Training treats are essential components of dog training and play a pivotal role in strengthening the bond between trainer and student. Unfortunately, not all treat options offer equal value.
Low-value treats tend to be oven-baked hard biscuits that are dry and lack any discernible flavor, while higher value treats should be moist, flavorful treats that your dog wouldn’t encounter on an everyday basis outside of training sessions.
Cheese is a delightful treat that many dogs can’t resist and serves as an effective training reward. Additionally, cheese can also be used as an effective means of concealing pills (except antibiotics which bind with calcium content in dairy products and prevent absorption) without breaking your budget.
Cheese should be consumed responsibly as it contains fat that may contribute to weight gain and obesity in dogs. Furthermore, large doses can cause digestive upsets and pancreatitis.
When giving leaner training rewards to an over-weight or sensitive dog, such as chicken, ham or tuna instead of cheese for training rewards, consider talking to your veterinarian first regarding how much cheese can be given at once as too much salt can lead to dehydration or sodium toxicity in extreme cases. It’s wise to discuss with them just how much cheese your pet should receive as this type of treat should only make up 10% of a dog’s daily food intake.
Hot dogs are an excellent training treat that deliver both protein and other important nutrients like selenium. In addition, hot dogs make for an easy way to administer pills if your veterinarian approves. Their strong scent helps mask any unpleasant tastes associated with medication.
Low-quality hot dogs contain preservatives and ingredients that may harm a dog’s digestive system, including organ meat. These treats should only be fed to dogs who can handle such items safely.
Quality hot dogs will only contain minimal ingredients that are clearly listed on their package, making it easy for shoppers to identify them in the fridge section of your grocery store. When looking for hot dogs to give to your pup as treats, opt for leaner meat options like cooked chicken breasts as preservative-free options that won’t cause gas-based issues like bloat.
Baby food jars make convenient high value treats for dogs. Easy to access at almost any store and store away until needed, it makes giving directly from the jar an ideal way to deliver. Plus, its limited ingredient profile may make it suitable for sensitive dogs with dietary restrictions or special diet needs.
Shelf-stable dog toys like the Dog Trainer Ball make for ideal training sessions in parks or on road trips; just make sure that your pup doesn’t become over-reliant on it.
Recognizing your dog’s top high value treats can make training sessions simpler, reinforce new behaviors, and keep him focused in distracting environments. More importantly, these treats can strengthen the bond between yourself and your furry friend.
Cow organ meats – such as liver, heart and kidneys – contain many vital nutrients. Not only are they high in protein content, but also offer essential B vitamins, iron and zinc; plus natural taurine for heart health as well as various enzymes for pancreas and intestine function.
Freeze-dried livers, hearts and gizzards make an enjoyable treat or food topper for dogs. When selecting one with grass-fed beef as its primary ingredient, and read through its ingredient list to ensure no added preservatives or unnecessary additives exist.
Feeding freeze-dried foods as meal replacements or toppers can help your dog achieve a more balanced diet without all of the added fat found in kibble. Be mindful to select products made up of only one source of protein and avoid those containing starches as these could present health risks.