*Straight off the bat, we apologize for the sentence ambiguity. To clarify: we’re discussing seven favorable features of a dog treat bag itself, not seven treats that should be in a dog treat bag.
When shopping for a new (or Doggy’s First) treat bag, it can be difficult to decide which type is best. There are many different varieties available on the market. If you’re feeling stuck, keep your eyes peeled for these seven characteristics. Think of this as a seeing-eye dog to help guide your shopping decisions.
Size: it matters
Size doesn’t always matter, but in this case, it does. For longer training sessions, you’ll need ample treats: not a sample of treats. If your dog is still forging associations between their behaviour and the treats, how will they know what can stay and what can go? This confusion will follow if you run out of treats too soon.
A cross-body option. Image: Stylish Hound
When selecting a size, exercise common sense. Go too large and the bag will be bulky and inconvenient to lug throughout walking and training. Go too small and you won’t have anything much at all. (Remember, this is not an impractical Louis Vuitton bag.) Choose something in accordance with the duration of your typical training session and the number of dogs you’ll be training. Something at least 15 centimeters high and 10 centimeters thick should do the trick (unless your dog does the trick first!).
Go handsfree or go home
When it comes to dog treat bags, handsfree is the way to go. Throughout training, you should usually have one hand holding a treat at all times. This is to ensure a minimal time delay between positive behaviors and distributing the rewards. The briefer the delay, the stronger the reinforcement will be!
Who said bum bags couldn’t be stylish?! Image: Stylish Hound
The downside of this is that at least one hand will be occupied at all times. Humans are not octopi, so they will need all the free hands they can get to juggle the dog accessories inherent to training. Choose a dog treat bag with a belt clip—preferably a robust carabiner. Not a fan of bum bags? There are also cross-body variants available. Pro-tip, though: these bags won’t hold as firmly, or be as immediately within reach. This is not a Louis Vuitton bag, after all. What has a stronger grip on you: practicality or personal appearance? In the long run, either will work.
(Ideally machine) washable
You want a washable dog treat bag—and preferably one you can pop in the washing machine. A dog’s favorite treats are smelly and often messy. You’ll be filling this bag with runny meats, stinky fish, and squishable cheeses. These are those mooshy bananas you left in your school bag as a kid. Need we say more?
Is this actually a word? Look that up if you feel the need. You know what we mean, though. When you leave the house, you’ll also need to bring your phone, wallet, keys, and poop bags. Your phone and keys are among the most bacteria-ridden items as it is. Do you really want them mingling with stinky meats ‘n’ treats? Imagine cleaning that out from your keys.
The ideal dog treat bag will have separate pockets for all the separate sections of your life beyond your front door. We’re thankful such bags exist.
A dog treat bag is an investment, so we advise you to choose quality over affordability. Go with a cheaper model and you may be replacing it more often. That’s no good for the earth and, ultimately, your wallet.
Image: Stylish Hound
Choose a bag that can take a little exposure to the elements. Go forth and brave the mountains or the forests minus the fear of your bag breaking. Should you drop your bag, at least you won’t fear for your phone. A durable bag that protects all your items is the best way to go.
Weatherproof and waterproof are not the same. If your bag is waterproof, more power to you, but if it’s at least water-resistant, you’ll have no issues. This ties in with the above point, but you’ll want something resilient against the elements. This will ensure your treats and valuables will not be compromised!
To reiterate one of the above points: you want something easily accessible. The great thing about bum bags is the treats will be immediately in front of you. Small intervals between behaviour and rewards make for stronger operant conditioning. Grab something quickly accessible that closes securely and just as fast. You wouldn’t want your treats to go flying!
So there you have it
These are seven things to look for in a dog treat bag—and, as you can see, they are not things to pack inside the bag itself. After all, bags can have more in them than other items. They have their own good qualities inside, too. We hope you can find one to your liking that meets these criteria. To successful dog training and beyond!