From obedience, to agility, to simply spoiling your dog because you want to, these dog training treats are tasty and highly-nutritious options. Suitable for any diet, including a raw dog food diet.
Natural training treats are a helpful tool for positive reinforcement training. Their purpose is to let your dog know that they’ve done something right, and to make them want to repeat the desired behaviour to get another tasty morsel.
However, it’s still important to consider your dog’s nutritional requirements while training. Unfortunately, many dog treats are intensively processed and contain ingredients that are not beneficial to a dog’s digestive system.
In contrast, animal protein-based, air-dried or freeze-dried dog training treats aid the training process, while also adding to their nutritional profile in a positive way.
How are dog training treats different from other treats?
Natural dog training treats are designed to be given frequently and in small amounts, so your dog can keep working on their new skills (or polishing pre-existing ones) without getting too full.
That’s why when you see “training treats” in a product name, you’ll notice that the size of the treat itself is usually quite small; just enough to give your dog a taste of their reward before continuing on with their session.
What to look for in healthy dog training treats
Protein-based training treats for dogs are the best, they should contain minimal ingredients other than the protein. This eliminates the risk of feeding any fillers, chemicals, or other undesirable ingredients to your dog throughout the training process.
Choosing air-dried or freeze-dried means the enriching vitamins and minerals of the raw ingredient are preserved through the gently drying process.
By choosing raw, natural dog training treats, you can rest assured you are providing your dog with additional vitamins and minerals whilst training them, rather than offering junk food that essentially does not contribute healthfully to their nutrition.
Single ingredient proteins are helpful for dogs with food allergies or intolerances. You can avoid accidentally feeding them the wrong food because there’s only one ingredient to be aware of, instead of a mix of several different ingredients that may trigger their food sensitivity symptoms.
Air-dried or freeze-dried treats are also beneficial because they have fewer (or hopefully zero) preservatives; the closest option to raw dog training treats. Using gentle dehydration methods means the freshness is preserved without additives, while maintaining the nutritional value and most importantly, the delicious taste.
This results in rewards that are highly desirable and motivational to your dog, giving you a tool to encourage only their best behaviour while remaining confident you are providing the nutrition they need without worrying about shelf life.
How to feed training treats for dogs
It’s important to remember that training treats add up in the calorie department, which means that they should be calculated as part of your dog’s daily food intake. For example, if you’ve fed your dog 20 training treats throughout the day, you’ll need to calculate the weight and compensate for that amount when you feed them their evening meal. Likewise, if you plan on training in the early part of the day, a smaller breakfast is in order.
To help calculate your dog’s ideal feeding quantity when feeding a raw food diet check out our handy calculator tool.
Treats should ideally be given within 2-3 seconds after a behaviour has been performed, to account for dogs’ short-term memories. It’s also possible to use treats as a “lure” when first introducing a new behaviour, but this should only be done minimally. The idea is to show them how to do something, then reward them for a job well done, not bribe them into doing it!
More information about dog training treats
Treats are an easy, fun way to communicate with your dog that you’re pleased with them. Whether you’re using them for training, or you simply enjoy treating your dog from time to time, it’s also important to consider the nutritional value of the treats you’re feeding them. For a complete guide on the healthiest treats for your dog (along with which ones to stay away from), check out our guide on treats to use when feeding a raw diet.