We always recommend using a treat bag when training with food. How do you choose which one when there are so many?
If you train your dog using food treats/rewards, whether clicker training or otherwise, we always recommend using a treat bag. Not only do they keep your pockets clean, they really help to minimise the distraction of using a rustling plastic bag (a nuisance in any training class), and signal to your dog that training is in session. With so many bags to choose from, which one is right for you? Here are some of the key points to look for:
Consider the length and regularity of your training sessions, and how many treats you may need to use. A bag that is too small will need to be constantly refilled, not ideal as it breaks concentration, and one that is too big can spread your treats too thinly making them difficult to grab in the bottom of the bag.
Bag Opening/Ease of Use
It is important to be able to get to the treats easily and in a timely manner, so think about how and where the treat bag will be used, and the kind of opening you might prefer. Bag openings include zips (such as the Training Lines Treat Bag, or Hip Bag Baggy Belt), drawstrings (Deluxe Baggy or Maxi Snack Bag), and ‘snap openers’ (Terry Ryan Treat Bag, Petsafe Treat Bag Sport, Dog Activity Goody Bag), and some may be more suitable for you in certain situations than others.
Drawstring bags will keep treats secure but if you need to move around or run during training they can be a little inconvenient. Snap opening bags are great for opening and closing quickly, but are usually larger.
Attaching the bag
Typically, treat bags have either a belt clip to attach to your clothing, or their own belt which you wrap around you or place over your shoulder, and some may have both, such as the Hurtta Motivation Pro Treat Bag. If you are likely to be training in, for example, a coat or long jacket, a belt clip may not be ideal unless you can clip it onto a convenient pocket. Belts are usually long enough to go around your outer clothing, but you should measure first to be sure.
For those ‘Lara Croft’ moments, the Dog Activity Hip Bag also has an additional leg strap for added stability.
In addition to carrying treats, many bags also have handy extra features. More pockets for example, or hooks/rings for holding your training accessories. If you are choosing a treat bag for the first time, these extras may not seem very important, but established trainers often choose a bag for these additional features and consider how they might enhance their training sessions.
For example, the 2 in 1 Baggy Snack Bag has a small outer pocket on one side, and a bag dispenser pocket on the other, the Petsafe Treat Bag Sport has a ‘pocket within a pocket’ feature, which allows you to separate high value treats easily, and the Maxi Snack Bag has a removable insert for easy cleaning.
However you dispense your training treats, there is a treat bag available that will make things easier. Our comparison table below shows some of our more popular bags, or you can see the full range on our Training and Behaviour page!
Example treat bags: