Sit! Stay! High-Five! Oh boy, training your new pup is gonna be a full time job, but using the right training treats can help your puppy learn to rollover and shake like a pro. Training is easier when your puppy feels engaged. Pick the best training treats for puppies to have them drooling in anticipation.
Welcoming a new puppy into your home can be equally exciting and nerve-racking, especially if it's your first time. From the second they are born, puppies are learning, growing and adapting to their environment. To make sure you are ready for your new addition, make sure you have everything from our new puppy checklist.
When you bring your new pup home, it’s important to help them through this transition by providing the stability and routine that they need to succeed. Just like kids, puppies require a structured environment to thrive and develop. It may sound strict and boring, but dogs are instinctively eager to please. They desperately crave that “good boy” title, and with the right tools, any dog can be a great dog.
Ways to Reward Your Puppy
Your puppy training adventure starts with day one. You’ll likely need to potty train, crate train or just teach them the basics of good manners. They need to know what’s theirs and what’s yours, and what is or isn’t appropriate behaviour.
Incentivizing good behaviour and development is the best way to help your puppy to connect with the lessons that you are teaching. There are many different ways to reward your dog for a job well done. We've outlined a few of the easiest training techniques for beginners, but for more information about the best kind of training methods, check out this blog from The Happy Puppy Site, Best Dog Training Methods.
Show Your Enthusiasm
Never underestimate the value of a compliment. Regardless of whether they understand the words or not, your tone can convey the message perfectly. Verbal rewards are high value and complimentary to other training tools and methods.
Quick and high pitched tones communicate excitement, so keep your congratulatory remarks short and consistent.
In no time, your pup will be just as excited about their success as you are. Remember to use the same or similar words to help your dog connect the action to the words, and make sure your feedback is appropriately timed. You want to respond right away to avoid them not understanding which action was correct.
Negative verbal correction is an ineffective way of training, especially with very young puppies. Puppies tend to be more timid and easily spooked, so a harsh tone can be very discouraging.
Acting out can also be a way of getting attention. Remember that to a frustrated puppy, any attention is good attention. If they are being stubborn or uncooperative, ignore them until they can calm themselves down. Once they have settled, you can resume training.
Treat Training Your Puppy
This is probably the most common, and simplest method of training for dogs of all shapes and sizes. Puppies are easily distracted and excitable, so having a physical reward to complement the verbal praise will help keep them focused on the task at hand.
Training treats should always be appropriately sized for the animal and should be flavourful or aromatic enough to be attention-grabbing.
That being said, we see a lot of treats that are full of fillers, sugar, salt or other undesirable ingredients. Occasionally giving a junk-food type treat is OK, but if you're consistently treat training, you may want to elevate the quality of the treats to avoid digestive upsets and poor nutrition. For that reason, we have compiled a list of the healthiest training treats for Puppies.
10 Best Puppy Training Treats
1. Farm Fresh Dog Treats
With only nine ingredients, these thin pepperoni sticks are a tasty and healthy treat for your puppy. The soft texture allows you to tear or cut them into any size training treat you would like, or feed them whole for a larger reward.
Farm Fresh is a Canadian company that only uses Canadian sourced ingredients. Choose from either their beef or bacon formulas. Containing both heart and liver, these meaty treats will quickly grab your puppies attention
2. Northern Biscuit Soft & Chewy Bites
For very young puppies and smaller breeds, softer chewy treats may be more desirable, especially for teething puppies who may have tender gums. Northern Biscuit makes soft & chewy bites for just this purpose.
These moist treats have a stronger scent to help keep your dog focused on the task at hand.
3. Snack21 Wild Hawaiian Fish Treats
Fish-based treats have a pungent odour and are useful for encouraging pickier pets to stay attentive. Snack21 Hawaiian fish treats are small dried pieces of Ahi Tuna, Mahi Mahi, Opah and Swordfish.
No additives, preservatives or artificial flavours make these fishy snacks ideal for sensitive tummies. Fish is also rich in omega fatty acids, which can aid in digestion and promote healthier skin and coat health.
4. Plato Small Bites
Plato soft bites offer a perfectly sized, 2 calorie reward for lengthier training sessions. The softer texture allows you to break them into even smaller pieces for very tiny pups and anyone worried about over-feeding.
Rotate between salmon, chicken or duck flavours to provide a healthy, delicious and exciting reward.
5. Polkadog Chicken Littles
With only 3 ingredients, Chicken Littles are crunchy treats that are packed with flavour. They are dehydrated at a low temperature to make them softer than the average biscuit, but still crunchy enough to satisfy your dog's munchies.
These little bits are high in protein and very low in fat to provide a hearty meat flavour without being too calorie dense. We recommend these training treats for medium to large breed puppies.
6. Grandma Lucy's Organic Oven-Baked Treats
Remember Teddy Grahams? One of our favourite childhood snacks is now a healthy treat for your pup too. Grandma Lucy's Organic Oven-Baked Treats are offered in a variety of flavour options like blueberry, pumpkin and apple.
All of their oven-baked cookies are made with organic, human-quality ingredients. Each bear-shaped cookie is not only a delicious snack, but they are easily snapped into smaller pieces for high-value training rewards.
Pro tip: It may sound crazy, but give them a try yourself. They are quite possibly the tastiest dog snack we've ever tried.
7. Vital Essentials Duck Nibs
If you want huge flavour in a tiny package, then look no further. Vital Essentials Duck Nibs are freeze-dried ground duck, bone, organ meat and herring oil, making these rich meaty treats ideal for pickier pets.
Organ meat is full of essential vitamins and minerals, and the fish oil provides a healthy source omega fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat.
8. Coco Therapy Coco Charms
Size is the key to training treats, and these are some of the tiniest biscuits available. Coco-Charms come in two delicious flavours, pumpkin pie and blueberry cobbler, and they smell as good as they sound. Coco Therapy uses only organic, GMO-free ingredients that are packed with nutrition and flavour.
As you can probably guess from the name, coconut and coconut oil are used to supply a healthy fat source, and with only 1 calorie per treat, you won’t feel bad about rewarding a little more enthusiastically than normal.
9. Darford Grain Free Mini Biscuits
Better for larger breeds because of their size, these cookies are both healthy and yummy. Darford offers a huge variety of flavours to appease picky pets and has grain-free and vegetarian options for dogs with sensitivities or allergies.
The mini sizes of these biscuits are easily snapped in half to lengthen training sessions without spoiling their appetite. Naturally flavoured and packed with organic fruits and veggies, Darford biscuits are a nutritious reward for your puppies hard work.
10. ValuePack Canadian Pork Liver Bites
Another of our bulk products, pork liver bites are smaller than other liver treats to save you the trouble of having to cut or break into smaller pieces. Sold in bulk sizes, up to a whole kilogram, for only $39.99, ValuePack Pork Liver Bites are one of (if not) the most affordable freeze-dried liver treats on the market.
These treats are great for dogs of any size and can even be fed to cats!
Keep Your Training Treat Fresh and Fun
Treat are meant to be exciting, so switch up your flavours and textures to keep treat training both effective and fun. We recommend, if you are using a treat pouch, or even just your pocket, throw a mix of different treats in there that you know your puppy loves, this way he gets something different every time.
Treats can be changed much easier than food. If you are trying a new treat, test out the new treat in a training session by feeding a small amount with your normal treat mix. If your puppy has no difficulties with the new treats, then you are safe to incorporate them into your regular treating routine.
Be Cautious of Overindulging
When doing long training sessions throughout the day, it’s easy to overfeed your dog. Treats shouldn’t be much more than about 10% of their caloric intake for the day, so try to keep your treats as small as possible, and reduce meals to accommodate heavier treat days. This will allow you to train for longer without spoiling their appetite.
Many softer, freeze-dried or chewy treats can be broken or cut into smaller pieces. Try freezing the softer treats that you’ve cut to prevent them from going stale before you can use them.
Whatever your training method or methods are, be consistent and positive. It can be frustrating when it seems like they just aren’t catching on, but it will eventually click. Consistency and repetition will work, so keep calm and treat on!
What's the go to puppy training treat at your house? Share your best treat training tips with us in the comments below.
Posted by Krystn Janisse
Krystn is a passionate pet nutrition enthusiast. She has worked in the pet industry for over a decade and loves to share her passion for animal welfare with others. She loves all animals but is currently channelling some crazy cat lady vibes with her five lovable, but rebellious cats.