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Choosing the Right Treat for Your Dog

When it comes to enticing your furry friend to do anything for more than a friendly pat on the head in return, you’ll want to be equipped with the right treats. What is the best training reward for your dog? The truth is, that depends your dog! Don’t worry, they’ll gladly let you know what treats they love the most!

“I’m at the pet store, what treats should I buy?”

Before you rush off to the pet store for a bag of treats, there are a few things to take into consideration:

  1. Treat size
    • When training your dog, you want the reward to be a one-bite treat. You don’t want to be forced to wait while your dog sits and chews on the treat before you move on to the next part of your training. The treat should be small enough for your dog to eat in a 1-2 bites and then anxiously await your next command.
  2. Allergens
    • The treats that work on your friend’s dog, might not be safe for yours. Some dogs have sensitive stomachs or are allergic to wheat, corn, soy, dairy, and even certain meats. Be sure to check with your vet for treat recommendations if your dog has any known food allergies.
  3. Texture
    • Have you ever reached into your pocket for a dog treat and ended up with a crumbled mess? Yeah, we’ve done it too and it’s not pleasant. Look for treats that are firm but yet soft enough to leave an indention from your fingernail. Avoid hard, crunchy treats that take too long to chew or are hard on your dog’s teeth.
  4. Minimal Ingredients
    • Just like with processed human food, the less ingredients on the package the better! (Bonus if you understand all of the ingredients, too!). Freeze dried treats like chicken, salmon, or liver are great options when broken down into smaller pieces. Sometimes your dog’s favorite training rewards will come from your own kitchen rather than the pet store. Try a piece of carrot or green bean. If your vet hasn’t put your dog on a calorie-restricted diet, then opt for some pieces of string cheese. The most popular dog treat found in the kitchen? Cooked pieces of chicken! No artificial ingredients and your dog will absolutely love you for it!

“I’m all set for training! Now what?”

The best time to train your dog is on an empty stomach. Your dog that is, not you. A hungry dog is an eager dog! Have a couple treat options on hand; a handful of their dry kibble to reward for basic training moves they already know, and the “high value” treats like chicken, meat roll cubes, cheese, etc., for learning new or more difficult commands.

Lastly, have fun!! If you’re having fun, your dog will too. Try not to get frustrated if they’re not catching on to a new command. Move on to something else and remain positive and upbeat. Keep your training sessions short and end it after they’ve properly completed a command. This gives you the perfect opportunity to end your training on a high note by rewarding your dog with a high-value treat or their favorite toy. Keep your dog excited for training and you’ll BOTH look forward to your next training session together!

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