At the outset, the most obvious reason for treating your dog is out of love. Humans seal their love with a kiss. Similarly, your favorite pooch sees a yummy treat as a sign of your affection.
But there are other reasons to treat your dog on a regular basis too.
A well-trained dog that understands commands and listens to you when you are out and about stands a much better chance of going places with you and having a fun and very busy social life.
The easiest way to train your dog to understand basic commands is to reward him during the training process every time he gets it right. This is the very essence of positive training. The reason why this method is so successful is that the training is all about fun and rewards. And dogs love to please their favorite people – and get a treat!
Clicker training is a method in which the trainer uses a handheld clicker to “click” and tell the dog that she’s done the right thing and instantly offers a tasty reward. The “click” identifies the behavior you plan to pay for with a treat the instant it happens. When training, it’s common to use a target or pointer such as a stick or a pencil to “identify” the behavior you are teaching. For example, if you are teaching a dog to shake your hand, you would start by getting the dog to touch a pencil with her paw and the moment she does so, click and treat. Eventually you would replace the pencil with your hand, and click and treat.
For it to be successful, you must give the treat as close as possible in time to when your dog performed the desired behavior. You also must give out the treat consistently until your pooch definitely understands what she is doing to earn the treat.
The treat doesn’t need to be huge. An itty-bitty something that your dog usually salivates over such as the Vita Bone Chewy sticks available in chicken and beef flavors is all that you need. I love using soft sticks because they are easy to break into small pieces so you can also treat in accordance with the size of your dog too. And, if the treat has a strong “appetizing” scent, (and these do), it just heightens the canine anticipation in knowing that if she performs to your satisfaction, the reward will be so worth it!
You can also take your dog’s favorite biscuits and break them up into small pieces and keep in a pocket or a treat pouch.
There’s another very good reason why training treats need to be small. Each bite-size morsel still contains calories! And they add up. In fact, if you dog is undergoing some kind of training program, you should factor the number of calories you are handing out as part of his daily food allowance.
And while on the subject of calories, it’s really important to read the label on the packaging for other reasons too. These days, savvy manufacturers are aware of the issues of over-treating in terms of canine obesity and, to this end, work hard to ensure that the treat you are handing out is not only low calories, but also a functional one. A functional treat is a healthy snack that does “double duty” because it contains vitamins and minerals that addresses such issues as a healthy skin and coat, a healthy immune system as well as joint mobility.
When it comes to treats, dogs love a variety of tastes in the same way kids enjoy a variety of different snacks and candy. Recently, I did a taste testing with some of my canine testers using a box of Vita Bone bone-shaped biscuits that contains a variety of flavors such as chicken and vegetables, cheese and beef and liver. There was no question that each dog each had a favorite flavor. This variety pack has biscuits that each contains 23 vitamins and minerals. So from a pet parent perspective, its like giving your pooch a multi-vitamin treat in their same way you’d give a kid a chewy daily multi-vitamin. Besides, crunchy treats also help to keep teeth clean and promote fresh breath so you don’t pull back to avoid doggie breath when your dog snuggles in for a kiss.
So we treat out of love, for training and there’s more. It’s very important to keep dogs both mentally and physically engaged, especially when they are home alone. Dog puzzles or board games have become very popular in offering dogs a form of distraction and keeping them engaged. These puzzles are available in different degrees of difficulty and the idea is to fill them with treats and let you dog work out how to retrieve them.
These games tap directly into a dog’s innate hunting and foraging skills and they truly enjoy working for treats.
You can also ramp up the fun by creating a treasure hunt around your home by hiding toys and treats in different places so that your dog has to follow his nose in order to find them all.
Ultimately, all these reasons for treating your dog have a common goal namely enhancing that human-canine bond. And as a pet parent, that’s what having a fur kid is all about.
When it comes to treats, if your dog loves different flavors and taste textures, you can download a coupon for him to taste-test here.
This post was sponsored by Vita Bone®. However, all opinions are my own. I only write about topics, events and products that I consider readers will consider useful information and relevant to their interests.