Training horses with food rewards is still relatively new for me, but I have been so impressed with the results that I am getting and the improved attitudes in my horses that I know I will only be looking for more ways to incorporate treats and positive reinforcement into my training.
One of the essential tools for training with treats is something to carry the treats in. Pockets may work fine in cooler weather when we are wearing jackets, but they don’t work so well when we don’t have any pockets. Fortunately, an easy solution is simply to use a treat pouch. There are many types of treat pouches available. I started off with one that had a very simple design – just one compartment with a magnetic closure. It worked fine for a while but I really needed one that was larger and had a few more “options.”
The Petsafe Treat Pouch has, in my opinion, everything you need in a treat holder. It is the perfect size – holding plenty of food for a training session but not so large that it is too bulky. It comes with a belt but also has a belt clip so you can choose how you want to attach it. It also has two compartments – the main food compartment, plus an outside Velcro pouch perfect for holding a clicker. One of the best features of the Petsafe pouch is that it has a metal hinge opening that snaps open and shut. So when it is open you can easily put your hand in to get the food, or you can snap it shut and not have to worry about anything spilling out. Truly a perfect solution for carrying treats!
This pouch is now one of the tools that I use every single day – and they are very inexpensive on Amazon. See the link below to get one of your own! By the way – this pouch is also perfect for training other animals too – because of the two compartments I can carry treats for my dog as well as grain or carrots for the horses (or the goat!).
What treats do you recommend to use? I have seen clicker/treat training and there tends to be a lot of rewards! Do you have to watch for treats with too much sugar, balanced nutrients, etc?
I have tried several different types – I used to use the ones by Manna Pro, but when you are introducing a new behavior you do end up going through a lot of treats, so now I use either small bits of carrot or I use my horse’s grain and feed small handfuls of that.
I also use really small hunks of carrots, apple, and peppermint lifesavers. They come in a big bad individually wrapped, not very expensive. I keep all the pieces small to limit the sugar. I buy the little baby carrots in a big bag and just stick a bunch in my pocket. I plan to buy the bag Callie mentioned.
I am so excited that you promote and use treats. I do this with my Arabian and the results have been phenomenal. It is especially effective to get him used to scary objects…he will cross a plastic tarp with ease and learned quickly once he knew he’d get a hunk of apple. He has really learned the concept of it being my turn to do what I want , and he gets a turn at what he wants. I use baby carrots, apple pieces, and his all time favorite, peppermint lifesavers. I have trained him to come to me when I say “here” and he gets a treat. This is my safety tool if he happens to jump and get loose, he always comes to me. After a good ride his really fave thing is just to eat some good grass. Thank you so much for promoting this and I will definitely get the bag. I love all your information. Thank you for doing this.
Thanks for watching!
Hi Callie! Is this the pouch you still use? Do you feel like it’s big enough to hold treats for an entire training session?
Sarah, yes I still use this pouch! It does hold enough treats for a typical clicker training session, occasionally if I am using the horse’s grain as the reward it will run out during longer sessions but having a bucket of grain to use as refill close by works very well and it can give your horse a break from the training!