Handing out dog treats is more than just a simple expression of love from a pet owner to their furry friend. As a matter of fact, it’s a crucial aspect of giving a reward for good behavior and dog training.
But not all treats are made equal so you have to make sure that you give only quality dog chew treats.
Giving your beloved pet some dog treats from time to time won’t do any harm, as long as you do it correctly. Here are tips on how you should give dog treats without ruining your pup’s health.
1. Think twice before you give
If you have a habit of giving food straight from your plate as treats, don’t complain if your dog ends up learning to pester you during mealtime.
Only give your pooch a treat when he obeys your command and does something good in training.
2. Use treats effectively
Use treats to encourage a calm and submissive state from your dog. Never use dog treats to reward a thrilled, over-stimulated canine.
Always let your pooch smell the treat first, then hold it up away from him then wait.
Once your dog recognizes the scent, he may jump around or on you at first. If your pooch does so, show your disapproval of his action through your attitude and body language. Move back to one side then wait until he calms down; your moment of patience will be worth having a well-behaved dog in the future.
When you use the treat effectively, your dog will soon realize what he needs to do in order to obtain the treat.
3. Give in moderation
Handing over too many dog treats may affect your pet’s balanced nutrition. Although the intention is good, excessive treats will only harm your pet’s health. Remember, less is more, so make sure that dog treats only represent 5% or less of your pup’s daily food intake.
When training, it’s preferable that you use small dog treats so that you can give more than the normal quantity because of their size.
4. Observe the ideal time
There’s a right time to give treats, and it’s between meals. Select a treat that your pooch will surely enjoy. As a rule of thumb during training, save the most delectable treat for last to encourage your dog once he starts losing interest.
When using dog treats as a tool for training, it won’t work once your pet has had a complete meal. Make certain that you give treats in between meals, and not immediately after or before a meal.
Here’s a great technique for giving treats:
- Hold the treat in your hand between your first two fingers and thumb.
- Allow your dog to sniff the treat so that he’s aware that it’s there. The rule is for your dog to notice the treat in this order: nose, eyes, then ears.
- As your pooch is getting interested, lift the treat slowly above the nose height and move gradually over his head. Then, move the treat slightly back towards his shoulders. The aim of this is to let your dog lift his head up, move his shoulders back and naturally lower his butt to the ground.
- Slowly lift the treat so that your dog’s nose will follow it in your hand. If your pooch jumps at your hand, take the treat away.
- The next time you give treats, put your hand closer to your dog’s head. The moment he starts following the treat with his nose and eyes, and places his butt on the floor, say “sit” calmly, then give the treat. Use your natural, relaxed voice so as not to startle or distract your pooch.
One of the basic rules of training is to not over excite your dog because he can forget the lesson in all the ruckus.
5. Exercise discipline before affection
Keep in mind that giving dog treats is a form of affection. You should be able to give them to your dog at the correct time and for the correct reasons. You will end up confusing your dog if you’re not consistent in administering treats, so exercise discipline first before affection.
Giving tasty and healthy treats is a good way to bond with your pooch and make him happy. But you must do so with respect to his overall pet health. Offer treats at the right amount to keep your dog in his best shape.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Orijen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.