Dog training without treats is possible, but treats certainly help motivate many dogs. And picking the right treat is key!
High-quality ingredients are important to pet owners, and a treat’s ingredient list should definitely be part of your decision process. Also, if you’re treating a lot every day, you should take the calorie count into consideration and reduce your dog’s regular meal portions to compensate for the treats.
For initial and intensive training sessions, or for high-stress situations, you can use any “high-value” treats your dog responds to. These might include people foods like cheese or sausage bites. For ongoing use, however, it’s better to use dog treats, and the following dog training treats are great for daily use.
Pro tip: A dog training treat bag or pouch can be very helpful for easy access to your treat of choice.
8 Dog Treats for Training
Wilderness Blue Buffalo Dog Treats are an excellent choice for dogs in training. They utilise high-quality chicken as the protein source, and are also supplemented with DHA, Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids for optimal health. DHA assists with cognitive development in puppies, whereas the fatty acids assist in maintaining a healthy skin and coat. These treats are grain free—so if your dog is sensitive to grain, these are an excellent choice.
These treats work best with dogs who prefer a ‘crunch’ in every bite. If your dog likes softer treats, check out some of the others on the list.Buy on Amazon
Blue Buffalo Dog Treats are made with high-quality ingredients and do not contain any ‘filler’ by-products. They’re also soya, corn and wheat free, and contain DHA, Omega-3 and Omega-6 supplementation.
Blue Bits are soft, easy to chew and a novel treat because their texture is so different from kibble.Buy on Amazon
Lily’s Kitchen mini jerky snacks are an excellent dog training treat choice. Nice and chewy, the grain-free dog treats are made with 80% duck and they don’t contain any meat meal or fillers. The treats also come in beef and chicken flavours.Buy on Amazon
Fruitables ‘skinny’ treats are low in calories, making them an excellent choice for training. Just about every dog absolutely loves bacon, so this flavour is a good bet for appealing to the senses. The first ingredient is always a wholesome fruit or veggie.
Fruitables come in different varieties including crunchy, chewy and jerky to suit your dog’s preferences. Also, even though these treats are low in calories, they’ve been shown to reduce hunger between meals to prevent your dog from overeating at meal-time.Buy on Amazon
These Bounce and Bella treats are hypoallergenic and grain free, making them perfect for dogs with sensitive stomachs. Their small size also means they are ideal for training if you’re worried about overfeeding your dog—in a 500g bag you’ll get about 800 treat pieces.Buy on Amazon
These Soopa bites are made of 100% natural, low-fat, low-calorie ingredients, and help fight bad breath and aid digestion. The treats have even won a PPRA award for best pet product, so you know you’re getting a quality item here!Buy on Amazon
Eggs? Yes, eggs! Eggs are an excellent source of protein and can be utilised as a homemade dog training treat. What do eggs include exactly (other than protein)?
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
When used as a training treat, eggs can be hard-boiled, scrambled or poached. Avoid raw eggs to be safe.
8. Daily Kibble
In some situations, your dog’s dry food can work perfectly well as a dog training treat, particularly if the dog is overweight and already food-motivated.
Again, consider training part of your dog’s mealtimes. For example, if you’re working with your dog close to breakfast, take a handful out of her portion for breakfast to be used throughout training at that time.
If you’re worried about providing too many treats, you can also switch to kibble or primarily use kibble as the training treat. You might also graduate to training without treats, as your dog learns to respond to your verbal cues, hand signals and praise.
The Bottom Line
Training treats should be of high-quality, but not pack too many calories if they’re being used daily. When choosing a treat, be certain to review the ingredients list. The first ingredient should be meat or fish, rather than a by-product or ‘filler’ like grain, corn, or rice. And if your dog spends a lot of time with their pet sitter, make sure they know about any dietary requirements your furry friend might have.
Next, why not take a look at some more of our articles on dog food and mealtime accessories to kit your best pal out with everything he needs.
- The 17 Best Dog Bowls for Every Kind of Dog
- Hypoallergenic Dog Food for Allergy-Prone Pups
- Must-Have Dog Water Bottles and Travel Bowls
Featured image: Lily’s Kitchen Dog Treats: Duck Jerky