Monday, December 1, 2014

The Best Treat Bag! Dog Training

Happy December everyone! Today I'm joining Dachshund Nola, Cascadian Nomads and Tenacious Little Terrier for the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop! This months theme is "Rewards" but they welcome any positive reinforcement posts. 

As a Reward-Based trainer, I like to have treats on me most of the time. I prefer being able to reward my dogs whenever I need to and the possibilities for training situations are endless because I take them to lots of places. (One day, we found a random set of dog agility equipment at a park!!) Using treats is the easiest and most convenient way to do that.

My dogs prefer food rewards for the most part, although Phoenix will work for toys or play and I'm working on Zoe to get her toy drive up. I also use "life" rewards (the Premack Principle), where the dog gets to do what they want after doing something for me (in example: sitting politely at the door makes the door open and out we go, etc).

 This awesome infographic popped up in my fb feed recently. 
It's perfect for describing "Life Rewards"
Anything the dog likes can be used as a reward.

I prefer using real meat or cheese (though we occasionally do use commercial treats) and I don't like storing treats in my pockets. 

Having a good treat (or bait) bag is really important to me. I've tried quite a few different bags and pouches over the years, some of them worked and some of them didn't. I want to be able to easily access the rewards and not have to fight with the bag to get to them. Rewarding the dog quickly is important. I like to have different kinds of treats on me, so the roomier the better. I also like my bag to stay on me and if it does fall off the treats should stay inside.

The best treat bag I've found so far is the Doggone Good Rapid Rewards Pouch. I found out about this bag from one of my favorite Reward-Based trainers, Emily Larlham. If you have not heard of Emily, I highly recommend checking her out. She has free dog training tutorials on youtube and she's really awesome. 

 I actually own two of these. I have a blue one and a purple one.
They come in four colors: Black, Blue, Purple & Red.

I really like that you can either clip this to your pants, or thread a belt through it. The clip is pretty good, though I've had it fall off before (the treats didn't fall out!!!), threading a belt through it is the most secure way of keeping it on.

  The bag's main compartment has a magnetic closure and is pretty roomy. I can put at least two sandwich bags full of treats in there. I store my highest value treats in the "jackpot pocket". The jackpot pocket is a velcro closure. I also find that the side pockets come in handy and I do use the one side for poop bags and the other usually holds my clicker. I don't really use the D rings but I like that they are there. There's also a pocket on the very front of the bag that also has a velcro closure and I usually store my whistle there. On the very back of the bag is a zipper closure and I've been known to carry my cell phone or ID in there and whatnot when I don't feel like carrying my purse. 

I have machine washed and dried these bags a bunch of times and they've come through just fine.

This is a really old video of me working with Zoe at the beach and using my Rapid Rewards Pouch.

As a side note, I do know that some trainers are vehemently against treat bags because they believe that the dog becomes dependent on the bag being there to get behaviors or for the dog to listen to them. I have not found this to be the case with my dogs. I use a variable schedule of reinforcement and I can take my bag off and hang it somewhere and my dogs still listen to me. I don't use my bag all the time and I never use it when I'm training at home. It's mostly used to hold treats when we are out and about.

ZoePhee is not affiliated with Doggone Good in any way. I purchased these bags myself and I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers. 

Do you have a favorite treat bag? Comment below! :)


  1. Love this post - that treat bag looks great. I'm going to join in this one as well!

  2. Thanks for posting about treat bags for the rewards hop, Lauren. I had a brief thought to do that too. A lot of classes and workshops I attend are taught by instructors who are very opposed to treat bags because of the dependency you mentioned. I have also not experienced my dogs caring whether I have the bag or not. But because of the conditioning if my instructors (I am a well trained trainer!) no longer use bags in formal training sessions. Out in the real world is an entirely different story though! I also try to always have treats with me (part of life with a reactive dog as well) and a good bag makes all the difference in how much and what kinds of treats you can carry. And I totally live that graphic! Hits the positive reinforcement training rewards nail on the head! :)

  3. I've heard that too. My personal reason for not using bait bags more is I don't like how they look lol. Especially with skirts and dresses. I use one for Mr. N's therapy sessions though.

  4. That looks like a great treat bag! Mine sucks, lol. I've actually yet to have one of my dogs get fixated on treat bags, since I work strongly on rewards coming from eye contact, and not bags or hands.

  5. Positive training is definitely the way to go! Love the treat bag!!
    ღ husky hugz ღ frum our pack at Love is being owned by a husky!

  6. Cool bag. We do have an issue with using bags, say at a show because the dogs will watch We also have to change pockets, again because they will watch the pocket. But it can also work because I do find that if they are not listening and I put a hand in my pocket, they will suddenly pay me full attention. There are way to outwit them. Nice video.

  7. That looks like a great treat pouch! I love that it has extra pockets for poop bags, clickers, etc.


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