A great way to reward your dog or puppy is to give them treats during training. Most dogs are food orientated, so using treats as a way of positively reenforcing good behaviour is pretty much a no brainer. But when it comes to what to give a dog as a treat, many owners get confused and give human treats instead of specially made dog products. We love chocolate as a treat, but chocolate is actually poisonous to a dog and will give them an upset stomach. So here are a few tips and some advice on when and what constitute as healthy treats to give your dog.
First up, you should always use treats to reward good behaviour, this includes getting your dog into a calm and submissive state. So do not use treats to reward an over excited dog. Your dog may become excited at the smell of a treat, but wait until it is calm and relaxed before you give it to them. Allow the dog to smell the treat first, hold it up away from him and then wait. Remember dogs can smell a treat from over 20 feet away so you do not need to present it right under their noses. If your dog is jumping up and down, show your disapproval by either moving back, ignoring or saying ‘No’. Dogs are intelligent creatures so by now he will be trying to work out what he has to do to get the treat from you. If the exercise is to get him to sit, then wait until he has, say ‘Sit’, then give him the treat as soon as he is calm and sat down. Precision timing is everything. Repeat this as necessary whether out at the park, whilst on a walk or in the house.
It is best to give treats inbetween meals but allow time for the dog to become relatively hungry again. A dog will not want a treat if it has just eaten a full meal. So make sure that any training is done well after a meal and choose tasty titbits that your dog does not usually have. By this I mean do not scoop up a handful of their normal kibble. Get them something special instead. When choosing doggie treats, have a look at the ingredients as much as you would if buying human food, seek out ones with natural ingredients and no preservatives. Treats specifically for training should be bite sized and tasty, preferably with a large meat content. A treat to keep your dog occupied for around half an hour and involves chewing and gnawing would be a fairly decent sized bone with marrow content inside. Dogs love to lick the marrow and chew and bite the bone at the same time. And they stay contented for ages with their bone. Another point to remember is that any treats should be taken off their daily food amounts so keep in mind the calorie amounts and deduct this from their allowance. It is easy to overfeed with treats and get an overweight dog as a result. Here are a few examples of healthy dog treats and where you can buy them:
Healthy Paws – Peanut & Oat Biscuits – 500g – £5.99
Peanuts are high in good quality protein and are a good source of mono-unsaturated oils and a good source of dietary fibre as well as being rich in antioxidants. Peanuts have been combined with oats and compared to other grains they supply more B vitamins, vitamin E, linoleic acid, protein and soluble fibre. Organic honey is used so as to fully utilise the beneficial effect that honey has on the stomach and intestines. Brewers yeast is an excellent source of all B vitamins and sunflower oil is a prime source of essential fatty acid linoleic acid which is vital to many health functions. Alfalfa is added which assists in the assimilation of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Composition : Oats (30%), Peanuts (20%), Brown Rice, Pea Flour, Sunflower Oil, Brewers Yeast, Alfalfa, Organic Honey. Analytical Constituents : Protein 13%, Oil 15%, Fibre 4%, Ash 4%.
Barker & Barker – Garlic & Liver Treats x 800 – £10.75
Our Garlic & Liver Treats have been designed to provide your dog with a satisfying tasty treat but, with all the health benefits of Garlic & Liver. Dogs love garlic and liver, and there is no better way to provide a treat that can help cleanse the blood, prevent parasites and provide protein and iron. Ingredients: Meat derivatives – Liver, Minerals, Yeasts, Vegetable extracts. Analytical constituents: Protein 29.68%, Oils & Fats 3.13%, Fibre 0%. Ash 2.42%.
Canibit – Venison Trachea 100g — £3.79
Venison Trachea. Tasty and low in fat, a premium-chewy snack for all dogs, also for puppies and dogs sensitive to certain foods. The ideal reward for a picky eater! These venison trachea are especially good for puppies and dogs with food allergies. 100% Venison suitable for human consumption. Manufactured in Germany. Cholesterol and fat reduced. Ingredients: 100% venison trachea – dried, no additives. Analytical constituents: ash 4.8 %, fat 8.98 %, moisture 9.42 %, protein 76.8 %.
Remember, dog treats need to be given at the right time and for the right reasons. Always make sure your dog is given the correct discipline and exercise before providing treats.