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  • April Schrader, CPDT-KA

The BEST Dog Training Treats

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

Having the right treat for training can determine whether you have a good training session or a bad training session.

Your dog must LOVE the treat you are using enough to want to train for it. If your dog seems bored, walks away or lays down during sessions chances are they do not find the treat valuable enough.

Using treats for training allows us to reinforce behaviors quickly, however you must know how to pick the right treats. Think of treats as your dogs paycheck, if the pay is not good enough to your dog they will not be motivated to train.

You want to have a variety of low and high value treats as they play a role in different situations. A low value treat such as your dogs kibble may work great inside your home, however outside you will need a higher value treats such as Fresh pet, boiled chicken, or cheese.

How to Pick Treats

When picking treats for your dog remember this, your dog decides what is or is not reinforcing.

Think small...During a 3 minute training session your dog could consume around 30-40 treats. Treats should be no bigger than the size of a pea it is more about quality over quantity. Larger treats take longer to chew, which will take up precious time you could be reinforcing your dog. When we able to reward our dogs quickly and frequently we optimize learning.

Think soft, your dog should be able to consume the treats you are using quickly. Using crunchy treats will take your dog longer to chew, making it more difficult to teach new behaviors. This slows down your dogs learning because they are spending seconds chewing one treat. Seconds are important during clicker training, how often we reward our dog during a training session informs us as to whether or not the dog is learning the behavior.

and finally think smelly, lets face it dogs have millions of scent receptors and unlike us humans they prefer dirty, dead and disgusting. So when picking treats smelly ones typically are more appealing to them such as stinky cheeses, fish, or gamey meats such as lamb.

Treats we recommend:

Keep in mind your dogs health when picking treats, we recommend treats that are limited ingredient and do not have fillers such as corn, wheat, soy and rice. These items have little to no nutritional value and are not biologically appropriate for your dog. Dog owners and trainers today agree that health and nutrition play a major role in your dogs behavior. Some of the treats we recommend are:

  • Fresh pet- this is our favorite and our go to treat for training (you can find this in the refrigerator section in the dog food isle at most grocery stores)

  • Sundays for Dogs, it is a high quality air dried dog food. However it is so high quality dogs love it which makes it great for training, it is also really easy to break apart for training. Follow this link to receive 30% off your order

  • The real meat company

  • Pure-bites

  • Ziwi Peaks

  • Real meat such as chicken, steak, ham, lamb etc

  • String Cheese (any flavor)

Remember the trainee (your dog) is who decides what treats are rewarding and what treats are not rewarding. The most important thing is that your dog LOVES the treats that they are training for. This is their paycheck after all!!

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