Puppy Training Treats: The Key to Successful Training
What should I use for training treats?
There are several criteria for the perfect training treat:
The treats need to be small. No bigger than the fingernail on your little finger. You want to have lots of repetitions in your training session, so small pieces that are quick to eat are best, which helps to avoid over-feeding your pup.
The treats need to be moist. Again, dry treats take longer to eat and will make your puppy thirsty – causing distractions.
Your puppy needs to love them! To get your pup motivated to play the training game, they must be excited about the reward. What would inspire you more, your favourite chocolate/wine/cake or a stick of celery…?
“To get your pup motivated to play the training game, they must be excited about the reward”
What are good things to use as Training Treats?
While there are many commercial produced puppy training treats for sale, they are often expensive and usually too big or too dry. And, as I’m sure your puppy will agree, nothing beats actual fresh food. Here are two of the best that Kimber definitely approves of:
- Cooked chicken or turkey (preferably poached as that keeps it super moist)
- Mild cheese
Prepare these treats ahead of time – cut them up into tiny pieces and put them in a tub or pouch, ready to go. During training sessions, you don’t want to waste time tearing off bits to the correct size. Both will survive in the fridge in a sealed tub for a few days, so you can ‘make’ a batch ahead of time.
What should I avoid using?
- Anything too big
- Anything too dry
- Anything your pup’s not excited about
- Anything too high in salt (such as processed ham)
- Commercial puppy treats. (They’re usually overpriced, too big and not as exciting as real chicken or cheese!)
Can I use my Puppy’s Kibble?
Yes. If your puppy totally loves it and is excited by it. Which is unlikely, so no.
You are trying to get your pup to learn something new; they need to be motivated and excited. If you’re offering up the same thing your puppy gets for doing nothing, it will not give that motivation.
While these are good guidelines for most pups, every dog is different. The number one priority for training treats is that your puppy loves them and is excited by them. If that happens to be processed ham, fine, but use sparingly; teeny tiny pieces. If they go bonkers for a commercial training treat, again, fine.
Try a few things, and see what works for the pair of you.