Rewarding your dog with food treats for good behavior is a fun and effective way to train.
Feeding a variety of treats during training, will help to keep your dog from getting bored. It's also helpful to have some lower value treats (like kibble) along with some really valuable treats (like fresh meat) available so that you can reward so-so responses with the so-so treat and great responses with the great treats.
The best dog training treats are irresistibly yummy, easy to break (or small: pea-sized), easy to carry (not greasy or crumbly) and healthy. For puppies and for dogs with sensitive stomachs it is best to stick to treats with simple ingredients that are easy to digest such as low fat meats (chicken, etc).
Don't forget to feed your dog less of his or her regular food when you feed treats and check out our other tips on healthy treating.
Some treat choices are described below:
Using Your Dog's Regular Food as Treats. This is great for puppies, for dogs on a diet and really for all dogs!
"People Foods" Make Great Dog Treats: People food makes some of the best dog treats! Dogs love it, it's convenient and healthy.
Store Bought Treats: When purchasing manufactured treats look for treats that are made of high quality ingredients (human-grade/organic) and made in small batches if possible. Look for healthy ingredients like meat, cheese, eggs, nuts, etc and avoid ingredients that you can't pronounce as well as corn and wheat.
Homemade Dog Training Treats: A great way to save money on treats and keep your dog happy to perform.
Tuna Brownies (Adapted from DogAware.com):
Mash tuna and water in a bowl with a fork to get clumps out, then liquefy in blender or food processor. Add extra drops of water if needed to liquefy completely. Pour into bowl and add flour and mix. The consistency should be like cake mix. Spread into greased or sprayed pan; I find that a round pizza pan or square cake pan is perfect. Sprinkle with LOTS of parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes; edges will pull away and texture will be like putty. Use a pizza cutter and slice into teeny squares. These freeze beautifully, and the dogs love them...and, no liver to mess with!
Turkey Treats (Adapted from DogAware.com):
Mix all ingredients together using hands and pat into a greased loaf pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. Cool *thoroughly*, then cut into thick strips (these do not hold together when slicing into small squares); freeze unused portions and keep the portions you're using refrigerated. Has the consistency of meatloaf.
Happy treating and training! Let us know in the comments below if you have any other treat ideas to share. If you liked this article, I hope you will consider becoming a customer or sharing it with a friend!
~ Jess, Owner and Dog Trainer
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