It’s hard to resist treating your puppy, but it’s good to keep their health in mind. Here’s how to choose healthy treats and use them to train your puppy.
Treats are a great training tool to help teach your puppy the basics, but you do need to be careful of the ones you choose and how many you give your puppy. Here’s our guide to puppy treats – how to choose and use them.
Using treats to reward good behaviour
Most puppies will love being rewarded with puppy treats during training sessions. If a puppy knows that you are carrying treats and they are responsive to this type of reward system, you’ll be able to hold their attention and make headway with their training. You should complete your training session with a treat and lots of praise, being careful to not let your session run too long or you’ll lose their attention. Choosing a healthy treat they love will help you make the most of your lessons.
Treating when the time is right
Their super-keen puppy nose will be able to sniff out a treat in no time, but be sure that you’re not rewarding over-excited behaviour. Make sure your dog is in a calm frame of mind and is rewarded for correctly responding to one of your cues. This will reinforce the basics of your training sessions and lay strong foundations for good behaviour.
Finding the best treat for your puppy
Just as we humans have to be wary of the treats we choose, you must consider your puppy’s health when buying treats. There are lots of healthy treats on the market, so check out the back of the packet and ask your vet’s advice about the best choices for your dogs. Always look for puppy treats that contain real ingredients like meat, chicken and fish, and avoid options that are high in sugar, preservatives and saturated fats. Treats with dental benefits and lots of vitamins and nutrients are a great way to keep them healthy.
Treating in moderation
At this early stage, you’ll be training your puppy on a daily basis and of course be tempted to treat them all the time. Especially when they’re small, you need to be sure that you don’t overfeed them or upset their sensitive stomachs. Ration the treats you plan to use when you’re training them and be sure that it’s not too much when combined with their meals. Carrying too much weight can lead to serious health problems for dogs, so be sure you understand how much your pet should weigh.
Human treats aren’t puppy treats
The treats we love can have a negative impact on our puppy’s health. Their metabolism is very different to ours, so it’s important to remember that they will react differently to human food. Chocolate is toxic to dogs and a small piece of one of the many high-fat, high-salt or high-sugar foods we eat can be harmful to our pets. It’s best to keep these all to yourself and have your puppy stick to treats that are made for them.