The Best Treats to Use When Training Your Dog

dog-training-treatsMost dogs love food, and rewarding your pet during training with treats can be one of the most effective ways to train. Giving your dog a variety of different food options can help to keep this method effective. From using lower-quality store bought treats to higher-quality homemade dog treats, rewarding behavior with your pet’s favorite food is usually one of the best and sometimes the only way to train your dog. Ideally, dog training treats are: easy to carry, healthy and easily broken down in smaller portions. This article explains the different food choices you have to reward your dog for excelling during training.


You may be wondering “what’s the best kind of treat to use when training my pet dog?” Whether you’re crate training a puppy or teaching your adult dog some sure-to-impress tricks, here are some of the most common and most effective kinds of treats to use during training:


Option 1: Use Your Dog’s Normal Diet as Training Treats

This is a great option, especially for puppies and adolescent dogs. The two most common options store purchased options are: dry food (kibble) or wet (canned) food – the more transportable option is most likely the kibble. While canned food can be difficult to transport and dish out without making a mess, kibble and other dry food such as dog biscuits are small and can easily be carried in a Ziplock bag your pocket and dished out in small quantities. This is, of course, only a good option if your dog already enjoys their regular food!

In order to keep this method effective, try giving your dog a variety by including small portions of real food (such as chicken or beef jerky) in order to keep your dog excited about training. Using your dog’s normal food can also be a great option if you’re trying to keep your pet on a diet or your dog is sensitive to eating other kinds of food.



Kibble is a simple and cheap but excellent option during training. It’s easy to carry and can be given in very small portions.


Option 2: Store Bought Treats as a Reward for Good Behavior

Dog-treats-for-motivating-k9-training (Medium)

Store treats come in a wide variety of different sizes and flavors – go with what you dog loves the most!

The usual go-to treat for most dog owners, there is nothing wrong with making use of pre-made dog treats that you can buy at the store. However, it is important to try and look for treats that made with only organic/natural ingredients such as meat, nuts, cheese etc. It is also important to avoid known allergens for dogs such as corn, wheat and other additives. The old rule of thumb when buying canned and packaged food is: if you can’t pronounce one of the ingredients, it probably isn’t good for your pet.

It’s always a good idea to check the ingredients of whatever dog food you buy to make sure you aren’t feeding your best friend something that could cause long-term health problems or could potentially shorten the life of your furry companion. Studies have shown that feeding most breeds of dogs natural and organic foods increases their life expectancy and reduces the likelihood of health problems in later life.


Option 3: Small Portions of Human Food as Treats

This easily accessible treat option is loved by just about all dogs. From the more obvious choice fresh meat to different vegetables, there are a variety of human foods that you can give your dog as a treat while training or working on new tricks. Several other options include: baby food (as both babies and dogs don’t like spicy food), dried meat, small pieces of cheese, canned vegetables, as well as liquids such as gravy or yogurt. Dried eggs are another option that many dog owners don’t usually think of. You also can buy a liquid food dispenser to carry and give your dog any liquid foods.

Generally, “people food” is the healthiest option for feeding your pet, but it’s still a good idea to consult with a trusted veterinarian and a good book on dogs’ diets before giving your pet any unfamiliar food products.



You don’t have be a dog enthusiast to know that most dogs love food – and your dog will love you even more than usual for using real meat during training!


Option 4: Homemade Dog Treats

using dog biscuits during trainingIf you don’t want to spend the money on store-bought treats or are concerned about the unnatural ingredients that many mass-produced dog foods are made with (the most prominent being corn) there are plenty of recipes out there for making all-natural treats of your own. These options are just as good as any packaged dog foods, and your dog will love them just the same, if not more. These can involve ingredients such as tuna, turkey, or other meat products.

We’ve yet to meet the dog that didn’t go wide-eyed with excitement at the slightest smell of fresh meat in a trainer’s hands. Several great dog treat recipes can be found at the website This site provides recipes for all kinds of enticing treats as Tuna Brownies or Turkey Treats, all of which can be easily transported, are easily broken into smaller chunks, or frozen for later use.

Ultimately, the best dog training treats are the ones that your dog loves the most! Most dogs will go goggle-eyed at the mere smell of their favorite kind of snack (which, not surprisingly, is usually the more expensive kinds of food), and the best way to keep your dog excited during training is to use his or her favorite food as a reward.

Also, if your dog or puppy is on a special diet or is allergic to certain kinds of food, it’s best to just stick to using the simplest and easiest to digest treats (such as small pieces of canned dry chicken or beef).



Your dog will love training with treats!

And, if you’re feeding your dog a lot of treats during a training session, don’t forget to include that in your diet plan for your pet, otherwise you might end up overfeeding your dog (not that most dogs would complain about that…)

Using dog training treats in combination with positive reinforcement or clicker training can make training fun, not just a chore. Remember to patient and consistent while training and dishing out treats (and to always reward good behavior) and you will soon have the well-behaved dog you’ve been dreaming of.

Whether you’re training a lovable labrador or a rambunctious rottweiler, using the best training treats can help you to teach your pet crate training, obedience training, and even help you nail that routine of challenging tricks so you can show off how clever your dog is to your friends and neighbors!

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