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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all,

My girl Tuva is 18 months, and we are spending a lot of time training these days, to solidify heel and recall especially. This means we go through a large volume of treats. I give her a mixture of people foods like mild cheese, cooked meats (whatever is left over and non-marinated) and dog treats like Tricky Trainers or lamb lung. I have to rotate her treats on a regular basis, like every day, or she gets bored and won't work for them. I try to restrict to a cup of treats per day.

This all means she gets much less of her normal food than usual (Natural Balance Limited Ingredient, at the moment). Do I need to be concerned that she will become malnourished, and are there any vitamins or minerals I should be supplementing? I've tried using kibble as treats, and she just isn't interested no matter the brand.

Thanks!
-Ellen
 

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Try using a "deli roll" type food as treats. I know Natural Balance makes several. They can be fed as a stand alone diet, so you would have to worry less about deficiencies.
 

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The food rolls work great! I like the ones from Natural Balance. Fresh Pet is also a complete food that comes in a roll but it's kind of slimy.. and I don't like slimy.
They even make Natural Balance Limited Ingredient food rolls, so if you're concerned about food sensitivities it might be a really good choice of treat for you.

A couple of tricks to training with kibble is to cut up some hot dog and mix it in with the kibble to "flavor" it. Also soaking it in chicken broth or some other yummy liquid works pretty well.

Overall though I don't think you have much to worry about re: nutritional deficiencies as long as she's still getting a balanced ration of kibble, even if you do cut it back a bit to allow for treats. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys! I have tried the food rolls and she just doesn't seem to like them. I have taken to adding kibbles to my mixed bag of treats and just letting them soak up flavors. I vary treat value to keep her on her toes. She seems to listen better for low- or mid-value treats if she thinks the next treat might be a surprise bit of hot dog! You have set my mind at ease.
 

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You increase the treat value according to the behaviour... Like you wouldn't give a high value treat for a sit, if the dog already knows that cue... You would also want to fade the treats once the dog knows the behaviour...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You increase the treat value according to the behaviour... Like you wouldn't give a high value treat for a sit, if the dog already knows that cue... You would also want to fade the treats once the dog knows the behaviour...
The problem I have with her is, any treat (even real meat) becomes boring to her after 30 min. The best treats hold her interest for only a couple hours of of sporadic use (e.g. during distractions on walks) on the first day I present them to her, then have less staying power each time after that. So I have to use a blend and vary the most flavorful component. Surprise tends to work better for her than a single, high value flavor, so long as the mix is fun. For things she knows well, she gets the kibbles from the bottom of the bag with some treat flavor mixed in.

I've always been bad at figuring out *when* to fade out treats for really important commands. I'm really hesitant to do so with recalls in the park, for instance, even though she's pretty consistent. With trick sessions, she's treated 1/2 or 1/3 or the time. Maybe this is why she tends to get really good, then regress.
 
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