Dog training can be a daunting task. If you choose the right dog treats, it can aid in your efforts toward positive reinforcement and in training your pup. There are many dog treats on the market for you and your pup to choose from.
AT A GLANCE (SEE ON AMAZON):
- Best Overall: Wild Bites Soft-Moist Dog Treats by Blue Buffalo
- Runner Up: Blue Bits Training Dog Treats by Blue Buffalo
- Also Great: Low Calorie Training Treats by Fruitables Store
- Also Great: Crunchy Natural Biscuit Dog Treats by Nutro Store
- Also Great: Lil' Links Healthy Little Sausage Links by Zuke's Store
How to use Dog Treats in Training
Positive reinforcement is an effective strategy for dog training. This type of training is effective when you use treats and praise to reinforce the behaviors you hope to see from your pup. You can train for all types of behaviors, including barking, leash manners, tricks, and potty training.
When your dog exhibits the desired behavior, you immediately reward your pup with positive praise and a treat. Although it is possible to use only verbal praise for training, using treats often helps the process to be more effective faster.
You must reward your dog immediately with the treat after they do what you want. This helps send your pup a clear signal that this behavior is good.
When you first begin training, you will want to give your dog a treat each time. However, over time you can use treats more sparingly to encourage your dog to continue displaying desired behaviors.
Things to Consider when Buying Treats for Training
As you first begin to use treats in the training process, your dog will likely be eating several treats each day. If this is the case, you may want to adjust their daily food intake accordingly. You do not want your pup to gain too much weight from the training process.
Be aware that some dog treats have a lot of artificial ingredients that may not be healthy for your dog. Checking the ingredients list is one way to ensure that your pup is getting a shortlist of high ingredient treats.
The majority of dogs are food motivated and will likely respond to most treats. However, it will help keep your dog engaged in the process of using a variety of treats. This will help them always get excited when they know a treat will follow.
The Best Dog Treats for Training
Blue Buffalo carries two great options for small training treats. The first option is the Wild Bites dog training treats. These crunchy treats are made with high-quality ingredients, including chicken as the main protein source. These treats also contain Omega-3 and fatty acids that help promote a healthy coat for your pup.
If your dog prefers or requires a softer treat, Blue Buffalo also carries Blue Bits. These small, soft treats contain no filler ingredients. These treats come in a variety of meaty flavors that will pique your dog’s interest. If your puppy is young, these will likely be a favorite because they are easy to chew.
With only 3.5 calories per treat, Fruitables Skinny Minis are a great option to use when training your pup. These small treats come in several flavors and varieties, including soft and crunchy. Some popular flavors for your furry friend include bacon and chicken.
The Nutro Crunchy Treats are 100% natural with a large amount of flavor. These tiny treats are suitable for your dog of any age. The small size and low-calorie count make them ideal for training. These treats come in fruity flavors as well as meat flavors.
This Zuke's Lil' Links Healthy Little Sausage Links is another great option for small, delicious treats your pup will love. These treats have even unique flavors, such as this duck and apple recipe, to excite your dog. With a small size and soft texture, these yummy treats will work well in a training routine.
Other Types of Training Treats
Several household foods work well in training for your dog as well. These may be especially useful at the beginning of your training.
Human food treats often carry a strong smell to entice your pup to start engaging in the training process. As with any extra treats, be sure to monitor the amount of food your dog is taking in each day to ensure they are not overeating.
Eggs are one high-protein treat that your pup will love. This treat also provides your pup with essential nutrients such as vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, and folate. If you decide to treat your dog with an egg, be sure it is either boiled, scrambled, or poached. This type of treat may be difficult to carry for leash training but may work great for training within the house.
Cheese is another favorite of many dogs. Carrying small bits of cheese from a cheese stick or block is a small, yummy treat that may motivate a more reluctant pup at the start of training.
Homemade Dog Treats
In addition to store-bought and human food treats, you may even decide to make your dog treats. Many homemade dog treats do not have as long of a shelf life as store-bought treats. However, these treats may also be a good motivator at the start of training your pup.
Many of the recipes can be found by searching “DIY dog treats” on the internet. Many recipes, such as this one, feature items you likely have in your kitchen. These ingredients often include peanut butter, pumpkin, and eggs. Some recipes also feature items such as oats or bananas.
Where can I find Dog Training Treats?
Local pet stores such as PetsMart and Petco sell large varieties of dog treats. You can also choose from a large selection through online retailers such as Amazon.com or Chewy.com. Small training treats can also be found at most grocery stores and even some department stores and boutiques.
Using treats in the process of training your dog will help motivate your pup to work for the delicious reward. Most training treats are small in size and low in calories, so you can hand them out freely during training.
Be sure to try a variety of treats to see which ones your pup loves best. With all areas of training, remain patient and positive and enjoy the bonding experience with your pet.