I have already mentioned my dog Max in my previous post about best fleas shampoos. Max is a Jackeranian (part Jack Russell part Pomeranian).
Now Max, like any other Jack Russell (if you own a Jack Russell you will know what I deal with every day), can be a pretty crazy doggy.
Despite me giving him months of training, he still often tends to just run off chasing another dogs, cats, birds, bicycles, leafs – in fact, if it moves, chances are Max will chase it.
If you are a dog owner, whether you own a puppy or newly re-homed dog you know how essential training your four-legged friend is. A well-trained dog makes for a happy family!
To maximize effectiveness of the training you should pick only the best dog training treats available on the market.
Table of Contents
- What to look when buying dog treats
- Best dog training treats
- 1. Zuke’s Mini Naturals
- 2. Wellness Soft WellBites
- 3. Canidae Grain Free Pure Chewy Dog Treats
- 4. Pet Botanics Training Rewards Mini Treats
- 5. Greenies Pill Pockets
- 6. PureBites Freeze Dried Beef Treats
- 7. Hill’s Science Diet Sof & Chewy Training Treats with Real Chicken Dog Treat
- 8. Rocco & Roxy Gourmet Jerky Sticks
- How to use dog treats correctly during training
What to look when buying dog treats
Before I move on to Max’s top picks, it is always worth taking the following into consideration when buying treats for your best buddy.
Size really doesn’t matter, in fact when it comes to dog treats, go for the smallest out there. So when your dog is rewarded he can eat it quickly and effort free.
This will help to avoid unnecessary distraction during the training sessions.
Of course, they have to be THE YUMMIEST! What is the point in being rewarded for good work and obedience if they taste horrible?
Aside from tasting great, you want the treats to be healthy too. Always make sure the amount of treats that you give is not in excess of 10% of your dog’s daily diet.
The perfect treat should be non-greasy and non-crumbly for faster access. Trust me there is nothing worse than getting to work in the morning and finding dog treat crumbs in your pocket left over from the morning walk.
Okay so Max may not be the most well-behaved dog, but I will continue to try to train him and top quality treats definitely help.
So here are some of the best dog training treats I have used with Max.
Best dog training treats
1. Zuke’s Mini Naturals
With only 3.5 calories in each treat, these treats are perfect for training.
Made in USA and New Zeleand, Mini Nauturals are available in six delicious flavours: roasted chicken, delicious duck, peanut butter, roasted pork, wild rabbit and savory salmon.
What makes them even better, is that they are full of quality protein and wholefood ingrediens, do not contain wheat, corn or soy, meaning Mini Naturals are safe for doggies that suffer from allergies.
2. Wellness Soft WellBites
No grain. No wheat. No corn. No soy. And only 11.7 calories per piece!
WellBites are delicious, soft and chewy treats from USA that are prepared with healthy mixture of chicken, beef, lamb, salmon, apples, sweet potatoes and blueberries.
Wellness takes leading approach in holistic nutrition by creating unique and tasty treats to help you provide your pet a happy, healthy and long life. Each yummy recipe is designed to be easily digestible and contains high quality protein and Omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
3. Canidae Grain Free Pure Chewy Dog Treats
Perfect training size, texture and only 3 calories per treat!
Canidae offers their Training Chewy Treats in 3 amazing flavours: sweet potatoe & duck, turkey & apple and rabbit & kale. They are made in the USA and do not contain any soy, corn or fillers which makes them suitable to all sensitive doggy tummies.
Canidae is comitted to making the best pet foods; their products feature deliciously nutritious fruits, veggies and even legumes.
4. Pet Botanics Training Rewards Mini Treats
Nom, nom, can you smell the bacon?
I mean, can your dog smell the bacon? Believe it or not, real bacon is actually added to enhance the delicious flavor. With only 1 / 2 (!) calories per treat, these treats are amazing for repetitive training sessions, boosting your dog’s focus and motivation resulting in better performance every time.
5. Greenies Pill Pockets
I know, I know, they’re made to insert pills into them for easier tablets intake. BUT their size and low calorie content makes them ideal for regular rewarding.
Designed and highly recommended by vets due to their nutricious all-natural ingrediens, Greenies are made in the United States and are available in three yummy flavours: chicken, peanut butter and hickory smoke.
Soft and chewy texture makes breaking them into smaller bites a piece of cake!
6. PureBites Freeze Dried Beef Treats
What makes PureBites stand out from the crowd?
They are made with 100% Pure USDA Inspected Beef Liver in the USA and are guaranteed to be gluten and grain free.
PureBites are freeze dried raw to preserve the taste, texture and freshness – hence the slightly higher price, but it’s totally worth it. If you are worried about the calories content (ten calories per treat) simply break them into smaller bites.
Again, definitely worth a try!
7. Hill’s Science Diet Sof & Chewy Training Treats with Real Chicken Dog Treat
Free from artificial flavors or preservatives, these treats are optimised for maintaining healthy weight.
Made in the USA with real chicken, Hill’s Science Diet Soft & Chewy treats are recommened for usually active puppies (9 months and more) as well as aduld dogs. They can be added to your dogs everyday foods or used as a reward during training, as each treat contains only 3 calories.
8. Rocco & Roxy Gourmet Jerky Sticks
Treats that don’t leave your hands sticky and smelly? Wow! What’s not to love about these treats?
Rocco & Roxy Gourmet Jerky Sticks are smoked for 15 hours (!) from the homemade recipe, using only All-American Beef, Turkey or Chicken, without gluten, corn, wheat or soy. Now, these are what we call “high-quality” treats, therefore they should be used for extra important doggy responses.
How to use dog treats correctly during training
To achieve great performance and task execution during a training session, you should gear up with a couple of things.
Treats is one of them.
The other is KNOWLEDGE.
As a responsible dog parent, you should know that dogs aren’t naturally prepared to react to your commands. Having a dog comes with your obligation to teach them how to respond – it requires time, patience and trust.
Dogs will work for 3 things:
Food, however, is the one that is the most likely to work, so make sure you have treats ready for the session.
Avoid bribery, affirm reinforcement
Bribing your dog means rewarding him despite not following your command.
Reinforcing your dog means rewarding him for following your command correctly.
Let me explain it real life using Max as an example:
When Max joined my family, he was only sixteen weeks old and have never been out for a walk before. You can imagine his initial reaction to his first walk with me; he wouldn’t even leave the house, he was too terrified.
So I used treats to lure him out, every day further and further.
Then I added “wait” and “sit” command before every crossing and Max would be rewarded with a treat every time he followed the instructions.
Eventually, I decreased the amount of treats given, but the tone of my voice and gestures reminded same.
The thing to remember is to show them the reward AFTER they’ve completed the task.
That’s reinforcement and it will help to build strong and long lasting relationship between the dog and you. The method I used with Max is called the “lure and reward” technique.
Max was lured into doing what I asked him to do, rewarded after he completed the command and also praised (with good boy etc).
Decrease quantity and quality
Once your dog gets used to given command and its response, it’s vital for you to put the end to the “lure” part and cut back on how often you give treats.
Do not, however, rush the process of removing treats once satisfied with the training’s outcome. It might work at first, but you will find your puppy’s response will decrease after a while.
Do not stop rewarding your dog completely.
Slowly lower the number of treats given and make it an occasional occurrence. Positive reinforcement is far more effective than punishment.
It’s astonishingly easy to overtreat your dog; at the end of the day, treats are also used for the fun part of your furry child’s life – spoiling. But remember, your dog doesn’t care for the size of the treat, he simply loves getting them.
It is also the “quality” you should eventually cut down on. Switch the “high-quality” treats to less desirable treats, such as sliced hot dogs or sausages. Once you have completed the “less desirable treats” stage of switch, move on to “less desirable” foods, for example, kibble.
Swap food rewards to praise
“Life rewards” are an amazing substitute for food rewards.
These include petting, scratching, playing – anything that involves you making your doggy happy.
Life rewards will give your dog incentive to perform better that no food can offer – your dog will look forward to working with you when you both enjoy it and it will also help create a strong bond between him and you.