The Right (and Wrong) Treats for Training

They’ve got to go down easy.


When training either a puppy or adult dog, you’re going to need lots of food treats to keep your pet focused on getting it right. But to make sure not too many of his calories come from treats, which are generally not complete and balanced nutritionally, make sure each one is no bigger than your smallest fingernail. Other tips for training treats:

  • Make sure the treat can be gulped in one bite so the dog doesn’t get caught up in chewing and let his attention drift.
  • Make sure the treats are delectable, especially if the trick is a difficult one. That helps keep motivation high. Tiny pieces of frankfurter, cheese, or chicken liver come to mind.
  • Make sure the treats aren’t crumbly. You don’t want your dog vacuuming them off the floor rather than paying attention to your lesson.
  •  Proffer treats immediately for a job well done. If you spend even just 10 to 15 seconds fumbling through a plastic bag, your dog will think every time he heeds your cue, the result is that you fumble with a bag. He will not get it that the end result is food.


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