Using dog training treats to teach your dog how to behave is an old fashioned method of training. What could be simpler than using your dog’s first love – food to get him or her to behave? Or so you might think! Not all dogs respond to treat training and some may only do so indoors. As soon as they are outside, all interest in food departs and they are as unruly as before you started training!
Dog training with treats makes use of the basics of positive reinforcement to teach your dog the basics of manners and obedience. But what is positive reinforcement? Positive reinforcement is any dog training treats or aids that your dog likes and is willing to work for.
This could be food, toys, activity or even you! The only criteria is that your dog likes it and will adapt his behavior to get it. Since food is usually one of your dog’s favorite things, dog training treats like cookies or other cherished foods are common training aids.
Dog training treats are easy to use but your dog MUST love the treat for it to be effective. Dry dog biscuits may not be the most appealing food item for your dog or he may be too used to getting them for them to be very effective in training. On the other hand some dogs love biscuits and may respond very well. Most dogs respond to the human equivalent of chocolate – the treat needs to be pure heaven for hounds!
Dog training treats should be small. This is so that you can use them freely without endangering your dog’s health or spoiling his appetite. If your dog is average sized his treats can be 1/3 inch in size. In general, the softer the treat the better – your dog can eat them quickly and continue with his lesson.
Many trainers swear by dog training treats like raw hot dogs and bologna. Dogs seem to love them, they’re soft and won’t cost the earth. They can easily be sliced into small pieces. On the downside they may not be ideal for your dog in terms of nutrition but if used in moderation shouldn’t impact your dog’s health negatively.
Cheese is another favorite. Dogs seem to love cheese and like bologna it’s soft and easily sliced to the correct size. Cheese is a little more expensive but if you choose a salt-free variety, a lot healthier for your dog. Never give dog training treats outside of training time so they retain their special power.
Next on the dog training treats list is cooked chicken and turkey. Most dogs love it, even those who are quite fussy. Its also a good treat for dogs with allergies (check with your vet). It is more time consuming to prepare, harder to chop and may be a bit on the expensive side. On the other hand it is probably the healthiest contender so far.
Commercial dog training treats can also be use, provided your dog loves them and will work to get them. Try brands PupPeroni, Jerky Strips, and Pedigree Tandem. These may not be that easy to chop up into the required size, may not be that healthy for your dog and can be very expensive.