Dog treats are treats and just that.
Dog treats should be used to reinforcement positive behavior. Using a delicious dog treat rewards your dog for good behavior and is a little expression of love that your dog has done the right thing. It is a critical part of dog training.
In fact, treats can actually be anything that your dog goes cray for and will do anything to get from you. It may be a nice bouncy tennis ball or favourite toy. Mostly, however, it is a food treat. Many dogs are food focussed and let's face it who doesn't like a delicious treat.
Just like us though, we should give out dogs treats all the time. Treats are often packed with sugars, fats, salts and other ingredients that we should only have in small amounts
According to famous dog training, Cesar Milan, one of the reasons treats work so well in training, is because a dog’s sense of smell is so unbelievable. Dogs can smell a treat from over 20 yards away and can get a pretty good idea of the main ingredients.
How To Best Use Dog Treats
Cesar provides some great advice on how to use dog treats.
- Use treats to reinforce a calm, submissive state not to reward an excited, over-stimulated state of mind.
- Always let the dog smell the treat first, but hold it up away from her and wait. Your dog can smell from over 25 feet away so you don’t have to put the treat under their nose.
- Once the dog has the scent, they may jump around and get over excited. If so, indicate your disapproval by slowly moving back or to one side…and then wait.
- Patience as an owner will pay off in a well-behaved dog for a lifetime.
- After a while, your dog will probably begin to try to figure out what she needs to do to get the treat. She will lower begin to sit and wait in quiet anticipation with those bog puppy dog eyes
- At that precise moment of calm, give her the treat. Remember, don’t use treats to reinforce an excited dog, but rather to command the calm, submissive state.
When To Best Give Dog Treats
It is best to use dog treats in between meals. If you are using treats as a training tool, it is best not to train on a full stomach or your dog wont be as excited about food.
Set your training time and remember to not over train. If you dog get bored or dis-intersted in the training, it will be less effective. It is better to have 5 or 10 minutes of great training rather than half hour of training with your dog becoming bored and not following the training that you are giving.
Remember, dog treats are a form of reward or affection. Give your dog a treat at the right time and for the right reasons. Don't confuse your dog by randomly giving out treats.
Alway provide your dog with exercise and discipline before treats and affection. This will ensure you have a happy, healthy and well adjusted dog.
>> More information on aggressive chewers here
What Ingredients Make The Best Dog Treat
You may need to experiment here with what gets your dog really excited. Try to use a treat that is natural and healthy rather than a over processed treat full of nasty ingredients.
Dog can have allergies and intolerances to certain products and ingredients. You will need to trial you dog on some foods to see if you dog copes. Only give the ingredient in small amounts and watch for any changes in your dog.
As a general rule, dogs LOVE:
I use a natural peanut butter that is only made from crushed peanuts. Many brands have additional salts, fillers and preservative. Due to the sticky consistency peanut butter is often best made into a delicious biscuit to use as a treat.
Dogs love cheese. This is most probably because of the fats and proteins in cheese that send dogs wild. Don't over use cheese but rather save this for a extra special treat or more difficult training session.
You will see your dog circling the kitchen when you bring out an form of raw meat. Probably due to their canine instincts and their love of protein. The same can be said for most sandwich meats, organs and intestines, cartilage and offcuts. I can't say these are my favorite things but my dog definitely goes crazy. Supermarkets often sell frozen chicken necks or ask your butcher for chicken frame mince for dogs.
Fruit or vegetables
OK, so this might not get every dog jumping for joy, but some dogs will love a good crunchy fruit or veg. My dog loves carrots, capsicum, blueberries or apple. Others strangely enough love banana, broccoli and cauliflower. These are great treats for overweight dogs. A great hack to make the fruit and veg more attractive to your dog is to add a small amount of peanut butter. Fruit and veg can also be dehydrated to make them harder an chewier. Remember that the treat is concentrated so again, only use in small amounts.
It is often difficult to give your dogs frozen food, mushy paste and intestines during training sessions. For this reason we often alter these ingredients to make treat giving and training easier and a lot less messy. These ways include:
- Using these ingredients in baked cookies and treats
- Using Dehydrated ingredients like liver treats
- Pre-packaged treats from a good vet or pet store
What NOT To Have In Dog Treats
Even though dog treats are treats or training tools there are some ingredients that you should definitely avoid when making or buying dog treats. The best dog treats will not have:
Avoid Added Sugar
Just like for us, too much sugar is bad for our dogs. Not only will your dog put on weight added sugar can cause hypoglycemia, tooth decay, arthritis nervousness, cataracts, and allergies. Your dog doesn't need sugar and will usually get enough natural sugar in other ingredients.
Avoid Added Salt
Yes, we need salt in our diet, but just like us, excess salt can cause health issues, such as an increase in water intake, heart rate problems and restlessness.
Not so good for dogs. Soy is a common allergen in dogs and offers not great nutritional benefit rather it is often used as a filler.
Avoid Grain and Corn
These are often seen in dog food and treats and again offer little nutritional value. The are used as a filler for a cheaper product and can cause irritable bowel and muscle loss in dogs.
Watch Milk Products
Dairy products are another product that can cause intolerance and stomach sensitivities due to the lactose content of daily products. Milk will generally have high lactose content where as yoghurt and cheeses will have less. Many treats use yoghurt and cheese but as always monitor your dog the first time you give your dog these.
Why Choose The Best Dog Treats
Always choose the best dog treats to keep you dog as healthy and happy as possible. Treats can assist you to improve training and discipline through rewarding your dog for good behaviour.
Dog obesity is increasing and it is estimated that over 50% of dogs in the US are obese. We sometimes over-love our dogs with too many tasty and high fat treats. It is much kinder to keep our dogs healthy with low fat, natural snacks and treats.
The Best Dog Treats To Buy For Your Dog
It is not always easy to use the raw natural ingredients when training or treating your dog. For example when travelling or wanting to leave treats in the car for when you need them. A pre-packed options is always handy for some occasions. When choosing a packaged treat, always go for a natural healthy option.
1. Rocco & Roxie All Natural Liver Dog Treats
These Rocco and Roxie healthy and natural premium treats are never enhanced with artificial flavoring or fillers like corn, soy and gluten. They are naturally irresistible, like dogs
2. Fruitables Dog Treats - Pack of 5
Fruitable Dog Treats are calorie smart treats and have under 9 calories per treat. They come in a range of yummy flavours that will suit any fussy dog. They have no Wheat, Corn, Soy, By-Products, Artificial Ingredients or Preservatives.
3. Bravo Bonus Bites Freeze Dried
These delicious freeze-dried all natural grain-free bites will have your dog well trained for more. Made with pure New Zealand organ meat, you will struggle to find better than this rich source of essential vitamins and good nutrients
4. Honest Kitchen Fish Skin Chew Dog Treats
Beautifully presented and delicious Quickies Fish Skin Chews. They are high in protein, single ingredient treats have only 1.1 calories per treat. The are all natural with no by-products, preservatives or GMO ingredients and no ingredients out of China.
Your dog is relying on your to keep him healthy and happy, so do everything you can do and remember to love your dog with training, discipline and healthy treats.