- Your Ideal Training Treat Buying Guide
- Top 5 Best Treats for Training Puppies
- Top 5 Best Treats for Training Adult Dogs
- Other Types of Dog Training Treats
- Tips for Using Dog Treats
- Frequently Asked Questions
Training treats are (usually small) treats used when teaching a dog commands or skills. You give them a command, they perform it correctly, you praise them and give them a treat. Pretty simple! Check out this article if you need help with obedience training! Or if you like to read books, try this one! There are so many styles of training you could utilize.
In this article, you’ll find the 10 best dog treat brands ideal for training as well as a couple of other options you can acquire at home.
You can also check out this article by the AKC with their on-point advice on training treats.
Without further ado, let’s talk about training treats!
Your Ideal Training Treat Buying Guide
Let’s start with the features you want to look for in training treats.
Quick and easy to eat.
You want a treat that your dog can eat quickly and then return his focus to training. Hard treats (such as Milkbones) often produce crumbs which creates a distraction for your dog. He focuses on picking up each crumb instead of returning to your command.
Soft treats are often the most ideal option for quick eating.
Big treats take longer to eat and fill up your dog’s stomach faster. If he’s hungry he is more likely to do what you ask in exchange for food. Do not feed your dog for a few hours before training.
Many commercial treats are large. Cut or break the treats into smaller pieces if needed.
Lastly, too many treats or many large treats put hundreds and maybe thousands of calories into your dog’s body. Without adequate exercise, your dog may gain weight due to eating so many treats while training often. Keep treats in moderation.
Soft and smelly treats.
Soft treats are usually smelly in comparison to hard, crunchy treats. Dogs are more likely to obey for treats when there is a more pungent odor of meat and other tasty ingredients. “High value” treats, such as pieces of cheese, cooked chicken, or plain cooked sausage will often encourage your dog to obey. High value treats are items your dog doesn’t receive on a daily basis. This type of treat is better for intense training instead of basic everyday training or refresher sessions.
Keep things interesting! Find a few different treats that your dog likes. He may get bored of one particular treat after numerous training sessions. Switch it up a little so he gets a new “high value” treat.
Switch from kibble to soft treats to cooked chicken to bits of hard-boiled egg. Your dog will wonder what treats he gets in today’s training session. He’ll (ideally) work harder to get more of that tasty treat!
Ingredients and calorie count.
If you do training sessions with your dog on a daily basis you will want to be aware of the ingredients and calories you give your dog. Treats that are high in fat are acceptable on occasion, but you don’t want to use them too often.
Natural or organic ingredients are best with low-calorie counts. Avoid giving your dog treats with biproducts or additives.
Top 5 Best Treats for Training Puppies
These 5 puppy treats are our top picks to use while training your young pup. They’re tasty, healthy, and small enough not to overwhelm your puppy.
1. Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats
Soft Puppy Bites by Wellness are made of lamb and salmon with blueberries, sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, and flaxseed. All ingredients are natural and premium quality. They do not contain artificial colors or flavors. Nor do they contain corn or soy for puppies with sensitive stomachs and reactions to these ingredients.
Soft Puppy Bites contain 14% protein and only 16% fat with 2% fiber.
The soft treats are the “smelly” type of treat that puppies are likely to love. We love these treats for training puppies’ good manners and basic commands.
2. Zuke’s Puppy Naturals Dog Treats
The Natural dog treats by Zuke’s is another tasty and healthy option for training puppies. The recipe is grain-free, perfect for canines with grain sensitivities. It is also free of additives to protect your pup from negative reactions.
Additionally, each treat contains only 1.5 calories to prevent your puppy from gaining too much weight. The crude analysis reports 15% protein, 6% fat, 3.5% fiber, and 25% moisture. Higher levels of moisture mean your pup will stay hydrated versus the low moisture contents of dry, crunchy treats.
We love that these treats are healthy and small enough for nearly any puppy.
3. Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural Dog Treats
Classic Puppy Oven-Baked Dog Biscuits by Old Mother Hubbard Baking Co. are a dry treat option for pups who don’t show interest in soft treats. Ingredients include chicken, carrots, oats, and apples specifically designed for a puppy’s growing body.
The crude analysis breaks down to 12% protein, 7% fat, 5.5% fiber, and 11% moisture. It’s a high-energy, low-fat crunchy treat for pups learning their basic commands and manners.
We love that these treats are wholesome and tasty without being full of artificial ingredients or byproducts.
4. Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats
The Blue Bits moist training treats by Blue Buffalo are available in salmon, beef, chicken, or turkey flavors to fit your pup’s taste. They’re a budget-friendly training treat in the shape of an adorable heart. The tiny morsels have a savory flavor to entice your pup to learn his commands.
You will not find any by-products, wheat, corn, or soy in the ingredient list which makes them a perfect option for pups with sensitive stomachs. The treats are enhanced with DHA to support healthy brain development.
We chose Blue Bits for our puppy training treat list because first of all, they’re adorable. And second, Blue Buffalo is known for healthy ingredients and savory flavors that dogs love.
5. Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Mini Rewards Dog Treats
Mini Rewards by Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets are training treats in bite-sized pieces for puppies. They’re available in chicken, salmon, or turkey. They’re grain-free for any puppy with a sensitive stomach. And with less than 5 calories per treat, your pup won’t gain extra weight during all your training sessions.
The guaranteed analysis shows each Mini Reward contains 10% protein, 4% fat, 4% fiber, and 22% moisture. Natural Balance recommends feeding only 5 to 6 pieces per 10 pounds of weight. A 20-pound puppy should receive no more than 12 of these treats during a training session.
Top 5 Best Treats for Training Adult Dogs
These 5 treats are great for adult dogs who are learning new skills or reinforcing tried-and-true skills. Plus you’ll find 2 bonus training treats!
1. Wilderness Blue Buffalo Trail Dog Treats
Trail Treats by Blue Buffalo Wilderness come in a hardy chicken recipe that is grain-free for dogs with allergies. The recipe does not contain byproduct meals, artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. These treats are completely natural to keep your dog healthy and happy.
High-quality chicken, peas, and potatoes support your dog’s strength and vitality. We love these treats for dogs who require grain-free or raw diets. The analysis breaks down to 25% protein, 22% fat, 3% fiber, and 26% moisture. Each treat contains only 10 calories, but they’re designed for intermittent and supplemental feeding only. A bowl full of these treats will cause weight gain.
We love these treats for training adult dogs because they’re flavorful enough to keep your dog’s attention but they’re not so high in fat and calories that we would consider them unhealthy.
2. Fruitables Skinny Minis Apple Bacon Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
Fruitables Skinny Minis Apple Bacon Flavor soft dog treats are low in calories and small in size – perfect for training! The apple gives the treat a sweet flavor while the bacon gives it a savory flavor. The recipe is grain-free for special diets and soft baked for easy eating.
With only 3 calories per treat, you don’t have to worry about using too many while training. And did you notice the cute flower design of each treat?
We love these Fruitables treats for training because it’s not always common for dogs to get fruity flavors in their food or treats. This combination of apple and bacon mixes up their pallet and keeps training fun.
3. Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance Mini-Rewards Dog Treats
Mini Rewards by Dick Van Patten’s Natural Balance come in 3 savory flavors: lamb, chicken, and duck. These treats are suitable for both puppies and adult dogs. Each morsel contains 5 calories or less for a fun and healthy training session. These treats contain absolutely no corn, wheat, artificial flavors, or colors. Nothing but healthy ingredients!
The guaranteed analysis shows these treats contain 7% protein, 4% fat, 5% fiber, and 28% moisture. They’re low in calories and won’t make your dog thirsty thanks to their high moisture content.
We love the variety of flavors in these treats. Mixing the flavors will keep your dog wondering which flavor he’ll get the next time he obeys his commands like a good boy!
4. Nutro Natural Crunchy Dog Treats
Nutro Crunchy Dog Treats are another crunchy treat option for dogs who prefer the texture. They’re made with non-GMO ingredients and they’re 100% natural. Flavors include apple, banana, chicken and carrot, mixed berry, and peanut butter. You’re sure to find a flavor that appeals to your pup.
Nutro has a feed clean philosophy that assures your dog will remain healthy and happy while learning his commands and skills. These treats are made of high-quality ingredients that you can smell and know they’re real.
The guaranteed analysis shows each treat contains 12% protein, 6.5% fat, 2% fiber, and 11% fiber. We love the variety of flavors and the wholesome ingredients for training.
5. Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Dog Treats
Tricky Trainers Chewy by Cloud Star are chewy treats in a savory liver flavor. Liver is the most nutrient dense organ meat, and it is a powerful source of vitamin A. These treats will fill your dog’s body with nutrients while filling their brains with knowledge.
The Tricky Trainers are free of wheat and corn as well as artificial colors and flavors. Each tiny treat has only 3 calories. The soft texture will not dry out and crumble as you use them.
The guaranteed analysis shows each treat contains 10% protein, 4% fat, 4% fiber, and 30% moisture.
We love these little flavorful bits for training. They’ve proven popular among many of our dogs.
Other Types of Dog Training Treats
Do you already feed your dog dry kibble? Does he love it? Use that as training treats! Daily kibble is low in calories and fat and high in protein so you don’t have to worry about giving too many!
2. People food
I know it’s often said that dogs shouldn’t have people food but there are a few types of food they can have. You must use people food with caution, though. Do not overuse people food as a training treat or your dog may lose interest in their kibble and refuse to eat it.
Suitable people foods as training treats include:
- Hard-boiled egg, scrambled egg, or poached egg, cut into pieces
- Cooked chicken or turkey, boiled and cut into pieces
- Plain sausage, cut into pieces
- Apples, cut into pieces
- Carrots, cut into pieces
Tips for Using Dog Treats
- Keep a pocket or pouch full of treats on a daily basis to reward good behavior such as lying quietly on the doggy bed – but only do this with nonperishable commercial dog treats, no chicken.
- Stuff a toy full of treats to encourage long-lasting good behavior such as lying quietly next to you in the living room or spending quiet time in the crate. Use a Kong toy or Bullymake rubber toy that is durable against power chewers and keep doggies entertained.
- Training treats are only meant for training. While your pup may beg for these treats all the time, they are designed for supplemental feeding. Supplemental feeding means for training purposes only. Do not give your dog a bowl full of these treats at each meal just because he loves them so much.
- A training treat pouch or bag can be highly useful for easy access to treats while teaching commands and skills. Instead of fumbling with a plastic bag that creates a distraction for your dog, just reach in your pouch that’s attached to your belt.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. My dog is a picky eater. What treats should I use?[su_icon icon=”icon: arrow-right” color=”#008000″]Your best option is to test different types of treats (crunchy vs soft vs people food) until you find what he likes. [/su_icon]
2. Is it really okay to use people food as training treats?[su_icon icon=”icon: arrow-right” color=”#008000″]Yes, but with caution and moderation. Don’t use too much because that’s a lot of calories. Only use the foods listed in this article. Processed foods are unhealthy for dogs. Organic food without seasonings are typically okay. [/su_icon]
3. My dog has an allergy to a specific type or brand of treat. What should I do?[su_icon icon=”icon: arrow-right” color=”#008000″]If you know which ingredient your dog is allergic to, find a treat that does not include that ingredient. If you don’t know exactly which ingredient it is, consult your veterinarian about what your possibilities are. You may be able to test for the allergy.[/su_icon]
As food-motivated creatures, training treats are a highly important part of training, regardless of basic commands versus advanced training. We hope you can find a training treat that is within your budget and your dog loves. Don’t be afraid to try different treats.
Leave a comment or question with your training treat experiences! Thanks for reading!