How to Choose the Right Training Treats for Your Dog

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Diving into the world of dog training treats can feel overwhelming.

With so many options claiming to be the ‘best choice,’ where do you start? We understand your dilemma.

This guide will demystify the process, covering everything from nutritional content to dietary needs, taste preferences, and the pros and cons of store-bought vs. homemade treats.

The journey to effective training sessions starts now – your dog will thank you.

a close up of brown and black dog surrounded by various training treats

Nutritional Considerations: What to Look For

When selecting the perfect training treat for your canine friend, it’s crucial to prioritize nutrition. Here’s what to consider:

1. Quality Ingredients

Aim for treats that list a high-quality source of protein as the first ingredient, such as chicken, beef, or fish. Avoid treats that have ‘meat by-product’ listed as the primary ingredient.


Treats made from a single protein source can be a healthier choice and often have fewer filler ingredients.

For example, the PureBites Beef Liver Freeze-Dried Treats are made from 100% pure USA-sourced beef liver, offering a high-quality protein treat for your dog.

2. Low-Calorie Content

Training treats should be small and low in calories. These are not meal replacements, and the calories from treats can quickly add up during training sessions.


Treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake.

3. Minimal Additives

Look for treats with minimal artificial preservatives, colors, and flavors. Natural is always better when it comes to your dog’s health.


Be wary of treats that have a long list of ingredients that are hard to pronounce. These are often artificial additives that are best avoided.

4. Nutritional Value

Treats with added vitamins and minerals can be a bonus, offering additional nutritional value.

While not necessary, added benefits like Omega-3 fatty acids for a shiny coat or dental chews that promote healthy teeth can be a plus.

5. Allergen-Free Options

If your dog has specific allergies or dietary requirements, ensure the treats you choose cater to these needs. If your dog has a known food allergy, you must always check the ingredient list to ensure your dog’s safety.

The Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Grain-Free Lamb & Salmon are a great choice for puppies or dogs with grain sensitivities, offering high-quality protein and being free of corn, soy, and artificial colors and flavors.

Remember, every dog is unique, and what works well for one might not work for another. The right treats will depend on your dog’s size, age, dietary needs, and taste preferences.

Catering To Your Dog’s Preferences and Dietary Needs

Choosing the right training treats also involves considering your dog’s unique preferences and dietary needs. Here’s how you can ensure the treats you pick are a perfect match for your pooch.

Understand Your Dog’s Preferences

Just like humans, dogs have taste preferences too. Some dogs might prefer chewy treats over crunchy ones, or fish flavors over chicken. You’ll need to do a bit of experimenting to find what your dog loves most.


Buy small packages of different types of treats initially. This way, you can identify your dog’s preferences without wasting too much food or money.

Consider Your Dog’s Size

The size of your dog can influence the ideal size of the training treats. For instance, smaller breeds or puppies may struggle with larger, harder treats.


The treat should be a quick bite, not a meal. It’s about the reward, not getting full.

For small dogs, Zuke’s Mini Naturals Chicken Recipe are a great option. They’re small in size, soft, and easy for little ones to chew.

Cater To Dietary Restrictions

If your dog has allergies or specific dietary restrictions, these need to be considered. For dogs with grain allergies, opt for grain-free treats. If your dog is overweight or prone to weight gain, choose low-calorie treats.


Always check the ingredient list to ensure it doesn’t contain anything your dog is allergic to.

The Natural Balance L.I.D. Sweet Potato & Fish Grain-Free are excellent for dogs with sensitivities as they contain a limited list of premium protein and carbohydrate sources.

Age Matters

Younger dogs and puppies may require different treats than senior dogs. Puppy treats often contain ingredients to support growth, while senior dog treats may have supplements for joint health.

Look for treats specifically designed for your dog’s life stage.

The Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Treats Duck Recipe are perfect for puppies due to its high-quality protein content and DHA for cognitive development.

Remember, the best treat for your dog is one that they love and one that loves them back, i.e., it’s tasty and meets their nutritional needs. By keeping your dog’s preferences and dietary needs at the forefront, you’ll find the selection process becomes much simpler and more rewarding.

Taste Test: Exploring Different Treat Options

In the world of dog training treats, the options are nearly endless. From crunchy to soft, poultry to fish, and everything in between, it can feel overwhelming to find the perfect pick. But don’t worry – we’re here to help guide you through the taste test process.

  1. Variety Packs

Not sure where to start? Consider purchasing a variety pack of treats. These packs usually come with different flavors and types of treats, allowing your dog to sample a range and determine their favorite.

The Crazy Dog Train-Me! Mini Dog Treats come in a variety pack of four flavors: bacon, beef, chicken, and salmon. It’s a great starting point to gauge your dog’s preference.

  1. Texture Matters

Some dogs prefer the crunch of biscuit-type treats, while others prefer the soft and chewy variety. You should offer both types during the taste test phase to understand your dog’s texture preference better.

For a crunchy option, Blue Buffalo Wilderness Trail Duck Biscuits are an excellent choice. If your dog prefers something softer, the Cloud Star Tricky Trainers Chewy Peanut Butter are a hit among canines.

  1. The Flavor Factor

While many dogs are not picky eaters, some definitely have a preferred flavor.

Common options include chicken, beef, peanut butter, fish, and even fruit-infused treats. Introduce various flavors to see which one makes your dog’s tail wag the most.

These Merrick Power Bites Real Beef Recipe offer a robust beef flavor that’s a favorite among many dogs.

  1. Keep it Fun and Positive

The taste test should be a fun experience for your dog. Keep the sessions short and positive, and always end on a high note.


Use the taste test as a training opportunity. Ask your dog to perform a simple command before offering a new treat. It keeps their mind engaged and turns the taste test into a rewarding activity.

So there you have it, the essential guide to taste-testing dog treats. Once you know your dog’s preferences for variety, texture, and flavor, you can select the best training treats that will have them doing tricks in no time!

Remember, the goal is to find a treat your dog loves, but that also contributes to their overall health and well-being.

Store-Bought vs. Homemade: Pros and Cons

When it comes to choosing between store-bought and homemade dog training treats, there are several factors to consider. Each has its own set of benefits and potential downsides, and what works best for your dog will depend on your specific circumstances.

Store-Bought Treats

Pros: The most significant advantage of store-bought treats is convenience. They’re readily available, come in a wide variety of flavors and textures, and are typically designed with a dog’s nutritional needs in mind. Many brands also provide grain-free, organic, or specialty diet options.

Cons: The downside is that they can be expensive, especially if you’re training frequently. You also need to be mindful of the ingredients, as some commercial treats may contain artificial additives or fillers.

Homemade Treats

Pros: Homemade treats allow for full control over what’s going into your dog’s body. You can cater to dietary restrictions, allergies, and personal preferences. It can also be a more cost-effective option if you’re training often.

Cons: The main drawback is time. Making your own treats requires preparation and cooking time. Additionally, it can be challenging to ensure homemade treats meet all your dog’s nutritional needs without expert knowledge.

The verdict:
A balanced approach may be the best way forward. Use store-bought treats for convenience and supplement with homemade options when you have the time and resources.

Here’s a great video with some amazing tips from Kikopup on choosing the best treat for your dog:


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