Last week we talked about introducing a new puppy into your home. This week, we want to touch on training and the value of good treats. Most dogs train best when rewarded with a treat. Yes, some only require a loving pat and a “Good girl or boy!” but puppies in general require a material reward for a job well done. When they are older, some dogs will do anything for their favorite toy or a belly rub, but puppies are new to the world and the best reward is most always a high value food reward.
Now, most puppies are not picky when it comes to treats. They will eat anything. The temptation is there to grab a cheap box of dog treats at the grocery store, but think about it. You have done a lot of research on the food you’re feeding your pup. You portion properly and make sure that your puppy gets the exercise she needs to stay in top shape. When training, your puppy can eat an amazing amount of treats. Have you thought about the amount of calories and what is actually in those treats? You could be over feeding your dog and not even know it! Some people have fought digestive issues with their puppies and after a long, expensive process, found out that the treats they were giving their puppy (or dog) actually caused the digestive issues.
You need to keep your treats closely related to the food you’re feeding your pup. It’s also important to know where they came from and what exactly is in them. Some trainers recommend buying frozen liver from your supermarket, cooking it slowly in your oven, then cutting it up in small bite sized bits and freezing them. That’s a great idea but it may be a bit labor intensive…not to mention smelly. There are manufacturers who make treats in many different varieties, from many different ingredients that are every bit as good as the food you’re feeding your pup. A bit of research will yield many results. If you live in the Exeter NH area, stop into the Pet Pantry and check out the quality grain free treats they have there and pick their brain on a good quality food as well.
When you do treat your puppy, there’s no need to give her large treats. Break them up into very small bits. She will enjoy them no matter what the size and you can feel good that you’re not over feeding her.
You will be amazed how your puppy will respond to treating. Treats can encourage potty training, healing, sit, stay, come, and a host of other desirable behaviors. Just remember to give everything you are feeding your puppy the same scrutiny you’re giving to the food you’re feeding her.
Lastly, enjoy every second. They are only a puppy for a short period of time.