string cheese, freeze dried liver, baked liver (requires a baggy, then stuffed in the pockets), baked chicken (again, the baggy comes first).
I personally tend to mix a little bit of everything together in a baggy and give them something different every bite. I usually add some kibble to the mix too. The other goodies coat the kibble with yumminess and make it higher value, and the dog isn't getting quite as much rich stuff on his tummy.
From what I've seen, high value is usually people food. Hotdogs, cheese (love string cheese!), chicken, steak, organ meat.
High value, pocket-friendly treats I think of string cheese kept in the wrapper, microwaved hot dog pieces so they are slightly dried out, and mini marshmallows but if you forget about them in your jean pocket for hours on a warm day you'll have a sticky mess.
I've also used carrots and sweet potatoes: when raw it isn't messy. Container of baby food offered after each click contains the mess but is a handful. A lick-it stick.
I clicker train with kibble until there is something really scary or difficult. Kibble and Charlee Bears stow away in every jacket I own -even after going through the washing machine =).
"high value" is usually meat- bits of chicken or beef or liver.
Lots of people use Zuke's minis, but from the reaction of most dogs I'd have to say these are only "moderate to low" value- plus they cost a fortune- at $14 a pound, you're far better off buying stewing beef, cooking it, and chopping it up.
Another popular option is the microwaved hotdog- cut a hotdog up into small bits, wrap in paper towels (to absorb the grease), and microwave for 3 to 5 minutes, let cool. They get hard and crunchy and don't require refrigeration. Look for uncured hotdogs, they are much healthier.
If you have a food dehydrator, this recipe produces high-value treats that are firm in the pocket but have a rubbery texture thus can be rapidly eaten:
mix 1 can pumpkin puree with 1 pound of ground meat (I usually use ground chicken, but you can use anything), add an egg and a packet of unflavored gelatin; mix well. Pour into jerky gun and extrude sticks. Put in food dehydrator- dry on high heat for 4 hours, then turn the heat to low and continue drying overnight. Cut the sticks up into short bits.
I hate using hot dog bits, they make my hands sticky! though the dogs like them.
My high reward treat for training is a bag of cat treats-Whisker Lickins or some sort of thing. They are small, the bag is resealable and the dogs go bonkers for them. I usually mix in a handful of dog/cat food also. They smell like the cat treat without all the calories ect.
I made dog crack last time I showed the puppy. It was TOO high value and she spent all her time trying to get into my pocket...but it would probably be great for clicker training:
Marinate cube steak in sugar water for a couple hours
Pat dry well
Season with just a touch of pepper and garlic powder
Fry up in a little bit of bacon fat to very well done
Drain on paper towels and use towels to press out as much grease as you can
Allow to cool
This was dry and not greasy enough to have in my nice, expensive slacks pocket without issue. A little bit of a workout to prepare, but DAMN did the dog go for it.
In my experience, it depends on your dog. Some dogs have "iron stomachs" and can use almost anything. Most dogs love hot dogs, and many people use cut up bits of hot dog or other meat to train. If your dog can handle it and you have leftover meat without onions or garlic in it, it should be okay to use as a training treat. If your dog is more sensitive, then definitely take that into account and try a few of a new type of treat to see how your dog reacts.
I have had good luck with the cheese. Cut up cheese cubes are nice, but they can be messy. The string cheese is usually a little bit neater to use than any other type of cheese. There are many brands of little training treats. They are expensive, but sometimes they are easier on a dog's stomach. I do buy training treats because of this, and then I mix in some bits of chicken or other meat. That way, the dog gets some really high value treats (the meat), but I don't have to worry so much about giving the dog too much of it and having digestive upset later. If you dog isn't prone to that issue, then I'd say you would be better off just using meat.
Does using items such as bologna or hot dogs make the dogs very thirsty?
I'm thinking that the processed meats while smelling and tasting great have a higher salt content than what the dogs are used to in their normal diet or compared to cooked chicken or meat?
No criticism, just curious as I need a "high value treat" for recall training with my new rescue but don't want her downing huge bowls of water when we get home and having to pee while I am out of the house.
I haven't noticed that in particular- I use ham for one of my dogs at agility trials, which has to be rather salty, and I reward her generously for good runs- but if you're doing A LOT of training, particularly with a smaller dog, you should certainly consider how healthy the treats you are using are, and also consider cutting back on the dog's regular diet.
Another option is that Freshpet food they sell out of refrigerator cases in some grocery stores- the cat food comes in little round, soft pellets that are perfect for training, and it's a high-quality balanced diet.
Most commercial dog treats have pretty icky, unhealthy ingredients, which is one reason why I like to make my own.