by Ann Brightman
Training treats need to be bite-sized, convenient, and easy to carry and handle. They should also be healthy and nutritious — and not contribute to weight gain.
Training your dog requires the use of treats. You reward wanted behaviors with something the dog values highly – usually a tasty tidbit of some kind – so he’ll learn to associate that behavior with a positive outcome and do it more often. This means that whenever you’re training your dog to do something, whether to come when called or roll over on command, you need the right training treats ready to hand.
“The role of a training treat calls for repetitive and intense usage,” says Michael Rosenstock of Finest Fetch. “It’s not unusual when training a new behavior, particularly with puppies, to reward 50 or more times in a 30-minute period.” Because you’re going to be giving you dog so many treats during the training process, you need to make sure they’re healthy and nutritious, as well as palatable, and that they won’t lead to weight gain. The treats should be small, and convenient to carry and handle.
It is important to keep in mind the size when choosing a training treat is the size. Ideally a training treat is small (somewhere from a pea to a penny) and is low-calorie. You should expect to give your pet several training treats per session, so pick a treat that won’t offset his diet and will help him maintain a healthy weight. To keep in your dog’s interest in the treat, choose a highly desirable treat to offer a greater incentive.
Be sure to steer clear of cheap commercial products that may look and smell tasty, but which have next to no food value and are usually filled with additives, artificial colors and flavors, by-products, and other questionable and harmful ingredients, often from China. The fillers and bad carbs in these treats also contribute to obesity, dental problems and other health issues.
Lots of companies specialize in premium quality treats that are safe, natural, healthy and highly palatable. Many make small or bite-sized treats that are ideal for training purposes. Two great choices are Clear Conscience Pet Lamb Airy Bites™ and Max & Ruffy’s – Tree of Life: Coconut, Molasses, & Flax Flavor (Grain Free)
Adapted from Animal Wellness Magazine