One thing we all love to do as pet owners is treat our dogs. While this is a very good idea, especially when undertaking training of a puppy, or brushing up on your older dogs’ skills, the quality of the treats is something that is very often overlooked.
It is important to remember that not all treats are good for your dog particularly the ones that are full of artificial colours, flavourings or chemical preservatives. These can have a very detrimental effect, not only on your dog’s behaviour but on the health of your dog too, particularly if they already suffer from sensitive stomachs and/or skin problems.
How to treat
Treats can be extremely useful for different aspects of training your dog, and associating a specific flavour of treat with a positive action can lead to good behaviour and obedience. On the other hand, if you give out treats without any positive reinforcement or perhaps in excess, you could end up associating a negative behaviour with treats such as snatching or aggression.
To ensure your dog doesn’t simply snatch treats out of your hand, try holding it just above their nose so they can’t quite reach and make them wait or give a command such as sit. If they try and jump to get it or keep on taking a treat forcefully, try closing your fist around the treat and wait for them to stop pawing your hand. Once they’ve stopped, open your palm and let them eat it out of your hand.
When feeding high-quality natural foods to your dog then the treats you give should be of the same high quality. Dogs that are fed a grain-free diet, particularly for health reasons, should also be given treats that are grain free.
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The other thing to take into consideration is the quantity of treats given. Always follow the manufacturers feeding guidelines with regards to how many treats should be given per day and try not to feed them too many treats around meal times.
Excessive treats before and after regular food can cause your dog to gain weight and even cause loose stools from overfeeding. If you’re concerned about overfeeding, try to take a similar portion of food off their main meal, to ensure they’re still eating the same quantity.
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