by Marina Somma
It may seem like a small detail, but the type of dog training treat that you use when teaching your four-legged friend some new tricks is actually incredibly important. Thankfully, this article will give you a crash course in the best training treats for dogs and how to use them.
What’s in Your Treats?
Before you check out at the pet store (or more likely, click the “checkout” button at the top of your computer screen) you should stop to take a look at what is in the treats you are giving your dog. For your pet, you likely want only the best ingredients. The first thing you should look at is the first ingredient.
The first ingredient in any dog training treat, and any dog food while we’re at it, should be a real source of protein. In fact, protein-based sources not only taste better to your pet, but they also help to keep your dog from packing on the pounds. The American Veterinary Medical Association acknowledges that obesity is a serious, and increasing, disease in pets. Another great way to ensure your dog doesn’t gain weight from their treats is to simply break them up into smaller pieces.
All About Variety: Top Picks
Dogs love variety. They love variety in their toys, chews and especially in their treats. If you had to have the same snacks every day, you’d get bored of them pretty quickly, and your dog is no different.
Step aside, old crumbly biscuits, because soft treats are a dog’s best friend. Not only do soft and chewy treats give your dog a tasty mouthful, but they also help to prevent toothache and gum irritation in young or old dogs. Many dog trainers recommend using a combination of soft treats and “training treats” during dog training sessions. Choose a wide variety of flavors to keep your dog interested.
We recommend picking several different types treats in a variety of flavors.
Your standard training treats for dogs come in bite-sized pieces ready for eating. For even better results, you can break these pieces in half for twice the fun. The best choices are chewy and strong-smelling to keep your dog intrigued. Though you obviously want to use training treats while training your dog, they also make a great choice for puzzle toys that your dog manipulates to get the treats out of.
It doesn’t get much simpler than a single ingredient, and that’s what many freeze-dried treats give you. Not only does your pet get the variety of a crunchy treat to munch on, but they also get the flavor of a real protein source. You can also try using freeze-dried treats for dogs who are not very food motivated, or dogs who need a little more help focusing. These types of treats are the next best choice behind actual food.
Using CBD Chews in Training
Veterinary medicine has been knee-deep studying CBD, or cannabidiol, for several years now. Research in the area has focused on its use in the treatment of osteoarthritis, chronic pain, epilepsy and more. Based on that research, veterinarians are optimistic about the potential benefits of hemp and CBD oil for pets.
If you use CBD chews with your dog, mixing them into your training session is a great idea. Keeping your reinforcement varied can keep your dog interested, and when tossed in with your dog training treats, a CBD chew from a top-of-the-line brand like Heelr can be a great way to add a little more variety, and help keep your pet calm and relaxed while you're at it. Remember, it’s important to check with your veterinarian before introducing CBD to your dog’s routine.
A Well-Rounded Dog
No single change or addition will alter your dog’s behavior that significantly. However, when you add high-protein treats and variety in your flavors, textures and treat size, your pet is bound to show more enthusiasm come training time. The best way to keep your dog happy, healthy and paying keen attention to you is by adding all of these concepts together!
Marina graduated from Monmouth University with a B.A. in psychology and a B.S. in marine and environmental biology and Policy. She also holds CPDT-KA dog training certification with the Certification Council for Professional Dog Trainers. She has over eight years of experience in zoological and domestic animal care and has worked at various facilities all around the country. Marina and her husband, Vincent, own, operate and manage an animal behavior/training and media company based out of Central Florida called petsETC.