If you're welcoming a new puppy to your family, the excitement that comes with introducing it will always keep you thinking of the best ways to keep it happy and healthy. Having loads of treats in the home is probably one of the thoughts that keep on racing in your head.
If you're a new pet parent, this confusion is normal. It is only advisable that you take things easy, and everything else will fall in place. Technically, treats are a must-have in the home especially, for training the puppy.
If you can get a good source of healthy treats like the Tail Bangers, they'll also come as a welcome nutritional supplement for the puppy's diet. In this post, we round up some of the best types of treats that are safe for your puppy.
Are Dog Treats OK for Puppies?
The concern around whether dog treats are safe for puppies is genuine. If you're wondering whether it is right for you to give your puppy dog treats, the answer is 'YES.'
The only exception is that even though a puppy can eat dog treats, some treats can be tough for their developing teeth to chew. On the same note, there are also adult dog treats that are very big and may not fit your pooch's mouth easily.
So when you're going to reward your little canine friend with those snacky treats, always check to ensure that they're soft enough for the puppy. They should also be sizeable enough to fit into its mouth.
Best Adult Dog Treats You Can Give a Puppy
In this guide, we classify the treats in three major classes: The soft-baked dog treats, the freeze-dried ones, and the jerky dog treats. Let's dig in.
- Soft-baked Dog Treats
Just as the name suggests, soft-baked dog treats are soft. They're also pretty sweet for the dogs and easy on the puppy's jaws. Since they're soft, these treats are safe for the puppies and won't cause any harm.
- Freeze-dried Dog Treats
These treats are filled with flavor, something that makes them very useful in behavioral training. They are also small in size and medium-soft, thus easy for the puppy to chew.
- Jerky Dog Treats for Puppies
These treats are also full of flavor. The only difference is that they're a little chewier but suitable for the pup's developing jaws.
How to Find the Best Treat that Your Puppy Likes
To get a treat that will help you enforce a specific behavior, you must find a specific one or type that you're sure that the dog will like. You can achieve this quickly by letting the dog perform treat taste tests.
When doing the test, you'll need to consider factors like;
- The texture of the treat. Collect enough different treats based on the texture. You must have enough options at your disposal from the freeze-dried treats to semi-moist, dry, and jerky treats.
- Ease of using it. It is important that you pick treats that you can use easily. Ideally, they should be very tiny in size, and if they're larger, you may need to break them into smaller pieces to ease your work.
- The protein type. Ensure that you have a wide variety of protein types to choose from. From chicken to beef and fish, etc., you should have enough alternatives for the test. You may also add proteins that are not meat-based for example peanut butter (if you choose to use peanut butter, it must not contain Xylitol)
If you're working with a dog trainer, you'll most certainly hear them classify dog treats in three classes; the high value training treats, the average value dog treats and the low-value treats. The difference here is not the price of these treats in the store or in your favorite dog bakery.
The high and low-value terms used here refer to the pet's valuation of the treats. For higher success rates with the training, you'll have to determine the types of treats that the little puppy values as compared to others.
High-value vs. Low-value Training Treats. What's the Difference?
High Value Treats
In most cases, the high value treats are the special treats that the pet rarely finds outside the training sessions. They can be extra smelly, freeze-dried, or with a distinctive flavor that the puppy isn't used to.
Here are a few instances when you can use the high value treats.
- Counter conditioning. High value treats can be handy if you're looking to modify a specific behavior such as aggression or leash reactivity.
- If it's in highly distracting surroundings. A perfect example of such surroundings is in group puppy training sessions where you wish to have all of its focus during the sessions.
- When you want to teach it a new behavior.
- If you're going to reward it for high quality responses to cues.
The Medium Value Dog Treats
The treats classified under this category are made from ingredients hardly found in the pug's regular meals. They can be dry or semi-moist and are used more frequently in training than high-value treats.
Here is a rundown of the instances when you can use medium-value dog treats
- You can use them to compliment the daily enrichment activities.
- To reinforce behaviors that had been learned before.
- When rewarding good behavior - any time of the day.
- You can also use them in lesser- distractive surroundings.
The Low-Value Dog Treats
Low-value dog treats are some of the most popular treats. Usually, they have lesser calorie content as compared to the medium and high value dog treats.
You can use just regular foods for this type of treats. These treats are also preferable if you want to have a smooth shift from the treats used during the training sessions.
Instances when you can use low-value dog treats
Any time of the day as a reward for good behavior.
When you're doing the training in surroundings with very low to no distractions.
When stopping the use of treats in training to enforce specific action.
In as much as you want to bless your little pup with as many treats as possible, take care not to use ingredients with too much fat like sausages or bacon. Too much fat may cause pancreatitis or stomach complications for the pet.