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Giving your dog a treat is a fun way to reward and reinforce good behavior. Treats are a superior alternative to feeding your dog everyday table scraps. They can be used to help establish a trusting and loving relationship with a new dog or reinforce your existing bond. They are an enormous help when training. And, simply put, treats make your dog happy – and that makes you happy.
When giving treats to your dog, there are a few important things to keep in mind:
Treat in Moderation
Treats are meant to be a supplemental part of your dog’s diet. Keep in mind, many treats don’t meet the same nutritional requirements for dog food and should only be fed in moderation. Not only that, they tend to be higher in calories and, just like humans who eat too many snacks, they can make a dog chubby. The general rule of thumb is that treats shouldn’t make up more than 10% of your dog’s diet.
Choose Treats that are Appropriate for your Dog
Dog treats come in many shapes and sizes, flavors, textures, and – most importantly – ingredients. A treat that might be appropriate for one dog may be all wrong for another.
Look for treats that are healthy and delicious, but also include a healthy component for your dog. And of course, look for treats that are made in the USA with locally sourced ingredients. For example, Yummy Chummies new Baked Biscuits are 100% grain free, made with wild-caught salmon, cod or halibut from Alaska – never anywhere else. What’s more, they are naturally rich in Omega 3 fatty acids that promote healthy skin, coat and heart.
Avoid treats that have a lot of added sugar and fat and stay away from treats that don’t use high quality ingredients.
Know your dog’s size and chewing style to determine which treats suit him. Does your dog prefer a soft and chewy treat or a crunchy biscuit? Is he a large dog that can handle big cookies or should you get smaller bites for your little dog? It’s important that you buy the proper size relative to the size of your dog. Dog treats that are too large or too small can cause esophageal obstructions in some dogs.
Different dogs prefer different kinds of treats. Brands like Yummy Chummies have mastered this concept, offering healthy treats that are both chewy & crunchy – and dogs love them. Their grain free, USA-made treats are a favorite in my house.
Use Treats in Training
Some people are concerned about using treats during dog training. They believe dog treats are more like bribery than training tools. Nothing could be further from the truth. Treats are a simple and effective way to reinforce good behavior!
It goes without saying, but when training and rewarding your dog, use high quality treats that your dog will want to work for. They should be enticing and irresistible to your pup. When training and rewarding your pet with a treat, you should couple it with a verbal reward (praise). Say something like, “Yes!” or “Good dog,” in a positive, happy tone of voice. Then give your dog the treat.
Don’t reinforce bad behavior! Remember; never give your dog treats when they are displaying undesirable behavior, like jumping up, showing aggression or begging for your dinner! This reinforces that bad behavior and teaches your dog bad habits.
Use Treats to Bond with your Dog
Giving your dog a well-deserved treat can be as satisfying for you as it is for him. Treats help build the bond between you. They’re one way to show how much you care.
Giving your dog treats is a good thing, regardless of whether or not you’re teaching him new tricks! Like any good thing though, it has to be done in moderation. If you’re giving a lot of treats, take that into consideration and adjust the amount of food he gets accordingly. You don’t want your dog consuming more calories than he needs because he is getting treats during training sessions.
Next time you’re grabbing a treat for yourself or the kids, don’t forget about your dog. Yummy Chummies offers plenty of options to help you treat him right!