Whether you’re training, re-enforcing behaviors because dogs, just like kids, need constant reminders, or placing tasty morsels in puzzle toys for mental and physical stimulation, healthy treats are an important part of your pooch’s nutrition and daily wellbeing. And be sure you’re well stocked whether you’re going for a daily walk, camping, or exploring an adventure trail.
Treats have calories too and nutritionists say they shouldn’t exceed 10 per cent of your dog’s daily calorie intake. An alternative “calculation” is to feed three treats for every pound of your dog’s body weight. So, for your dog to benefit from tasty rewards, choose delectable, irresistible morsels with a very low-calorie count.
Zuke’s Mini Naturals fit the bill because they are less than 3 calories per treat. Made with top quality proteins such as chicken, beef, pork, rabbit, duck, and turkey. Other ingredients include fresh fruits and vegetables along with vitamins and minerals for a balanced nutritional tidbit. Further, the “secret ingredient” is piece of mind, knowing they are made in the USA and don’t contain any corn, wheat, or soy, and are free of fillers, by-products, and artificial colorants.
How to Dispense Treats
It’s a great idea to invest in a treat bag that fits into a pocket in an “open” position so that its easy to reach inside. Other alternatives include one that clips onto a belt or slung across the body and sits on the hip. Fill your treat bag with your dog’s favorite flavor or mix it up to add to the surprise. Keep what you are not using in a sealed container to preserve freshness. A great treat bag is an essential part of your dog’s outdoor gear. He can even carry extra treats if he is wearing an outdoor backpack.
Treats are Rewards
When you first begin basic training, even a five-minute session can involve a lot of treats. That’s why good nutritional content is so important. If you shoot over your dog’s daily allowance, you can always substitute with kibble taken from his daily food intake to complete the session. Never substitute with human snacks. Treats are synonymous with positive re-enforcement and the whole experience is supposed to be a feel-good one for both you and your dog. It’s for this reason that dog trainers no longer refer to basic learning behaviors as “commands” but instead, now call them “cues”.
“The word ‘command’ implies ‘do it or else something bad will happen in the form of a punishment,” explains dog trainer Irith Bloom, CPDT-KSA, CBCC-KA, CDBC, CSAT, CBATI, FFCP, faculty at the Victoria Stilwell Academy. “On the other hand, the word ‘cue’, implies ‘do this, and good things happen’,” she explains. And they do; treats happen when a dog completes the cue. Further, because it’s a positive experience, a dog of any age will be willing to please, and hence keen to learn.
Making Treats the Equivalent of a Bedtime Story
Dogs are fast learners and quickly learn the word “treat”. Once your dog is trained, treats can also be placed in a puzzle toy to offer mental and physical stimulation especially when they are home alone. Consider saving a couple from the daily allowance to give before bedtime. Whether you’re at home or curling up for the night besides a campfire, for your pooch, this ritual is the equivalent of a bedtime story along with a goodnight hug.