Dog training is one of the most difficult, yet important aspects of being a dog owner. The right dog training treats can help make this difficult process a little easier. After all, everyone wants a well-behaved dog. One that will obey your commands and not turn your house into its own personal bathroom. For many owners, discipline is one of the most important qualities to have in a dog. Yet it can be hard to turn a rambunctious, young puppy into a well mannered pooch, especially when you are training your puppy yourself. It is important to start as early as possible because, like children, dogs learn most during their earlier years of life. The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is ever so true, and anyone who has tried to train an old dog would likely agree. Sure it can be done, but the earlier the better when it comes to dog training.
If you are about to train your pup, you must make sure your pantry is stocked with dog training treats. Treats are essential when it comes to training any animal, especially an animal that is as food focused as a dog. The entire idea behind training and treats goes back to when man first domesticated animals. It is common knowledge that to get an animal to do something you want it to do, you have to give it an incentive by rewarding good behavior and actions with a treat of sorts. You repeat this step until the animal makes the connection between treats and good behavior. Repetition is key when training an animal. By being consistent and repetitive with your training, the animal is able to learn good behavior. Hence, you will go through a hefty number of dog training treats by the time your pup is well behaved and obeying your every command.
You want to make sure the dog training treats you select are rewarding your dog enough to make it worth the work. You want to find treats that are not only convenient, but that your dog loves. Part of this requires trial and error to see which treats your dog responds to best. Yet, part of it is also picking a quality, tasty dog training treat made of wholesome ingredients. In this article we will share with you how to pick the right dog training treat for your pup and also give you our top recommendations.
3 Things to Consider When Shopping for Dog Training Treats
Just like your own food, it is important to purchase quality food for your dog as well. We all know that what we put in our bodies has a large influence on our health, mood, and overall wellbeing. The same goes for your dog. It is important to know the dog training treats you feed your dog are not only delicious but will provide them with all the good nutrients they need while avoiding any unhealthy fillers and chemicals. Here is how to pick the best quality dog treat for your dog, as well as some other factors to keep in mind while buying treats for dog training.
The ingredients in the dog treats you choose are very important to pay attention to. It is important that the food you give your dog is full of wholesome ingredients and nutrients. Treats are no exception. Dogs are obviously animals, and their stomachs are designed to digest natural foods. There are certain ingredients that can upset their stomachs and prevent proper digestion and absorption of vital nutrients.
If you want to find the best quality treat for your dog, then do not shop based on price or eye-catching packaging. Actually take a look at the list of ingredients to ensure what those treats are made of are of the best quality. First of all, you want all ingredients, including sweeteners and preservatives, to be food based. Steer clear of any long, complicated ingredients you can not pronounce, let alone recognize. Look for natural sweeteners such as applesauce, molasses, or honey. These are better than artificial sweeteners.
Also look for whole ingredients, not just byproducts and leftovers. This is especially important if you are looking at treats that contain meat, because many treat manufacturers add animal byproducts instead of quality meat cuts. Avoid artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, ethoxyquin, and sodium nitrate. If you feel strongly about not having artificial preservatives in your pet’s treats, then avoid “chewy” treats that contain meat. Though they are quite tasty, they will definitely require preservatives to keep them fresh and edible.
Basically a good rule to go by is if you would not eat the ingredients in your dog’s treats, then neither should your dog. There are many quality dog training treats on the market with wholesome ingredients, you just have to pay attention to fine print.
2. Delicious Taste
Just like us humans, dogs also have flavors they like best. From chicken, to peanut butter, to beef flavors, each dog has their favorite. It will take some testing to see which treats suit your dogs fancy, but the more your dogs likes the treat, the more effective the training will be. But at the very least, use a dog treat that is more fun and flavorful than the kibble you feed your puppy as regular food. That way your dog can differentiate it easily, making it more special than regular food.
3. Size and Convenience
The size and convenience of the dog training treats you choose is obviously an important factor. You want to use a treat that is small. Since training is all about repetition, you will feed your dog treats over and over and over again. Hence, it is important to have small treats so that you do not overfeed your dog. You can either break up a bigger treat into smaller, bite-sized treats, or you can buy small treats. Of course, the number of dog training treats you feed your dog daily will depend on its size, but a good rule of thumb to go by is to have no more than ten percent of your dog’s diet consisting of treats.
Smaller treats are also easier for you to train with. They can fit in your pocketeasily and you can hold many of them in your hand at a time. So we would recommend leaning towards small, bite-sized treats when training your dog. Save the bones, chewy sticks, and large dog biscuits for another occasion.
Another consideration to make when it comes to convenience, and practicality, is the texture of the dog treat. You want a dry, solid dog treat when training. There are many chewy, mushy treats that, although taste delicious to dogs, are not a great choice when it comes time to train your pooch. They can easily be squashed in your pocket and often have a shorter shelf life than dry treats.
Avoid Table Scraps and Kibble
It is important to note that you should not use table scraps or regular kibble to train your dog. You want to reward your dog with something that it is not exposed to in other areas of its life. If you feed your dog kibble or table scraps often, then they are already familiar with it and they will not perceive it as special. It is important when training your dog to reward it with treats that are for the sole purpose of training and rewarding. That way they will associate treats only with good behavior, and in turn the treats will be more effective.
Our Favorite Dog Treats for Puppy Training
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for in a dog training treat, it is time to start shopping. Yet with hundreds of brands and options on the market, you may not know where to start looking. Fear not, we have complied a list of our favorite dog treats for training, keeping in mind the important qualities of a good dog treat: ingredients, convenience, and of course, taste. Here are our top seven recommendations for dog training treats.
Zuke's Mini Naturals Dog Treats are by far some of the best dog treats on the market and are great for training your dog. Firstly, these treats are made of wholesome, nutritious ingredients that are good for your dog’s body and health. They only contain the good stuff, including rice, barely, real chicken, and tapioca. These are hardy, natural ingredients. The chicken makes the treats taste delicious, which your dog is sure to thank you for, and the grains provide energy and sustenance. The benefits do not stop there. Zuke's Mini Naturals Dog Treats also contain turmeric, rosemary, zinc, cherries, sunflower oil, vitamin C, and vitamin E. All these nutrients are added to support your dog’s health.
The dog treats are also designed to include none of the bad stuff, including wheat, soy, and corn. Sure grains are often a go-to base when making dog treats, yet the makers of Zuke's Mini Naturals Dog Treats make sure nothing other than the best grains are added.
Zuke’s is an ethical company that puts a lot of care and attention into every product they make, including these dog treats. Al their products are free from fillers, byproducts, and artificial flavors and colors. They claim that every ingredient is “natural, purposeful, and of the highest quality”. Their treats contain “only ingredients that we would eat ourselves”. Knowing that your dog’s health and wellbeing is so important to Zuke’s will help you be confident that you are feeding your dog the best treats out there.
Better yet, these dog treats are the perfect size for training your dog. They are small and compact, allowing you to easily fit many in your pocket or hand. Not only are they quality and healthy for your dog to eat, but they are easy for you to use as well. These treats check off all the boxes in our mind, hence why we ranked the number one dog training treat.
Another great dog food brand is BLUE Wilderness. This brand creates natural dog food and treats made of only quality, natural ingredients. They take care in making sure their products are designed with your dog’s health and well being in mind.
We like their Trail Treats Wild Bits Grain Free Training Dog Treats a lot and highly recommend them for training your dog or puppy. Firstly, like the rest of BLUE Wilderness’s products, these treats are made of wholesome ingredients including good cuts of real chicken, duck, or salmon.
These dog training treats also contain DHA, which helps support brain function and health, as well as omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, which are very beneficial to your dog’s skin and coat. Even though they are a treat, because of all the added nutrients, they are still good for your dog. Better yet, these treats contain no wheat, soy, corn, or meat byproducts. Artificial flavors and colors are also not used to make these treats.
Your dog will also love the taste of these treats. They come in salmon, chicken, and duck flavors, giving you plenty of variety to find your dog’s favorite flavor. Because BLUE Wilderness uses real meat to provide this flavor, the treats will be extra delicious for your pup to eat.
These treats are also small and easy to hold and carry, perfect for dog training.
Another great dog treat brand is Blue Buffalo. This company prides themselves on producing quality dog food and treats that are made of wholesome, nutritious ingredients. Their Blue Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Treats are a great pick for dog and puppy training. These treats are small in size: easy for your dog to eat quickly and for you to hold while training.
Like many other treats on this list, the Blue Bits training treats are made of natural ingredients that are easy for your dog’s stomach to digest. These treats come in a variety of flavors, including salmon, beef, turkey, and chicken. Depending on which flavor you select, these treats include a quality meat source. No chicken or poultry byproducts make their way into these treats, so you know your dog is getting a high quality protein source from Blue Bits. DHA is also added to these treats, along with omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids to help support your dog’s brain health and development. This is especially beneficial for cognitive development in puppies.
The Blue Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Treats are easily available, both online and in most pet and grocery stores. So why not pick some up today and start training!
The next best dog training treats are the Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats. These treats check all the boxes when it comes to the qualities needed in a good dog treat for training. Firstly, they are made of all natural ingredients and real meat. These treats go above and beyond by adding superfoods to support your dog’s health, including sweet potatoes, blueberries, and flaxseed. They also throw in carrots and apples for added nutrients and yummy taste. These treats are also grain free and contain no meat byproducts, corn, soy, wheat, or artificial colors or flavors. As you can tell Wellness Natural holds quality, wholesome ingredients as a top priority, providing only the best for man’s best friend.
These treats come in a variety of flavors, including soft lamb and salmon, soft beef and turkey, and crunchy chicken and carrots. Try them all to see which flavor gets your dog most excited.
These treats are also perfect for puppies. They are slightly chewy and small, which is great for your puppy to eat and great for you while you are training them. They are also convenient to find. Easily order them online and have them within days. You could also check down the aisles of your favorite pet store to find these delicious, healthy, and convenient treats.
Our number five dog treats for training are the Wellness Core® Marrow Roasts Natural Grain Free Dog Treats. These dog treats, like the others on this list, are hardy, tasty, and are of course made of only the best, most nutritious ingredients. These dog treats are packed full of protein real beef. In fact, beef is the first ingredient on the list, so you know your dog is getting their fair share of meat when you feed them these treats. Other great ingredients such as flaxseed, chickpea flour, chicken fat, rosemary extract, green tea extract, and spear mint extract are also included to provide a dynamic flavor and added nutrition. These treats are also grain free, which is the mark of a good dog treat.
These treats are also quite fun. The outside is a crunchy biscuit, which surrounds a soft center made of real bone marrow. Not only does it have a unique design, but they are also small and bite-sized, making them ideal for dog training.
With the Wellness Core® Marrow Roasts Natural Grain Free Dog Treats, you get everything you need out of a dog treat: delicious taste, premium, ingredients, and convenience.
Pet Botanics is another great dog treat brand. They focus on providing “quality, consistency, and safety” with each of their products. Their Train Rewards treats are a great choice for a dog training treat. They are nutritional and made with wholesome, healthy ingredients. They are made with real liver and contain a healthy blend of super fruits and plants, including blueberries, cherries, dandelion, rosemary, green tea, and peppermint. They are the perfect small size for training, and each bag comes with about 500 treats, giving you a large supply to train day in and day out.
Another added benefit of these treats is that they are low calorie. Though many people do not think dogs need to watch their weight, certain dog breeds are more prone to being overweight. If your dog is, then these dog training treats are a great choice.
Last but not least is the Dingo Soft and Chewy Beef and Chicken Training Treats. These dog training treats have a simple recipe comprised of hardy ingredients. Beef and chicken are the first two ingredients on the list. Natural smoke flavor, garlic oil, and slat is also added to provide additional flavor that your dog’s taste buds will appreciate. Yet unlike the other treats on this list, these Dingo treats do not have many added nutrients and vitamins other than the meat, so you will need to make sure they are getting those beneficial nutrients elsewhere. They are soft and chewy, which may not be the best for the cleanliness of your pocket but makes it easy for your dog to gobble down. They are perfectly sized for training with.
These treats are also gluten free, which is good for your dog’s digestive track. Plus, they come in a resealable bag to keep them fresh for a long time. They are easily available online, but you can also check with your local pet store to see if you can find these delicious, hardy treats without waiting for them to ship out.
It is important that your dog is rewarded with only the best treats for all their hard work. For the dog, it is the best part of training, so give them a treat that not only tastes delicious, but is jam packed with only good, nutritious ingredients. Hopefully our guide to finding the best dog training treats has helped you get the information and inspiration you need to select the treat that is just right for your pup. Now that your treats are all set, it is time to get to work. Good luck training!