Treat Selection, Introduction to Nose Work

Treat Selection, Introduction to Nose Work

So you’ve signed up for an Introduction to Nose Work class. You want to be prepared, and you want your dog to have a great time and learn new things. Secretly, you also hope your dog will shine and impress your classmates. Don’t worry, we want your dog to shine too!

So, what treats will create the most fun and the best performance?

What makes a good treat for Introduction to Nose Work?

They need to be tasty. Your dog should go gaga over your choice.  Our dogs can surprise us with their preferences. We’ve seen many dogs decide that what we think is ultra-yummy is just not more enticing than the environment. Watch your dog, try something new if she doesn’t seem motivated, and keep an open mind.

Don’t expect your dog to search for kibble. Even if it works well at home, it’s a whole different story out in the big wide exciting world.

They need to be the right size. The right size for what, you might ask.

The treats must be big enough to make handling easy for the humans. Treats that are too small slip through our fingers and get lost in the boxes. Treats should be no smaller than a Zuke’s Mini.

Treats must be small enough for the dog to eat fairly quickly, and also small enough that the dog doesn’t fill up after the first find. This may vary based on the size and eating habits of each dog. As a general rule, treats should be no bigger than a Zuke’s Hip Action square.

Do treats need to come ready-made in that size? No, if you’re willing to do a little slicing or chopping or tearing before class.

They need to have good integrity. No, that doesn’t mean the treats must be honest and refrain from cheating on taxes or embezzling money. Nose Work treats should hold together, and not crumble or melt or fall apart. If you need to clean up after your dog enjoys the treat, it may be a fantastic reward, but it makes a poor Nose Work choice.

They need to reek. Even though our dogs’ noses are a gazillion times better than ours, stinky treats are much easier to search for, and more rewarding as well. Moist treats tend to have more odor than dried treats, but this isn’t always true. The best Intro to Nose Work treats have a strongest aroma.

They shouldn’t be too slimy. The slime factor matters to you, not your dog. Everyone has a personal tolerance for the slime factor. You know yours. Enough said.

Treat Selection, Introduction to Nose Work
Size comparison: Zuke’s mini treats on top, Hip Action on bottom.

What are some suggestions for good Nose Work Treats? Can you make your own? We have a blog post with some specific suggestions for you.

Copyright 2015 by Linda V Fletcher