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Best Dog Training Treats (Positive Reinforcement)

All dogs have different tastes when it comes to treats. Some, are just very food driven and really couldn’t care less about what you are giving them! However, when it comes to training treats, some treats are better than others.


What to look for in dog training treats

When choosing dog training treats, you want to use something that is small, and easily kept in your pocket or a treat pouch. Small size is important because they are easy to carry around, and are easy to toss to your pup with a quick, “yes!” when he is displaying positive, wanted behavior.

When it comes to consistency, something soft is ideal because it is easy, and quickly chewed up. However, for dogs who are treat-picky, or just don’t enjoy the soft texture, something crunchy is just fine, as long as it is small in size. There are several brands of treats that are made specifically for training.


Some dog training favorites

There are many different brands, and many different kinds of training treats on the market to choose from. Sometimes, it may take a few tries to find something your pup is really driven by.

Best training treats for dogs


Here are some dog trainer favorites:

1. Zuke’s Mini Naturals

With less than 3 calories per treat, no soy, corn, wheat, or artificial colors or flavors, Zuke’s Minis are great for training. Whether your pup is 10 lbs or 100 lbs, they are a perfect size. They are small, soft and chewy, yet sturdy, come in several different flavors, and won’t fall apart in your pockets.

2. Charlee Bear Dog Treats

From small round crunchy treats to chewy meaty pieces, to freeze-dried treats, and everything in between, Charlee Bear Dog Treats are natural and grain-free. A very popular low-calorie brand that has a variety of different treats in many flavors, finding one that your dog loves, probably won’t be difficult!

3. Deli Meats

If you don’t need anything small to particularly keep with you for quick reinforcement and are just looking for something high value, check the fridge! Treats such as small pieces of deli meats or cheese are great for training when you are working on your dog’s recall.

4. Kibble

Another great training treat is your dog’s very own everyday kibble! With its small size, it makes it easy to toss into your pocket, and you already know your dog likes it! Another great thing about using kibble for training treats is that if you and your dog’s training routine is around feeding time, you can take a handful of his regular portion to be used during the training exercises.


Positive reinforcement training

Positive reinforcement can be a very powerful and very effective training tool. However, it’s more than just praising your dog for everything they do.

A very important thing to remember when you are using positive reinforcement is that dog’s live in the moment. So when using this training method, be sure to praise your pup the moment you get the behavior you desire.

Clicker training is a great way to do this. With a quick click, you can instantly mark the good behavior. If you don’t have a clicker, use an affirmation such as “YES!” This makes it easier when you are out and about with your dog and don’t want to carry a clicker.

Using a verbal affirmation is also great for when you aren’t necessarily training, but want to quickly mark the behavior you are pleased with. Most dogs respond very well to clicker training (or affirmation word training). This kind of training also helps to build confidence, which is especially beneficial to dogs who lack in this department.


Final Thoughts

Make sure to pick the best dog training treats for your dog. You may need to try different treats until you find which one is best. Use the training treats with positive reinforcement so that you stop worrying about your dog and start having fun together!

If you are from Philadelphia, PA then read my Philadelphia Dog Training Costs article to find a dog trainer near you. Also, take a look at the following articles to learn how much exercise your dog needs:


This article was written by Abi Pennavaria. Abi is a dog mom, avid veterinary volunteer, and co-author of the Saved By The Bark dog blog. She enjoys sharing tips and tricks for volunteers and animal lovers through thoughtfully researched blog posts and is working to become a veterinarian.

Jim Kernicky

I have been a dog walker and pet sitter for my business Fairmount Pet Service in the Art Museum area of Philadelphia since 2008.