What Kind of Treats Should You Use to Train Your Dog?

by | Aug 14, 2023

What do we say, the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach!  I do recall that is speaking about a man’s stomach though, lol, so, what kind of treats should you use to train your dog?

I have been involved with dogs for a number of years and many years ago I bred Maltese dogs and I could not understand why most Maltese had stained hair around their eyes which did not add to their appearance of white beauty.

I started doing some research, as in my mind, God did not make an animal to have its face disfigured by staining.

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I figured in my mind that maybe it was from what our pets were being fed, so I searched through books and any information I could get my hands on about the best food for dogs.

I came across a book titled ‘The Complete Herbal Book for the Dog’ written by Juliette De Bairacli Levy.  I loved her book as it was authentic, as she took her Afghan Hounds into the bush to see what they would eat naturally, and her findings were that her dogs thrived.

As I was growing up, my mum decided that if I was hungry between meals, I could eat raw peas, fruit, carrots, and other fresh food.  This became a habit that has stayed with me over the years, apart from when I was newly married, and I felt that without my mum’s watchful eye, I could eat whatever I fancied.  Guess what, this did not last too long, as I started putting on weight and always felt bloated.

This background, of good eating habits, made it easier for me to search for healthy food ideas for my Maltese dogs, as my interest had already been sparked by my own healthy upbringing.

Not only did I discover what foods helped my Maltese to not have stained hair around their eyes, but this also made me ask myself “What kind of treats should you use to train your dog?”

I was training my dogs at the time to become show dogs in the confirmation ring and I certainly wanted them to look beautiful and clean.

I was now hooked on feeding my dogs as natural a diet as I could find.

Since my Maltese dogs, I have trained Shetland Sheepdogs and Australian Kelpies.  Of course, when we need our dogs to learn something new or be “stars” in the show ring, the agility ring, or obedience ring to name a few dog sports we need to know which is their favourite treat so that they will enjoy and willingly do what we are asking them to do for us.

Initially, I tried cabanossi, can you believe this?  I even put it in the microwave oven to try and dry it out somewhat!

Here am I refraining from manufactured food for my dogs and I go and offer a treat that is not, in my mind, a healthy option for my dogs.

I really had to put myself in line!

Depending on the criteria I am training my dogs, I use treats that have different values for my dogs.

By value, I do not only mean food, but there are also special toys that my dogs cherish, lifestyle treats are well up on the list, like going to a favourite spot where they can run off leash.  I ask them to do a certain exercise for me, and when they have done so, it’s off for a run.

Sometimes a special one-on-one time with me is their reward with us playing some sort of game that we both enjoy.

However, back to the food, I have used cheese, raw chicken (messy but loved), cooked chicken, raw meat (again messy but loved), cooked meat, BBQ chicken, sausage, and a “natural’ food roll that is marketed as a complete food.  I won’t bore you with the many options I have tried.

I figure that as I am not feeding the food roll as their main meals, the amount that is used for training purposes is quite okay.

So, what is the answer to what kind of treats should you use to train your dog?  To me, the answer is as long as the food is rewarding and healthy and your dog really looks forward to being treated with what you are offering, reward your dog with whatever helps your dog to do willingly and happily what you are asking of your precious dog.

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Until next time…

With Love, Success and Inspiration,

Robin Oliver


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With Love, Success and Inspiration,

Robin Oliver

Robin Oliver Pet Dog Training
Professional Dog Trainer

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