Training our puppies is an important step towards their development into adults, as it reinforces healthy behaviors while teaching them how to listen to us. Freshpet acknowledges that, with training, there are a few steps to ensure that we are undergoing the process in the best way possible. Here, Freshpet reviews how pet parents can choose the best treats for training purposes.
Choose Healthy Treats
Just as it is important to provide our dogs with healthy, high protein dog food options, it is equally crucial that we select healthy dog treats for training. This means avoiding artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives such as propylene glycol and BHT when looking at training treats. When training our pets, we may need to give them more treats than we would otherwise to properly reinforce their behaviors. Healthy treats ensure that we can provide them to our dogs while worrying less about their overall health. Remember that, even during training, healthy dog treats should make up no more than 10 percent of their daily diet.
Treat Size Matters
Treats that we give our dogs for training purposes should be small, easily swallowed, and only require minimal chewing if possible. Smaller treats ensure that a pup can eat them quickly and safely without becoming overly distracted or losing concentration during training. Experts say that the perfect size for a training treat is close to that of a pencil eraser, and pet parents should be sure to choose options that are relatively soft as well. With smaller treats, pet parents can also give their dogs more treats in a session without risking an upset stomach or a higher chance of developing of obesity. Keep in mind that it is still possible to give your dog too many treats.
Keep a Variety of Options
Dogs, much like people, can sometimes crave variety in their snacks. Pet parents can keep things interesting by keeping a few of their dog’s favorites in stock, rotating depending on the day and their interest. Some pet parents see value in keeping a mix of high and low value dog treats that can fit a variety of different situations. For example, when training in familiar environments, a simple piece of high protein dog food or kibble can be good enough motivation for training. At other times, small amounts of dog food may not be interesting enough to motivate your dog. In these cases, a special high value, healthy dog treat may give them the motivation that they need to concentrate on training.
It can be easy to get carried away with training, especially if your dog is doing everything that they are supposed to do and showing off what they have learned. Obesity is a growing issue in the canine community, and pet parents should make every effort to avoid overfeeding treats throughout the training process. There are, fortunately, several ways to avoid overfeeding even on busy training days. For example, pet parents can consider slightly reducing their dog’s high protein dog food allotment during mealtime to make room for extra calories from training. Using healthy dog treats that are low in calories can also help reduce the likelihood of going over their recommended treat allotment.