No matter the age of your dog, they are never too old to learn a new trick! While some dogs simply seek approval or a pat on the head to reward good behavior, most need to be motivated to perform. And nothing says “sit” like a treat!
Here are five tips to keep in mind when choosing and using treats for training:
1. Find your dog’s “high value” treat! Every dog is different. Some pets will take anything that you offer while others are a bit picky. It is worth trying out a few treats to find one that your dog really likes. In the world of dog training, these are called “high value” treats and they should be used to as tasty incentives for your pet.
2. Treat size is important. Look for a treat that is small or is easy to break into small pieces so that they are quickly consumed and they don’t distract your pup. The size of a pencil eraser is a good size. By using small treats, your dog can get more treats in a session without causing an upset stomach…or a pudgy pup.
3. Choose healthy treats. While table scraps or hot dogs might sound good, it is better to go for a snack specifically created for dogs. Look for ingredients you recognize and might find in your kitchen like chicken, peanut butter, ground rice, barley flour, etc. Avoid artificial colors, flavors and preservatives such as BHT and propylene glycol.
4. Avoid overfeeding. Treats can really add on the calories! On days where you are using treats more heavily for training, consider reducing meal size slightly to account for the extra calories You can also use lower calorie treats or even use some of your dog’s regular food for training.
5. Variety is the spice of life. Find a few favorites for your dog and switch up their treats regularly. Dogs can get bored with the same treat trick after trick, day after day. Rotating between several favorites will keep your pups interest longer and help keep them motivated.
Learning a new trick can require time and patience. Remember to keep it fun! If you both enjoy the training sessions, you’re more likely to stick with it until the new behavior or trick is mastered. Training time can be a great bonding experience for you and your dog – and sometimes the best treat of all is your praise and adoration!
Need new training treats for your pet? Bring them by your neighborhood Pet Pros and let them choose their favorite new treats!
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