The best dog treats for training depend on your dog’s tastes to an extent, but there are a number of definite do’s and don’ts.
First, DON’T use people food. People food often includes ingredients that dogs cannot easily ingest and are therefore bad for them. They also often include additives and preservatives. These are not healthy ingredients. So don’t feed your dog French fries, chips, or even hot dogs, which you will often see recommended by dog trainers.
Why do hot dogs work? Because they’re meat, and dogs love meat. But they are one of the most processed foods we humans eat, and although we love an occasional hot dog ourselves, they’re not too good for us, either. So, don’t feed them to your four-footed friend.
So what IS a high-value dog treat?
A high-value treat is one that highly motivates your dog to learn and to obey and that is also very healthy. This is important because you will probably be treating your dog frequently in the beginning.
A high-value treat should make your dog drool, and the best way to do that is by smell. Hard kibble doesn’t smell much, so it is less likely to attract the attention of a distracted puppy or inspire cooperation in an adult dog. Besides, if your dog gets the same food in his dog bowl, why should he roll over or shake for it?
Another quality is texture. Crunchy food is great in a dog bowl, and dogs do need something to chew on. Studies suggest that larger dry dog food or a daily dental chew helps improve your dog’s oral hygiene. But soft, smelly food is a favorite for most dogs, and they will respond with more enthusiasm to it when training.
You also want small treats that the dog can gobble up quickly. This keeps him excited and allows you to keep up a fast pace in training. If the treat is too large or hard, it will distract and slow down your training session. However, if you’re training your dog to love his crate or to lie quietly beside you when you’re sitting out on your deck, a slow treat is a good treat.
Dogs have preferences, just as people do. I’ve seen a dog who goes nuts for a piece of broccoli. But that’s rare, and the owner was probably a vegetarian. But dogs are not. They’re carnivores, although adapted to being omnivores. They crave meat, and all our Saint Rocco’s Treats are high in meat content, making them favorites for every dog.
Dogs love cheese, surprisingly, so our Cheeseburger treats are very popular. They’re soft and smelly and meaty, just as dogs like them, but they’re larger bars. So if you’re using them for training treats, cut them up ahead of time so your dog doesn’t have to wait.
If your dog has a sweet tooth, our Helt’s Honey treat, made with local honey and chicken, is really popular. Again, these are larger treats, so be sure to cut them up ahead of time. You want them to be small and quick to eat.
Our Sprinkles are already small and come in chicken or beef, so they’re ideal for carrying with you for training when you’re out.
Make training easier and help your dog focus on you and your commands by providing a high-value dog treat that is also a nutritious (and delicious) addition to his diet. With all the unconditional love that your dog gives you, he deserves the best. We make all our dog treats by hand in our Bucks County, PA kitchen. Contact us today for the best, healthiest treats for your dog!