Picking the best training treat is vital when training your dog. It could make a massive difference between an unsuccessful training session and a successful one. Expert trainers have mainly used treats to teach new behaviors in dogs.
An American psychologist by the name of B.F. Skinner evolved the principle of operant conditioning. This principle states that behavior, which is followed by pleasant consequences, is highly likely to be repeated vs. behavior that is followed by unpleasant consequences. Dogs, in particular, respond to a treat that is to their taste. The critical question is, “How to choose the right training treat?"
This article aims to answer this question and provide you with information to help you search for the best treats for training your dog.
Best Training Treats for Dogs
Using training treats is a smart, positive reinforcement method that is effective for training dogs. But some dogs can gain too much weight during training if the treat isn’t healthy or low in calories.
You want to maintain the 10% Rule for dog treats, which means the calories from the training treats shouldn’t exceed 10% of your dog’s daily recommended calories. So which training treats are the best? We’ve got a list of the best high-quality training treats on the market to keep your dog trim while training.
The Rogue Pet Science KC Strips are soft jerky strips ideal for training treats because dogs love them. These all-natural treats contain no artificial ingredients, additives, by-products, colors, or preservatives. Meat is the first ingredient, and crude protein is 25% per strip. KC Strips come in:
- Prairie Elk
- Prairie Buffalo
- Prairie Beef
- Prairie Chicken
- Prairie Venison
And all ingredients meet USDA standards, which means you could probably eat them, but we don’t recommend it. Best to give them to your sweet dog.
Produced in Kansas by a family-owned USDA-certified plant, KC Strips ingredients are locally sourced and smoked for eight hours to create a delicious treat packed with good proteins, carbohydrates, and natural sugars. This process ensures a healthy treat using the highest quality meats.
|100% Natural Ingredients||May have to break it into smaller pieces|
|Healthy for your dog to eat|
|Decent shelf life|
|25% crude protein per strip|
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Pet Botanics Training Reward for Dogs is one of the best-rated and most popular on Amazon. These training treats are popular because they offer different styles like grain-free, mini, and regular, and five different flavors to really motivate your pup. Each bag comes with about 500 treats and is great for all sizes and breeds.
The Pet Botanics Training Reward treats are low-calorie, soft, and use meat as the first ingredient. These treats do have sugars and preservatives, which isn’t great, but most ingredients are all-natural nutrients and vitamins. Some of the flavored treats contain garlic, which is toxic for dogs. The amount is small but can have adverse side effects for some dogs.
|Very affordable||Garlic can cause bloody stools|
|Variety of flavors||Molds if left in a humid environment|
|Mostly all-natural ingredients with meat as the first ingredient|
The Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats have the lowest calories if you are worried about your dog’s weight while training. These freeze-dried treats come in five different flavors and tout that each treat is only three ingredients or less. Each treat is less than 1 kcal, making it one of the lowest-calorie training treats on the market.
With over 475 treats per bag, the Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats are all-natural, high-quality treats for an affordable price. Each treat is 35% protein, making these training treats a healthy alternative to other products.
|Very low calorie per treat||Disintegrates into powder easily due to freeze-dried consistency|
|All-natural, simple, high-quality||Some dogs do not like the freeze-dried texture|
|No preservatives, sugars, or artificial ingredients|
Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Natural is a popular soft training treat for dogs. These training treats are excellent for dogs of all sizes and breeds. And for dogs that are gulpers or have weak teeth, these small treats may be a good option because of their soft texture.
The Blue Bits Natural treats are made from all-natural ingredients, with meat being the first ingredient. The training treats come in a variety of dog-approved flavors, but you’ll need to be vigilant because some of the more popular flavors can sell out. While these treats are natural, they do contain lots of grains and sugar, which isn’t ideal.
|Soft chewy treat||Sugar may make dogs hyper|
|All-natural ingredients||May cause diarrhea and vomiting if sensitive|
|Contains fish oil for Omega-3 fatty acids|
If you prefer high-quality, all-natural treats for your dog, shop our complete list of treats, toppers, and supplements that promote a healthy immune system for your dog.
Buddy Biscuits Training Bites are the most affordable training treat on our list. These soft and chewy morsels are ideal for any breed or size. Each bag comes with 500 treats and uses real bacon for a meaty flavor. The Training Bites are also low calorie, with only 1.5 calories per bite.
While the first ingredient is pork liver, the bites also contain sugars, preservatives, flours, and fatty starches. That’s a lot of ingredients for a tiny bite. So while the calories are low, the treat itself isn't the most healthy.
|Contains natural ingredients||Biscuits can lose softness as they dry out|
|Low price for 500 treats||Some of our dogs didn't like the taste or texture|
|Variety of flavors||Contains sugars and molasses|
|Soft and chewy|
|Each treat is 1.5 kcals and 12% crude protein|
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Rogue Pet Science utilizes sound science and nutrition to make the best natural, healthy pet treats and supplements. Our KC Strips are ideal for training because dogs love them, and the treats are healthy snacks that promote a stronger immune system.
What to Look for in the Best Treats
Choose a small treat, and that can break into smaller pieces because you can use the pieces as treats. Keeping treats small also means fewer calories consumed. This way, your dog gets more treats during a training session without over-eating and becoming a chubby pup.
Find treats about the size of a pencil eraser or a dime; those are a great size. You want something that will keep the training session moving at a good pace.
Easily Eaten & Digested
When you first begin to train your dog for new behaviors, you want to make sure your dog is attentive and motivated. An easy way of accomplishing this is with a high pace of reinforcement (referring to how often you give rewards). This is why it’s important to give your dog tinner pieces of treats so you can provide more treats in a shorter period of time.
Once your dog gulps his treat immediately, then you can move on to the next repeated behavior immediately as well. The goal is to make sure your dog remains interested and gets a lot of practice in a short amount of time.
If your dog spends more time eating his treat, this creates more waiting time between repeated behavior sessions. This will result in either increasing the length of your training session, risking your dog losing interest and focus, or fewer teaching sessions.
The pet industry is continuously evolving in trends, not just in dog food but also in other aspects.
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Tips for Treating Your Dog During Training
Keep Your Pocket Filled
Often you might want to consider keeping your pockets filled with treats; this helps with impromptu training. For instance, if you’re at home, and you want to reinforce positive behavior, then having food in your pocket or even a treat bag around allows you to give your dog an immediate quick reward. Take a look at Solo Treats from Rogue Science; they are the perfect small-size treats to fill your pockets with.
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Switch Things Up
Dogs are just like any other being on this planet; they may prefer some treats more than others. Therefore, switching things up is a great idea, mostly to keep them motivated and interested in their training sessions.
If your dog becomes bored with the same treats, then he may lose interest in repeating the positive behaviors he has already been taught. Once you notice this change of behavior in your dog, then give your dog a few different treats during your training session; this way, your dog does not know what to expect of what’s coming next.
Also, switch up places and areas for your training session with your dog; that way, he can learn to repeat good behaviors regardless of the place.
Soft treats are great for training because they are faster and easier for your dog to gulp. You want to make sure that once your dog is rewarded for a specific behavior, he quickly repeats it.
For instance, if you were to give your dog a biscuit, he focuses on finding every piece of crumbs; this will take away time from his training session. The goal is to maintain a high pace of reinforcement with success.
Dogs have a strong sense of smell; therefore, using softer smellier treats is a great way to keep them attentive. Because they already know the scent of the treat. Find a smelly treat that your dog loves; for instance, check out KC Strips by Rogue Science. They are the perfect soft treats that are healthy and nutritious for your dog.
Slow-Eating Treats Are Situational
Depending on the type of behavior you are teaching, sometimes having a treat that lasts as long as possible is helpful. For instance, if you train your dog to love his crate, you want him to enjoy his time in the crate. You can teach him to enjoy being in the crate by helping him pass the time by giving him a treat that is a slow-eating treat.
This will take a long time, and he will know that he is enjoying something pleasant while he is inside his crate. Or even when you are watching T.V., and you want your dog to come and sit beside you quietly, you can give him a slow and long-lasting treat then as well. Look into the Yak Stick, made from milk and other nutritious ingredients is the perfect slow-eating treat for your dog.
Some people may choose to give their dogs hot dogs or scraps leftover from their meals; however, it is in your dog’s benefit of health to get snacks that are specifically good for them.
Make sure to look at the ingredients and avoid any preservatives (propylene glycol and BHT), artificial flavors, and colors. Make sure to purchase treats that contain healthier ingredients such as peanut butter, ground rice, chicken, fish, barley flour, etc.
Now Take Your Treats and Get to Training!
Training your dog and for your dog to learn new behaviors requires patience and time. Keep it fun for both of you; that way, you are more likely to stick to the training sessions.
This time spent together could be an excellent way for both your dog and you to bond, and the best treat of all time is the admiration and praise coming from you.
Need new training treats for your pet? Come and check out healthy and nutritious products from Rogue Pet Science.