We are starting something new here: Power Tips. These are going to be short, fast, bite-sized little video posts that will come out between the longer, more involved ones. I’m still going to do those others, but with my teaching and private training schedule I just don’t have time to put those out as quickly as I’d like. Hopefully these will tide you over and give you some solid, practical little things you can implement right away.
So, how can you supercharge kibble to use as a training reward? I’ll show you how to do it fast and easily in today’s Simpawtico Power Tip!
USE KIBBLE FOR TRAINING
I have mentioned several times on this channel that I recommend using kibble as a training reward. Many canine nutritionists recommend that treats should only makeup about 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. So, using kibble makes a lot of sense, since it’s more nutritionally balanced and you can use a lot of it without adding too much extra to their diet. In fact, I’d measure out your dog’s normal ration of food for the day, and take any training treats you use out of that. Whatever’s left, if any, is for meal time.
Some dogs aren’t really that motivated by kibble. One way you can fix that is through routine, timed feedings, as I’ve mentioned before. This makes food more valuable to your dog. Another way we can approach it is by kicking up the intrinsic value of the kibble by dusting it with liver powder, which I’m going to show you how to make.
ENTER: LIVER TREATS
These are beef liver treats by Stewart Pro Treats. I’ve mentioned these before too, specifically in the reward scaling article. They’re great as a jackpot and can be used effectively for proofing behaviors by rewarding the most prompt and precise responses. They’re fantastic for luring with difficult new behaviors, and they’re amazing for classical conditioning with stressed out or reactive dogs.
I just bought a cheap coffee grinder at WalMart. You could also use a small food processor if you have one, and this may work better since you can wash it out and use it for other things. You’ll never probably be able to clean a coffee grinder well enough to not have liver-flavored coffee later on, so once it’s a liver grinder, it’s probably always going to be a liver grinder.
So, put a handful of liver treats into the coffee grinder, and go to town on it.
Here, I’ll throw a cup of kibble into a baggie, sprinkle some of the powder into the bag, and shake it up!
Now, you’ve essentially got some super-kibble to use for training. Most dogs will think this food’s laced with crack!
PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE
So let’s see an example of how you could use this. This is just one cup of food, which is one meal for a small dog. If you’re using a schedule with two feedings that’s two cups per day. This one bag would allow you to practice throughout an entire day, and then you just use 1/2 cup in each feeding. OR, do 1 cup for breakfast, then use up the whole second cup through training for dinner. BOOM. Same amount of food throughout the day, but now you’ve knocked out a ton of practice! A few training treats and jackpots on top of that and you’re doing great. Obviously, you’ll have to adjust the amounts and timing to fit YOUR dog and your needs.
Speaking of meals, you could also use this liver powder to sprinkle on it. If you’ve got a dog that’s finicky, or has a suppressed appetite due to stress or health reasons, this will make their regular food more appetizing. This is a great one for newly adopted dogs who may be a little nervous about their first meals in their new home. Nothing makes you feel better than a full tummy!
I also like to store the extra in a little container. Then, I can use it however I need. Two handfuls worth will last a long time!
All right I hope this was helpful for you and gets you thinking more strategically about using food to train. Let me know how it goes in the comments and if you haven’t already, hit that subscribe button so you never miss any of our videos. Don’t forget to check that YouTube description for notes and resources and as always, keep learning, keep practicing, and we’ll see you next time! Thanks for looking!
Stewart Pro Treats; there are several different varieties—beef, chicken and lamb—and several sizes
If you’re a one-stop shopper (like me) then here are some quick links to the appliances you’ll need if you don’t have them already.
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