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  • Writer's pictureRenée at Bravo Dog

Best Dog Training Treats?

Everyone wants to know what are THE best dog training treats? Well, that's going to depend on a few factors! I spend a lot of money on training treats and have probably tried them all with my dogs and my client's dogs. We have so many options that are NOT hot dogs. But, remember if that's your dog's jam, use what they love! Just keep in mind how much you are using and nutritional content.


Tips:

  1. Your dog decides what they love, not you! Test different treats and foods to see how your dog responds

  2. Keep it interesting by changing what you use. Dogs get bored, just like we do!

  3. Offset extra calories by cutting back on the volume you feed for meals

  4. Make treats SMALL! They don't need to be big for them to be valuable

  5. Trail mix: this is a mixture of different treats in a ziploc bag you can put in your treat pouch!


Freeze-Dried Single Ingredient Treats

I really like to know that there are very few ingredients in the treats I am using. So many dogs have allergies and this makes things easier. Fillers and additives aren't healthy either!



"Human" Foods

Sometimes we have to really pull out the "big guns" in training and use something we wouldn't have thought of. Perhaps you are working on classical conditioning. Just note: use new and different foods, or foods that are rich or high in fat, sparingly!

  • Costco meatballs, cooked

  • Chicken breast or roasted whole chicken separated from any bones and shredded

  • Cheeses (sparingly!)

  • Steak or any cooked meat, cooked and chopped

  • Chicken nuggets/fingers chopped up

Low Calorie

We do need to watch calories and how much our dogs weigh, this is a health issue. If you are looking for training food ideas, check these out (your dog has to love them for them to be rewarding in a training setting)

  • Berries (blueberries are great to train with)

  • Chopped carrots or any vegetables

  • Cheerios

  • Any fruit that can be cut into small pieces (except grapes or anything else toxic)

  • Low calorie commercial treats



Allergies?

Some dogs can only stick to certain proteins. That's fine. Their kibble isn't going to be super effective for training especially if you are working on anything difficult or reactive behaviours.

  • Use a single ingredient treat that is the same as their kibble

  • Soak their food in the same protein broth as their food, blend and use in a squeeze tube




Squeeze Tubes

Silicone squeeze tubes can be filled with array of aromatic paste type foods that can keep your dog licking as you're doing something. It also can just be used as a reward for a specific task or when working on counter-conditioning.

  • Getting past triggers when you know training isn't an option in that environment

  • Duration; you need your dog to be eating something for longer than a few seconds when working on a training exercise

  • You need something stinky they don't always get as a high-end motivator


Ideas:

  • Canned cat or dog food

  • Canned tripe

  • Cream cheese

  • Liver paste



"My dog won't eat treats outside"

This is a problem. And likely it indicates that your dog's stress levels are too high to eat food. They also could be extremely excited or distracted. Typically when a client tells me this, we are needing to dig deeper into the "why". Working with a professional that can help you with this is so important!


I hope you found this helpful!


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