Everyone loves a treat now and again, and our pets are no exception! However, when it comes to our furry friends, we sometimes overdo the treats which can cause problems with his or her waistline. Here are five simple guidelines for treating your pet:
WHO: Well, you for the most part, or members of your family. Treats are a wonderful way to help socialize a new puppy or an older dog who needs to build confidence when dealing with other people. When you take your pup out to experience the great big world, take a pocketful of treats along with you. If you encounter a friendly stranger and your dog isn’t too sure about approaching them in a relaxed, friendly manner, give the stranger a treat to offer your dog as a way of breaking the ice. Also, when your pup has exhibited positive behavior in dealing with strange people or dogs, a quick and enthusiastic ‘Good dog!!’ followed quickly by a treat will reinforce good behavior.
WHAT: Treats come in endless forms. Whichever type you choose, make sure it is healthy and natural and that your pet really LOVES it. Whether it’s fresh vegetables that your pet goes crazy for, a little boiled chicken or a ready-made treat, they should be special and tasty and most importantly, given in moderation. Treats should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s daily caloric intake, and meal sizes should be adjusted to account for the extra calories treats add.
WHERE: Anywhere! Especially when training or socializing, always have a pocket or pouch full of treats with you. It’s a great way to keep your pet’s attention focused on you and pretty soon you’ll be able to go anywhere with your dog’s attention glued to you and only you, no matter what else is going on.
WHEN: Treats should be a reward for good behavior or a new trick learned, as a positive reinforcement while teaching your pet good manners, or while training for a desired behavior.
Timing is important. Treat as soon as the wanted behavior is presented, otherwise you may confuse your dog as to why he is being rewarded. And remember, training takes time and patience!
WHY: Because you love your pet and treating him or her will only enhance the wonderful bond you have!
There are many great options for treating your pup in a healthy way. If you’d like help choosing some new treats for your dog, stop by and see us – we’d love to help!
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