut into pea-sized pieces and the dog doesn't have to spend time chewing.
 

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Ah- with the natural balance rolls being a LOT softer than beef, that probably takes no time to cut up. But doesn't it become a sticky mess in your treat bag? I've used bill jac frozen food for treats (since it looks like hamburger, it works well to just "grab a chunk" for a treat) but the soft food ultimately ends up sliming up your hand. Well, that's my experience. Maybe it's different with the NB?
 

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anything will slime if it comes in contact with a dogs mouth. I don't have much problem with the natural balance and cheese clumping together as long as it is cold. When it warms the NB will crumble. You can freeze it~I do that when I use it for tracking.
 

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If I'm training Shasta where there aren't a lot of distractions, I use a different kibble than I normally feed. If there are going to be distractions, I cut up either freeze dried liver or cheddar cheese into approximately quarter inch cubes. On the very rare occasions that I plan ahead, I cut enough cheese to last for a few training sessions and put the extra in the freezer, then take it out as needed.
 

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I first started training with the cheapest hot dogs I could buy. Cut up into pieces the size the dog (or pup)could handle for the age. I also use string cheese. Since she is older now (4 1/2) she enjoys getting a toy for a reward instead. The toy had more value for her as a pup and it didnt work for a reward. She became too vocal. Now the toy draws more focus out of her. I still will reward with food sometimes. Keep changing things to keep it interesting.
 

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$1 packages of turkey dogs at walmart are perfect when you dice them up into 1/4s. A couple hotdogs a session will leave you spending about a dollar every couple of days. I also use a lot of Zuke's and yogurt drops.
 

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You can vary the treat by the distractions around. In a high distraction environment such as a group training class, I would use a mix of chicken breast and some tasty kibble like EVO. Or a mix of chicken and regular kibble, so the kibble has some chicken scent on it, and it's kind of a random reward system - will it be chicken, or kibble with chicken scent?

In the back yard, I can use regular kibble since the distraction level is low.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Sounds like the $1 turkey dogs from Walmart may be the way to go! Thanks guys!
 

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You can vary the treat by the distractions around. In a high distraction environment such as a group training class, I would use a mix of chicken breast and some tasty kibble like EVO. Or a mix of chicken and regular kibble, so the kibble has some chicken scent on it, and it's kind of a random reward system - will it be chicken, or kibble with chicken scent?

In the back yard, I can use regular kibble since the distraction level is low.
I do have some freezer-burned chicken in the freezer. I should thaw that out. You cook it, I assume?
 

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You're welcome! ;)
 

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I was using BillJac liver treats that I cut in half. Probably went through 50 treats in 5 mins... that's not a long training session!
I looked those up online, and it's hard to tell the scale, but they look to be way too big, even cut in half. I use pieces that are about 1/4". Zukes Mini Naturals come the right size and do not need to be refrigerated, but sometimes I even cut THOSE in half! Or, I'll pinch them into 2 or 3 smaller pieces with a fingernail as I go.

Natural Balance rolls are great - pretty much every dog loves them. I slice it thin, stack a couple of slices, and then cut into a very small dice. They store in the fridge or freezer for quite a while, and when I'm using it I just toss the whole treat bag in the fridge when not in use. You can also use a ziplok bag as a plastic liner for your treat bag, I just cut the top off, and it fits perfectly in my treat bag. Jerky treats can be cut up into little pieces or broken up with your fingers too - Solid Gold is a good brand.

Also, hot dogs as others have mentioned, but I find those get slimy faster than anything else, and cheese can too, especially in warmer weather.
 

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I slice the hot dogs, quarter the pieces and then nuke them until the fat is out of them and they are just a bit crunchy. So I don't have to deal with the slime. :)
 

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I do the same with the Zuke's Cassidy'sMom.

Haha, and Jax, I deal with the slime 'cause Frag loves it then change my nasty jeans afterwards. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I slice the hot dogs, quarter the pieces and then nuke them until the fat is out of them and they are just a bit crunchy. So I don't have to deal with the slime. :)
Whoa that's a great idea! I was thinking about how I could use hotdogs instead of beef in the beef crunchies recipe, but figured there was probably too much water content in the hotdogs. The microwave probably handles this well! Great tip!
 

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Put a couple of paper towels under the hot dogs (on a plate) to soak up the grease and if you put them to close together you'll have to break them apart when they are cool. It's easier to just put them so they aren't touching.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
To those that mentioned hotdogs and chicken- THANK YOU! Pimg is loving both, and is definitely excited when the clicker and bowl full of tastyness comes out. (Side note- those $1 hotdogs from wally world taste so bad!)
 

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For dry treats I used charlie bear training treats for a couple months. They are dry so they won't leave a residue, but the flip side is they aren't as smelly as soft treats so food motivation varied depending on the day. I still use them now and again, but have been using misc treats as mentioned above for awhile now.
 

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To those that mentioned hotdogs and chicken- THANK YOU! Pimg is loving both, and is definitely excited when the clicker and bowl full of tastyness comes out. (Side note- those $1 hotdogs from wally world taste so bad!)
Haha, I totally would never eat $1 hot dogs. Especially since the ones I got were turkey (idk if walmart makes non-turkey $1 dogs?) and I've never had a turkey dog of good quality before (are there good quality hot dogs!? XD) so I'm pretty sure they'd make me puke. I hate hot dogs.
 
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