Artisanal Treats for Pets

How To Choose & Use Training Treats For Dogs Correctly

Pawcrafted Jerky Training Treats for Puppies and Dogs

Training your puppy and doing it well is a milestone every pet parent hopes to achieve. It makes for a fun bonding experience, creates a sense of discipline, and is the perfect time to use some treats. 

Training treats act as rewards that your dog earns when they have performed and behaved well. Puppies also tend to get distracted easily and the right treats can help get their attention and keep them active and engaged longer.

When used appropriately, treats enhance the training experience for your pet and help them learn better. But let us try and understand better what makes a treat right for training and how do you even use them correctly?

Why Do We Use Treats In Dog Training?

Despite what we would want to believe, dogs do not learn new things only to make us happy. They do it for rewards. They learn faster and have more fun when they get rewarded for good behavior. What makes for a better reward than a tasty treat?

Think of treats like a paycheck for your puppy. They simply help you get the behavior you want from your pet. And then convey that they performed the behavior correctly. When a behavior is rewarded with good things like treats or praise, your dog is more likely to repeat the behavior.

This makes treats extremely effective for dog training through positive reinforcement.

Reinforcement vs Bribery: A Common Dog Training Misconception

A reinforcement is like a payment for a job well done. This reward increases the probability of that behavior happening again. Your pet has done a good job following your commands, and after they have done this, you reward them with a treat.

A bribe, however, is something of value offered before giving the command to increase the likelihood of it occurring. It is basically offering something for your dog to work- after they’ve knowingly refused to follow your command and perform a behavior.

Positive reinforcement will ensure your puppy is trained effectively and maintains their good behavior in the long term, while bribery guarantees nothing but short-term gains, and most certainly does not strengthen the target behavior.

Characteristics Of A Good Training Treat

Not all treats make for good training treats. As a responsible pet parent, it is important to understand the basics of what makes a good training treat before choosing one for your puppy.

Factors of convenience, quality, shape, etc. come into play when picking a training treat. Here are some tips for choosing the right dog treat so that you can make the most of your training sessions with your pet:

1. Smaller In Size/Breakable

Small treats are crucial to keep training sessions fast-paced and to not overfeed treats to your pet. Believe us, our pets aren’t as concerned about the size of the treat as they are about the number of treats they receive. You can cut/break large treats into small bits before your training session begins.

Smaller pieces guarantee less stress on your pooch’s waistline too. Obesity in dogs can cause a variety of health problems, and keeping treats small means fewer calories consumed. It also means your furry companion won’t get full before the session is over.

2. High-Value

High-value treats are treats that have an aroma that captures your pet’s attention, and a taste that stimulates the senses and activates a training mindset. Creating a high-value treat means taking away all unnecessary additives and ingredients in a treat and leaving behind only potent goodness.

Natural, high-value dog treats have no artificial ingredients, fillers, or preservatives. These can also be grain-free, gluten-free, or single-ingredient. This makes natural treats apt for repetition to perfect new behaviors, and to reinforce existing positive behaviors.

High-value treats can also significantly decrease the time and sessions your puppy needs to learn and adopt new behaviors.

3. Not Messy

You, as a pet parent, should feel equally encouraged during training sessions as your pet. Some commercially available treats can be highly greasy or difficult to break into pieces which can be an obstacle during sessions.

Dog biscuits are a popular choice as training treats, but during a training session, waiting for your puppy to find every piece that’s crumbled to the floor is time away from teaching.

Training treats should be easy to break into smaller pieces and have a reasonably strong smell that catches your puppy’s attention right away. Your hand shouldn’t be left feeling greasy or with any residue after handling them.

4. Easy To Carry

Ease of carrying around is key when choosing a training treat. You can need them anytime, on walks, during trips, or even when you don’t intend to do a full training session with your pet. Treats that come in portable and easy-to-carry pouches are a good choice for this.

How To Use Treats To Train Your Dog

Pawcrafted Jerky Training Treats
Source: Unsplash

Now that we have discussed the criteria for choosing training treats for your pet, it’s time to see how you can put them to the best use during your training sessions.

1. Use Treats To Lure

Probably the most effective use of treats during training is to lure puppies to do the action you want them to do.

For example, when you want to train a dog for the “down” command, you can start by luring them with a treat. Bring a treat down to their nose in your closed hand so they cannot eat it, but can sense its presence. Direct your hand from their nose toward the ground while giving the command: “down”.

Your dog will follow the treat with their nose. Reach to the floor with your hand closed and then move your hands towards you and away from your pet.

Your dog’s nose will follow the treat and they will slide into the ‘down’ position. You lured your dog into position by having them follow the treat.

2. Reward Your Pet With Treats

Once you lure your dog into a ‘down’ position, give him or her the treat the moment they reach the desired position. Along with the treat, appreciate them by saying “good boy/girl!” or your preferred expression. Alternatively, a clicker can also be used for this purpose. Remember to give the treat immediately so your puppy associates the correct action with the reward.

You can encourage your dog to repeat favorable behaviors, such as lying quietly on the floor during dinner or when guests come over, by rewarding them with a treat after to reinforce the behavior. Don’t forget to tell them what a good puppy they are!

3. Don’t Treat Too Much

When teaching a new command for the first time, it is necessary to reward your puppy with a treat every time they perform the action correctly.

However, you must also be cautious about over-rewarding during training. Not only will the treats lose their appeal to your dog if they get them every time, but you also don’t want your pet to unknowingly gain weight because of the extra food intake.

Keep in mind that your dog’s treats should only make up about 10 percent of their daily diet.​ 

4. Phase Out Treats

When your pet eventually gets the hang of their training, you can refrain from giving them treats as often for every good behavior. You wouldn’t want them to follow commands only to get a treat.

When your puppy starts rightly responding to commands 90 percent of the time you can begin to phase out the treats. Now you can begin giving them treats occasionally by randomizing the frequency.

You can replace rewards with praises and petting in this phase. This will also help strengthen the bond between both of you.

The Perfect Dog Training Treat

The perfect treat is simply one that does not adversely affect your pet’s health and is loved by your pet. Make sure the treat you choose fits the functionality of your training while providing nutritional benefits for overall wellness.

Dehydrated jerky treats are one such option! They are minimally processed and provide more nutrients than most commercially available treats. You’ll feel good about feeding them to your pet since you know exactly what they’re consuming.

At Pawcrafted, jerky treats are made with limited ingredients of the highest quality. Our treats are packed with protein and have an aromatic meaty smell that stimulates your pet’s senses and captures their attention better so they concentrate on you.

With no added preservatives or artificial colors, Pawcrafted jerky treats go easy on your pet’s stomach. They are easy to break into smaller pieces and won’t leave any mess for you!

Teach your pet some new tricks, practice existing skills, and keep them motivated with 100% real, ultra meaty treats that help make the most of your training session.

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