What Kind Of Treats To Use For Dog Training

what kind of treats to use for dog training
Photo Credit: Eric Sonstroem, flickr.com

Dog treats are hard snacks produced with selected dietary supplements for dogs.  They are used for training or for providing comfort to a dog.

When it comes to nose sensitivity, dogs are 40 times more sensitive than humans. They can detect the odor of a treat from a few yards and even know some of the ingredients it contains. Therefore, treats can be used to instill a submissive behavior in a dog and reinforce positive actions too.

Because treats are used to show love to a pet, they need to be given at the right time, with the right motive and in the right quantities to avoid rewarding negative behaviors and increasing the calorie intake levels.

Treats sometimes have high calorific values and thus, should constitute only 10% of the dog’s diet. Let’s find out the treats to use for dog training.

Varieties of Dog Treats

There are different types of dog treats and they vary in their texture and ingredients. Some of them are:

Dog Biscuits

They are hard and dry dog food made with the same ingredients as human biscuits. It is rich in carbohydrates, protein, fats, and fiber.

The conventional dog biscuit is bone-shaped and colored according to its flavor. The popular flavors are beef, cheese, chicken, bacon, coconut, and peanut butter. There are sizes suitable for small dogs and those suitable for large dogs.

Apart from the bone shape of dog biscuits, other shapes also do exist.

There are dog biscuits that are made specifically for dogs with special nutritional requirements and there are the low-fat varieties for overweight dogs.

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Chewy Treats

They are soft, chewy, pleasant-tasting and are available in a different flavor, sizes, and shapes. Boneless meat, veggies, and fresh fruits are the main components of chewy treats.

There are different varieties of chewy treats. Some of them are chicken jerky, liver brownies, oatmeal chew with peach, and apple and peanut-butter chews.

They are baked for a short period to keep it chewy and they can be stored in a refrigerator.

Liver brownies are made with ground beef, chicken or turkey, combined with cornmeal and salt. Chicken jerky is simply oven-dried chick strips. Peanut butter chews are made with flour, apples, peanut butter and eggs. Oatmeal chews are made with peaches, molasses, vegetable oil, flour, oatmeal, and cinnamon.

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There are lots of dog-friendly cupcakes that are made with varieties of ingredients and flavors. Some of the popular flavors are:

i. Apple and cheddar cheese cupcake made with fresh apples, applesauce, and cheddar cheese

ii. Peanut butter and milk pup cake made with milk, peanut butter, and cream cheese

iii. Banana and carrot cupcake made with banana, cream cheese, applesauce, carrots, and peanut butter

iv. Oatmeal and banana cupcake made with dog biscuits, oatmeal, banana, eggs, and evaporated milk.

v. Peanut honey cupcake made with honey and peanuts.

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Jerky Treats

These are dried strips of meat. It comes in different varieties like beef jerky, chicken jerky, and salmon jerky. Some are fortified with vitamins, minerals, Omega-3 fatty acids, and other dietary supplements.

They are preferred over natural chews and are satisfying to the dog.

Giving many jerky treats to a dog at a time could lead to ill-health.

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Bone-like Dental Chews

They are dental treats used in improving the gums and teeth in dogs as well as the reduction of bad breath. There are two types of dental chews:

Edible Dental Chews are rawhides, bones, hard biscuits, and dental diets. Rawhides are the dry hide of cows, donkeys or horses. Dental diets contain additives or are coated with bacteria that can fight tartar and plaque in dogs.

Inedible Dental Chews are toys that are not edible and are used for dogs that have sharp teeth and chew up edible dental chews quickly.

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Pig Ears

They are dry pig ears that are used to keep dog gums clean and their teeth healthy. They are easy to chew and are delicious to dogs.

Pig ears have high-fat content and should not be given to dogs daily or in large quantities. They are most suitable for small dogs and moderate seniors.

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Diet Treats

These are treats formulated for dogs on a diet. They are specially manufactured to suit different nutritional needs and are sometimes available on order.

Some treats are high in calories and can cause weight gain. It is better to incorporate low calorie treats in a dog’s diet.

Some of these diet treats contain green beans, carrots, apples, raspberries, broccoli, and other vegetables.

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Composition of Dog Treats

The component that makes up dog foods vary but they are generally made with meat, meat derivatives, grains, nuts, vitamins, minerals, and preservatives.

There are so many brands of dog food with different ingredients in them. The basic components of dog food are


Dogs are omnivores and derive most of their energy from carbohydrates. There are a great number of foods that contain carbohydrates, but dog treats are produced mainly from grains, few tubers, and vegetables.

Grains like beans, rice, oats, soy, wheat, barley, and oats can be used either in whole, cracked or flour form to manufacture dog food.


The type of protein used to make dog food comes in different forms. Fresh meat cuts from chicken and beef, heart, liver, and bones can be processed and ground into meat meals.

Meat meals are also known as meat by-products. These meat parts are usually rendered before being turned into meals.

Rendering of meat is the removal of moisture and fat from meat and bones.

Other sources of protein for dog food are soy, corn, and wheat.


They are an important part of a balanced diet. It helps keep the skin and hair of dogs healthy. they also improve the texture and enhance the flavor of the food.

The source of fat used can be of plant or animal origin. They are added during dog food processing or sprayed on them after processing.

Moderation on the number of fat components included and the use of healthy fats are strongly advised.

Vitamins and Minerals

Vitamins and minerals are essential in digestion, immune system functions, metabolism and nervous system coordination of animals.

Some of these vitamins and minerals cannot be manufactured by the body and are solely gotten from diets. It has, therefore, become a practice with dog food manufacturers to always add them to dog food since they can be lost during processing.

Some of these vitamins are thiamin (Vitamin B1), Vitamin C, Vitamin E, beta-carotene (Vitamin A), biotin (Vitamin H or B7), riboflavin (Vitamin B2), and Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6).

They can be incorporated into the dog food either in liquid or in solid form.


Preservatives are added in food to extend its shelf-life and improve its taste. There are two types of preservatives used in dog food production: antioxidants and antimicrobials.

Antioxidants slow down the oxidation of fats in food thereby stopping the food from going rancid. Antimicrobials stop the growth of fungi (mold and yeast) and bacteria in the food.

Natural preservatives like Vitamin E and artificial preservatives like BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole or E320) or BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene) are the most used preservative for dog food production.

Best Treats To Use for Dog Training

There are a lot of treats that can be used to train dogs. Choices can be based on its components, its main ingredients, its size, and its nutritional composition. Some of the training treats are:

Zuke’s Natural Training Dog Treats

It is made with oats and peanut butter. Due to its low calories, it is good for use as a training treat. It is also suitable for small dog breeds.

It also contains healthy ingredients like turmeric and cherries. Turmeric is an anti-inflammatory agent and helps in treating dogs with arthritis. Its anti-inflammatory properties help to reduce muscle stiffness and joint pain experienced in arthritis.

Cherries are a source of vitamins and fiber.

This product does not contain soy, wheat, color, flavor or additives.

Zuke's Natural Training Dog Treats; Mini Naturals Recipe; Made in USA Facilities, 16 oz, Peanut Butter and Oats

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Wellness Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats

Perfect for puppies, soft, chewy and made with lamb and salmon. It contains only natural ingredients and is great for training and treating.

Suitable for everyday use.

It does not contain soy, corn, and artificial flavor and colors.

Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Natural Grain Free Puppy Training Treats, Lamb & Salmon, 3-Ounce Bag

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Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Crunchy Dog Treats

It is made with turkey strips and is perfect for the dog that is on grain-free diets. This protein-packed treat contains no poultry by-products, preservatives, color or flavor.

This wholesome turkey jerky is formulated to improve the health of the dog, provide high nutritional values and help in building strong muscles. The ingredients used to make it are turkey, salt, and molasses.

Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats High Protein Grain Free Crunchy Dog Treats Biscuits, Turkey Recipe 24-oz Bag

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PURINA Beggin’ Dog Training Treats

Made with real bacon and is soft to enable chewing. It does not contain artificial flavor and colors. Ideal to treat in-between meals and training.

Shaped and tastes like bacon, packed in a resealable pouch and has an amazing meaty flavor.

Purina Beggin' Strips Made in USA Facilities Dog Training Treats, Original With Bacon - 40 oz. Pouch

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Old Mother Hubbard Classic Crunchy Natural Dog Treats

Made with wholesome all-natural ingredients that are presented in four flavors: Original, Cheddar, chicken and Char Tar.

It is shaped like a bone, crunchy and oven-baked to preserve its nutrients.

Perfect for daily treating and training.

Old Mother Hubbard Classic Crunchy Natural Dog Treats, Original Assortment Small Biscuits, 20-Ounce Bag

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Milk-Bone Macrosnacks Dog Snacks

Made with biscuits and real bone marrow. This treat is delicious and crunchy. Perfect for training and in-between meals treating.

Rich in calcium and helps your dog to develop strong bones and teeth. Rich in Iron and free of artificial colors and flavors. Contains sugar.

Suitable for dogs that are easily bored with normal treats and love to chew.

MilkBone MaroSnacks Dog Treats for Dogs of All Sizes 40 Ounces

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Blue Buffalo BLUE Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats

It is made with real beef, tender, bite-sized and is ideal for dog training. It does not contain any poultry by-product, corn, soy or wheat, artificial colors or flavors.

Full of nutrients and fortified with DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) which help to improve cognitive abilities.

Blue Buffalo BLUE Bits Natural Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats, Beef Recipe 9-oz bag

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Tips on How to Choose the Best Training Treat for Your Dog

When training a dog, it is important to keep her motivated and interested. The best way to do that is with the use of treats.

These are factors to consider before choosing training treats for your dog.

This video explains how to choose and handle your dog training treats.

Treat size

If the training treat is small and easy to chew, it gives you enough time to repeat commands. This will make the training time shorter and interesting.

Large treats will take longer time to consume and time will be wasted in-between commands, thereby making training boring over time.

It is best to choose small-sized treats for training or large treats that are easy to break.

This will also reduce the number of treats a dog will consume in each training session to avoid weight gain and stomach disorders.

Dog’s Favorite:

Training a dog requires time, effort, consistency, patience, and of course, a delicious treat. It must be a treat that the dog can’t resist. It will motivate her to obey and do all she can to get them.

If the snacks chosen for the training is not a favorite, after several commands, she might lose interest and training sessions will be virtually over.

It is best to try out several treats and find out the favorites and use them for training sessions.


Dogs can get bored of a treat if it is used for a long time. It is therefore important to switch treats up from time to time.

Changing treats regularly will keep your dog interested and make training sessions fun. If the dog is unable to predict the treats to given during training, she will always look forward to it.


Although we are sometimes tempted to share our meals with our dogs or use leftovers for training, it is not always the best practice.

It is best to stick to treats made specifically for dogs.

While choosing treats for dogs, look out for familiar ingredients and avoid products that contain a high quantity of sodium, sugar and any trace of allergens, preservatives, artificial colors and flavors.

It is also worthy to note that overfeeding a dog during training sessions can cause a lot of discomfort and even health problems.