You probably love your dog more than anything else in this world. So, it is only normal for you to want to spoil them with delicious treats at every chance you get. But should you do that? No. While it may be tempting to toss a treat to your pupper whenever you want to shower them with some love, it could result in you missing out on crucial training opportunities. Also, frequent treats might cause your pup to exhibit undesirable demanding behavior. Dog treats should be used as more than just an expression of love; they can be an important component in training and especially, positive reinforcement.
Read on to find out some do’s and don’ts for effective treat giving.
1. Time your treats right
You should give your dog treats only at a few specific times. You can use treats to praise good behavior. If they do something that you want them to repeat, reward them with a treat. If they obey a command early on during their training, treat them. You can also use treats to reinforce old behaviors and teach new ones. For instance, you can use treats to teach them restraint, i.e., to eat only on cue.
2. Observe feeding guide recommendations
When feeding treats to your dog, always follow the portion recommendations. Count the calories to make sure that you aren’t feeding them an unhealthy amount. This will not just keep your pooch’s weight in check but also help prevent possible health issues.
3. Use a mix of different treats
Some pet parents complain that training using treats leads to dogs not doing anything without incentive. This is a result of using the same treats repeatedly. You need to mix it up. Sometimes, you can use store-bought treats. Sometimes, you can use chicken or a piece of cheese. This leaves your dog wondering what they’ll get and there is a higher chance of them listening to you consistently.
1. Avoid feeding human snacks
Human snacks and junk foods often contain ingredients that can be harmful for your dog’s health. An occasional bite might be okay but do not use chips, burgers, or pizzas in lieu of regular treats. Always use treats that are specifically meant for dogs
2. Do not over-feed
Treats aren’t meant to be meals. So, avoid over-feeding treats or replacing meals with treats. While some treats can be nutritious, they aren’t enough. Your dog still needs proper meals.
3. Do not treat your dog when they are hyper
As mentioned earlier, treats should be used to reward good behavior. This means you shouldn’t treat your dog when they are jumping around or climbing on things. Wait until they are calm and sitting down.
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