Dog Treats for Training

Dog lovers everywhere know the ongoing drama of training their pups, whether they are a full grown rescue dog or a brand new puppy. From potty training to keeping your dog from jumping on visitors, it is a constant challenge that requires a large degree of patience. Research suggests that using dog treats for training will help encourage and reinforce consistent positive behavior. Food is and always will be a dog's strongest, most basic craving regardless of how much they love treats for training - man training his dog in the park


Which dog treats are best for training?

There are so many varieties on the market that it may be difficult to determine which product is going to be the most effective in the training process. Ideally, you want the treats to taste so good that there is no hesitation on your dogs part during training. There is nothing worse than trying to teach your dog to behave when they are not motivated by the incentive. You also want to be sure they are extremely healthy and not basic junk food for pets. You definitely don't want the treat to make them sick, which opens up a whole new level of bad experiences for both you and your dog.

What ingredients should always be included in healthy dog training treats?

First things first, good nutrition is a must, and dog treats should be made with wholesome, completely natural ingredients. If you are leaning toward the whole dog holistic approach then you should consider using only natural products which are sourced from a reputable company. This would include meats that are not processed excessively or that contain additives such as hormones or antibiotics which are found in some chicken and beef. They must also be free from added sugar or salt and preferably Gluten free. One other thing to look for is the non-GMO label. Nature provides clean natural meat and vegetables without needing to be genetically modified. Always keep in mind what dogs in the wild would eat and you won’t go wrong.

What ingredients should never be in the healthy treats for my dog?

As mentioned in the previous paragraph, these products are not considered completely healthy for dogs, and should not be in their training treats.

  • Soy-Many companies use soy as a filler because it is cheaper than meat for protein, but it has less benefit to your dogs health and sometimes causes allergies.
  • Salt-When used in excess, salt can cause certain disturbing health problems for your dog. These include increased heart rate and water intake and even messes with the hemoglobin in the blood. Salt can be listed as iodized salt, sea salt or possibly sodium chloride.
  • Sugar-Added sugar in dog treats is also unhealthy as it causes a variety of health issues such as obesity, tooth decay, hypoglycemia, arthritis and allergies. It has also been linked to cataracts. You will find it listed as caramel, sucrose or corn syrup in the ingredients.
  • Dairy-Some dogs show an increased sensitivity to dairy products so it might be something to think about when purchasing dog treats.
  • Corn-This is another additive that is meant to replace meat, but it is inefficient for supplying protein and dogs may experience muscle loss when eating treats with corn instead of natural meats.

Store bought versus homemade-which dog treat is more nutritious?

Purchasing treats from your local store might seem like a good idea, but there is always the pressing question of if they are healthy for your dog. Treats straight off of the shelf are usually treated with additives that keep them from deteriorating during transit. Sometimes they are shipped in from far away and contain unhealthy ingredients such as artificial preservatives like BHA and BHT.

Sodium nitrate is also used to maintain an appealing color and preserve the food during transit. Color is simply added for aesthetic reasons, essentially to make us like the way it looks, and giving the illusion of being fresh, wholesome and healthy.

Finally, any dog treat with propylene glycol should be avoided. This is what is considered a chemical humectant that is added to also preserve the color but it’s specifically designed to keep the treat chewy and moist, although there are other more natural humectants like molasses which could be used. Regardless, there is a good chance that propylene glycol in dog treats is made from a petrochemical and it is absolutely not healthy for your dogs stomach or overall health.

Although your neighborhood store may offer a plethora of somewhat affordable dog treat varieties that may come in large or small quantities, can you be sure that the ingredients are safe for your dog? Are you confident that they offer complete nutrition?

On a final note, many countries in the world do not have a regulatory branch of the government to monitor the various ingredients and additives used in pet food. The United States does and it is tasked with making certain our pet foods are safe. With that being said, pet food products from other countries may have ingredients that do not meet the level of standards that you have come to expect. It is wise to thoroughly research the ingredients in your pet’s food and treats.

What are the advantages of making my dog treats at home?

Homemade soft dog training treats fit the criteria for optimal health when compared to treats purchased from the store. You will know exactly what ingredients are going into the treat and the cost is based on what products you use. Unfortunately, learning how to make dog treats for training is a process that requires time and most people do not have the time needed to prepare them.

Basically, it just comes down to what you are able to do for your dog. Not everyone has access to extra time or money and both of these have a hand in determining whether you will be able to produce your own treats. You can always find a dog training treats recipe either at the library or online and you could easily learn how to make homemade soft dog treats for training your pup, but you don't really have to. If you're short on time, you can easily get great homemade dog training treats online which fill the need and eliminate the demand of your time.

Will my dog treat provide extra nutrition?

A healthy, natural based dog treat should include vital ingredients for your dog's overall well being. Proteins from meats such as beef, turkey, lamb, pork and chicken offer a complete package of support for the cells involved with maintaining good health. It can also be found in cereals, vegetables and soy products, but they are not complete and don't offer the most cellular advantage.

Fats provide energy and are essential in cell structure and processing of some vitamins as well as insulating the internal organs from outside trauma. A lack of fats can lead to skin conditions or stunted growth.

Carbohydrates contribute to reproduction, intestinal health and energy levels. Fibers are included in this category because they help maintain the health of the bacteria in the intestine. Fermented fiber, such as beet pulp provide the most support although bran fibers like corn, rice and wheat can help too.

Vitamins support the dogs metabolism. Minerals contribute to bone and teeth structure. All of these ingredients should be contained in basically what are good dog treats for training.

How can you tell if what you have are good dog treats for training?

girl with a dog in a forest - dog treats for trainingIdeally, your dog should absolutely crave their training treat which in turn will encourage good behavior. It should also motivate your dog to have great responses and stimulate the memory during training. Your pup should be eager to participate and try hard to please you. Flavors like chicken, turkey, beef and pork will always be desirable treats for your dog, but there are so many other tastes that you can introduce them to such as organic sweet potatoes, pumpkin and even some fruits like banana, blueberries and cranberries. Tasty treats may also include various seeds which are healthy and taste good to dogs when mixed in with a biscuit. These can include chia seeds, flaxseeds and hemp seeds. They all help with digestion, energy and optimal health. When you finally decide what kind of dog treats for training you intend to use, you’ll want to make sure they include all of these nutrition boosts.

Should treats be used for my puppy training?

Puppies...they are so adorable, and yet so exhausting. They chew on anything they can get their teeth into, use the bathroom anywhere the urge takes them, whine or cry for constant love and adoration, get into things they shouldn't and how about just eating everything. They are pure exasperation! With their incessant desire to chew and eat, you should definitely use dog treats for training puppies. This will help to cement lessons into their young brains. Positive reinforcement is vital, the earlier the better.

A puppy's attention span last around 5-10 minutes so prolonged training sessions may be overwhelming and counterproductive. Your puppy needs to know what the end goal is, what behavior you are expecting from him. Reinforcing with treats is usually the best plan. You'll also want to use small dog treats for training because their mouths are still growing and hopefully they will eliminate the chance of choking. Puppies have a tendency to gobble up their food quickly so you'll need to teach them to take their treat gently to save the fingers.


Is it effective to perform dog training without treats?

If you look at wolves and coyotes in the wild, you'll find that their most pressing need and desire is to eat. From the time they wake up until they lie down to sleep they are constantly searching for food. This trait has carried on genetically into the domesticated dog. According to research, food is the one big motivator that will encourage your dog to listen and behave and good dog training treats will help make that happen. But there are two other positive reinforcement styles of rewarding good behavior: petting with positive praise or rewarding with a well-loved toy.


You can use affection as a training tool.

Offering affection as a means of encouragement will work but mostly after the groundwork has been laid. This type of training builds a strong bond and creates a deep desire in your dog to please you. You are the alpha in their pack family and it usually makes them happy to make you happy.In the long run, this will be your dogs ultimate reward but it takes time and the building of trust, all facets of long term training.

Training with a favorite toy is one method that has seen success.

A well loved toy brings immense pleasure to your dog and encourages them to do what you require in order to receive their reward (their squeaky chew toy). The joy they experience is almost as strong as when they receive affection. Again, this type of training works best after their behavior is somewhat controlled.

Some toys that are used during training might include a ball, a furry toy that makes noise or a tug-of-war rope. Dogs will sometimes become attached to a specific toy from puppyhood which makes it even easier to encourage and reward good behavior.

Are there other methods available for training my dog?

Some trainers espouse the effectiveness of shock collars, prong collars, leash pulling and other punishment methods of training, but research suggests that these actions can cause suppressed aggression and are likely to create more problems with the dog than previously indicated.

The shock collar delivers a jolt of electricity to get the dogs attention and is sometimes used to keep dogs from roaming outside of their yards.

Prong collars are supposed to poke the dog gently in the neck during training to get their attention.

Leash pulling is basically tugging on the leash to try to deter the dog from doing what is bad, get his attention and make him listen.

Besides the fact that this type of training causes pain, anxiety, confusion and fear, ultimately they are not as effective as positive reinforcement. Some would say they are also immoral as dogs are sentient beings and deserve to be treated as such. There are many views about these types of training styles, but ultimately it is the dog owner’s choice.

In the long run, dog training treats are the most effective means of training, especially during the early sessions. It fulfills the desire for food and alternately satisfies their need to please you. Many dog trainers would agree.

Why do I need a dog training treat bag?

During dog training, it is essential to have an easily accessible means of getting to the dog treats for reward. This is where a treat bag or dog training treat pouch come in extremely handy. A dog only pays attention for a certain amount of time. They will lose interest and not retain the training message unless quickly rewarded. Although pockets can be an alternate means of carrying treats, this can get messy and might require the need for constant filling. Plus, your dog will be constantly investigating your pockets to see if there might be some goodies left in there.

What to look for when choosing your treat bag?

Here are a few qualities that are important when you are looking for the best dog training treat bag:

  • It must either have an easily removable liner for cleaning or be totally machine washable
  • A shoulder strap is important in case you need to wear a jacket and can put it on the outside
  • Should have many compartments for your phone and keys, as well as anything else you need to carry with you
  • Designed to hold your training clicker and cleanup bags
  • A magnetic closure will help discourage your dog from sticking his or her nose in there for an added treat
  • A waterproof lining will help tremendously when training with sticky, gooey treats
  • Must be affordable-you will need more than one

During the course of training, you will really need to have 2 or 3 treat bags to rotate. That way if one is in the washer, you will still have one to use and a backup treat bag in your car for those trips to the dog park. Just make sure you put good training treats for dogs in every pocket and you will be all set to continue your dog’s training, wherever you are.

I have a dog who is on a special diet, which treats should I use?

Sometimes dogs have specific issues that limit their dietary choices, such as allergies or maybe advanced age. This should not limit your choices in finding healthy dog treats for training or reward. There are many varieties of nutritious treats that are made specifically for dogs with health problems. Obviously, you'll want to consult your veterinarian before using, but a natural based treat could very well fit the bill.

Possibly, your dog is a picky eater. This can be a challenge, but again, the best dog training treats will be derived from nature, full of nutrients and should be able to satisfy even the most particular appetite. The introduction of fruits and vegetables or mint might compel even the most difficult eater to step outside of their usual diet.

When you are deciding on what dog treats for training purposes you are going to use, you'll want to stick with a smaller sized biscuit. Successful training requires many instances of reward and it would not help to add unnecessary pounds to your dogs waistline, especially in older dogs or dogs who have been fixed. The ideal portion is basically bite sized.

Ultimately, training your beloved fur baby is going to take time, extreme patience and nerves of steel. Dogs can be hard-headed and stubborn at times and you will need all the intestinal fortitude you can muster. Some dogs train quickly but others may seem to take forever, and possibly never learn. The reward for you as the dog owner will be exponential though. In return for taking the time to bond and train your dog, you will have a friend for life and a protector who would die for you. Who could ask for more!

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