Best Healthy Dog Treats For Training

In a rush and just want my recommendation?  I think the Freeze-Dried Beef Liver Training Treats are a great choice.

There are a multitude of reasons for carrying out some basic training with your dog. All it takes is some time, patience and an incentive for your dog to want to learn. That’s why having some tasty treats is vital. But having the best training treats is important, because your hound will be eating lots of them during your training sessions. 

In this article, I’m reviewing the following dog treats for training.

Why Is Training My Dog Important?

First and foremost, dog obedience keeps them safe. For example, they may be about to run into the path of a car, so they must come when you call them back. If they’re about to eat something toxic, they have to drop it when you say so. They will enjoy a lot more off-leash time if you know they have a reliable recall. That means that when you call them, you’re 100% certain they will come to you.

If you don’t have a fenced yard, knowing your dog will come to you when called is essential.

A further training benefit is that you won’t have to live with an unruly dog who harms or annoys you, or other people. They won’t chase other dogs, cats or livestock. They won’t bite or attack other animals or humans. A trained dog usually doesn’t chew household items, their crate or bowls.

Last but not least, training your dog is fun, for both of you. It strengthens the bond between you, and establishes the pack order. Dogs feel safe and secure knowing you’re the boss.

What Are The Best Treats For Training Your Dog?

Let’s be honest, not many dogs take their time to savor a treat. They invariably just swallow it whole, unless it’s large enough to chew. Since we’re going to be using quite a few of these treats, it’s important that they’re small, or able to be broken into small pieces. 

Are the treats kibble-style, soft straps or nugget shapes? What are the ingredients in the treats? Unless you’re making your own home-made treats, you need to carefully read the packaging of any product you buy. 

Treats have to be good quality, the same as the dinner your dog eats. That means you need to choose them as you would any other food your hound is going to consume.

Protein Source

Mix it up for them, if you can. Meat based treats with real fish, poultry, beef, pork, or lamb meat, or meal is a great start. Never buy anything with meat by-products listed on the package. These are usually things with no nutritional value, and can be harmful if ingested in large quantities.

Texture

There are many types of treats, including dry, semi-moist, jerky, freeze-dried, or wet. Your dog may show a preference for a certain type. If not, mix it up. It keeps your dog interested.

Size

Treats should be pea-sized at the most. If they’re larger, make sure you can easily make them smaller during training.

How To Train Your Dog To Come To You

The first thing is to make training fun, happy and full of opportunities for praise. Always positively reinforce good behavior with a treat, a game or a pat. Your dog should want to be with you because it’s fun, and they want to be part of it.

Start your recall training in your yard, or even in your house. Anywhere you can be confident your hound is safe.

  1. Put a treat in your hand and stand in front of your dog.
  2. Place your hand near your dog’s nose so they can smell it.
  3. Crouch down, start walking backwards and at the same time call them to you. They will naturally follow you because they want what is in your hand. Praise them, make a fuss and give them the treat. TIP: When you call them, make it a higher energy tone, excitable, but not shouting or ordering them to come.
  4. Repeat this process, gradually increasing the distance between you and your dog. You shouldn’t have to show them the treat after the first few times. They will just expect it to be there.
  5. When your dog is reliably coming when called, try going to a park or any open space. Get a friend to hold your dog’s collar, while you walk away. Call them to you, from increasing distances. Always praise them and give them a treat.

Extra Tips:

  • Whenever you give your dog a treat for coming when called, make sure you give them lots of praise and pats as well. They will associate all this positivity as one big treat, and eventually you will be able to call them to you, and they will be happy with just the love, and you won’t need to provide treats every time.
  • You never stop training. Even when your dog seems to be reliable, do refreshers every week.
  • Always, always praise them when they do what you ask.
  • Never call them to you, then scold them. Also don’t just call them back to put them on the leash. They will begin to have negative associations with coming back to you.
  • Remember that your dog actually does want to learn, and please you.
  • It is essential that training sessions with your dog be positive, lighthearted, and fun. Your dog can tell when you become frustrated. If that happens, take a break. Have a cup of tea, and go back to it a little later. Never scold your dog during a training session. That just introduces stress into the situation.

So you’re all set to start your first training session. Let’s have a look at some great treats for training your dog.

Freeze-Dried Beef Liver Training Treats

Containing over 450 treats per bag, that is enough for many training sessions! These treats contain three ingredients. 

  • Beef liver
  • Beef heart
  • Tocopherols

Tocopherols are a natural ingredient which extends the shelf-life of a product. They are completely safe for use in foodstuffs.

Other flavors available; sweet-potato, salmon, chicken, and rabbit.

These treats are low-calorie, less than 1 kcal per treat. They don’t contain anything other than the listed three ingredients, and are a nutritionally safe product. The high protein content from such a good source is a huge bonus.

The company also offers free dog training classes, so it really is the whole package.

Pros:

  • Dogs love the taste and aroma
  • Small pieces
  • Low calorie
  • Good protein source
  • No fillers or unnatural ingredients

Cons:

  • Higher price point
  • Can crumble in bag

Crazy Dog Train-Me!

These are an affordable option, but with a higher calorie content at 3 Kcal per treat. First ingredient is pork liver, so it is a good protein source. There are numerous ingredients and additives, including colorings and flavorings.

The treats are a small size, easy to handle and soft enough to be broken down further if you prefer. Good, strong bacon aroma that dogs love.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Value for money
  • Many dogs love them
  • Strong odor, attractive to dogs
  • Soft texture
  • Small size

Cons:

  • Higher calorie content
  • Contains fillers
  • Some customers report dog gastric issues after consuming

Pet Botanics Training Reward

Containing approximately 500 Treats per bag, this product is great value for money. The protein source is pork liver, and these little treats contain a blend of herbs and antioxidants.

No corn, artificial flavorings or unnatural additives. These treats are used extensively by dog trainers and behaviorists. They say the success is the rich, meaty aroma. With five flavors and four pack sizes to choose from, it’s easy to mix it up for your dog.

These are a great option, but they do have a higher calorie content at 3 Kcal per treat.

Pros:

  • Dogs love them
  • Good value
  • Pleasant, meaty odor
  • Soft enough to make smaller
  • Can be molded round medications
  • Lots of flavors

Cons:

  • Some dogs don’t like all flavors

Blue Bits Natural Soft-Moist

Beef is the first ingredient in these little treats. The packet says the product is enhanced with DHA. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid essential for brain development during pregnancy and early childhood. It is also linked to improved heart health, better vision, and reduced inflammatory response. 

These dog treats don’t contain any meat by-product meals, are free from corn, wheat, soy and artificial preservatives. The soft-moist rewards are good value for money, and there’s plenty of pack sizes available if you want to mix it up a little. They’re a small, 3.5 Kcal per treat and are soft enough to be able to break them up if you prefer. They are great for older dogs, too, who appreciate a softer reward.

Pros:

  • Dogs love them
  • Soft and moist
  • Good aroma
  • Value for money
  • Great for dogs with dental issues

Cons:

  • Contains sugar

Merrick Power Bites

These semi-moist treats have meat as the number one ingredient. They’re a good size, so can be broken down into smaller pieces to make them suitable for smaller dogs, or to make them go further. The 6oz pack contains roughly 80 treats.

There’s a fair amount of potato, and potato products on the ingredient list, as well as some good stuff like fruits, vegetables and flax-seed. Packed with Omega fatty acids for healthy skin and coat, these treats are gluten and grain-free.

Pros:

  • Excellent protein source
  • Omega fatty acids
  • Affordable
  • Ingredients sourced in USA
  • Most dogs love them
  • Semi-soft

Cons:

  • Contains salt

Conclusion

You could use any of these treats for short term training purposes. Some of the ingredients, such as extra sugar and salt I wish weren’t in any of them. I don’t know why manufacturers feel the need to put this stuff in. It’s humans that insist on that taste. Fortunately, the amounts added are tiny, so the treats are still fit for purpose, in moderation. 

For that reason alone, there is only one training treat I’d want to buy on a regular basis. My number one pick is the Freeze-Dried Beef Liver Training Treats.

There are only three ingredients in there, meat and natural, safe preservatives. What is not to love about these low-calorie treats? I’d happily train my dog with them, and keep them on hand for other daily rewards, too. The smaller size makes them good value, and there are around 450 per pack. Simple, safe, quality ingredients. That’s all I ask for my hounds.

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