Best treats for training your dog – treats from the kitchen for training your dog at home and in the field (in our opinion…).

Training your dog takes time and patience, and the willingness to fail over and over again until you get it right. One sure fire way to keep your canine engaged and interested in your commands is by enticing them with treats, but that means at times you’ll go through a lot of treats before things start going your way.

Keeping that in mind, it’s important to consider what treats you use for training purposes specifically. These aren’t your normal “just because I love you” delights. These flavors have a purpose, and there are a few characteristics that matter when taking a treat into the field.

Training treats for dogs need to be small, portable, and have some (or at least neutral) nutritional value. We want to be able to fill up a plastic bag with treats, and have the one bag last all day long. Now, let me preface, we are not veterinarians, animal nutritionists, or certified trainers, but we speak from experience, and this is our opinion on practical training treats for dogs, regardless of what discipline you’re working on.

If you’re looking for something that’s produced specifically for the task we recommend Pet Botanics Training Rewards.  I have found a lot of professional trainers use them.  These treats can be found at Petsmart or ordered online.

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If  you’re looking for something from the kitchen that may be more readily available as you wait for your order to arrive then look no further. Here are our favorite treats from the kitchen to train your dog. 

Carrots

If you have a dog that gets excited about carrots, use them! They have exceptional nutritional value, are extremely clean and portable, and travel well during training exercises. Some dogs absolutely love the crunchiness of a carrot, and the hard textures help keep your dog’s mouth healthy by fighting plaque and gum disease. It’s a win-win-win if your dog is into them, so we recommend trying them first and seeing how your animal responds.

Blueberries

If your dog doesn’t care for carrots, the next best food to try is blueberries. We choose to freeze ours as it helps them last a bit longer in the field, and our dogs seem to always be a little more interested in the temperature change as well as the taste. Frozen blueberries will definitely pique your dog’s curiosity and keep them engaged through your training exercises.  The only real downfall of blueberries is they can be a bit more costly, and aren’t quite as durable for prolonged use, especially when compared to the hardiness of a carrot.

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Plain Popcorn

Popcorn can be another great training treat as it has a naturally salty  flavor profile and is extremely low in calories, not to mention it is very friendly to pack around in a plastic bag. It’s important to emphasize plain popcorn, as the butter and seasoned varieties are really adding processed ingredients that aren’t great to add to your dog’s diet. They are unnecessary, unhealthy additions to a treat that does a very good job of making an otherwise distracted dog care about what you have to say.

And last but not least…

Hotdogs

Yes we said it. Hotdogs make a great treat for one reason and one reason only. It is guaranteed to hold your dog’s interest and they will be very willing to do whatever it takes to get another taste of that savory goodness. If nothing else will hold your dog’s attention, you can bet your bottom dollar that a hot dog will get the job done. This is by far the least healthy option, so be sure to use small pieces of meat when you reward your dog, using small pinches of meat each time to make each hot dog last. You’ll be surprised how many reps you can get out of each frank if you mind your pinches.

Good dogs paying attentiong

In conclusion, if you’re thinking about putting in time with your dog to teach them an advanced discipline, it’s worth putting a little forethought into the technique, and specifically your reward system. Treats can be a great way to hold your dog’s attention, and encourage the positive behaviors that you’re trying to cultivate in your animal. Bonding with your animal, through time, patience, and routine, is a beautiful thing.

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