Dog treats are more than just a form of affection and need to be given at the right time and for the right reasons.
As a pet parent, giving dog treats to your furry child is not just an expression of love and gratitude but is also a critical component in their training as a reward for their good behaviour.
Instead of going for the unhealthy options, feeding your pooch natural and healthy dog treats can be the intelligent choice! In order to ensure that you are doing the right thing and treating them the right way, here are some measures to keep in mind:
Always remember to be careful when you treat your dog: Usually, pet parents are accustomed to holding the treat too high while feeding their pooch. This is a grave mistake in my opinion, because your dog has to stand on its hind legs or jump to get the treat. In this way, jumping up gets reinforced as a habit which becomes hard to break in circumstances like greeting new people. You need to indicate your disapproval through your attitude and body language, like slowly moving back or to a side and then waiting. This will eventually help your little one to figure out what needs to be done in order to munch on the treat which will be evident by the lowering of their butt and that familiar look of anticipation. Although this will be a tedious task stretching for days, the patience on your part as a pet parent will pay off with a well-behaved pooch for a lifetime.
Do not go by the puppy face: Dogs possess an unbelievably excellent sense of smell. Dogs can smell a treat from over 20 yards away and can get a pretty good idea of the main ingredients. This also poses as a threat to the pet parent as the little one would jump to get the snack being held high, thus running the risk of getting your fingers nipped. The dog’s vision and control over its teeth may be limited owing to the excitement about getting a treat, post which it would just stand there with a puppy face. The best way to feed your furry friend is to place the treat on an open palm coupled with a stable tone as you would not want to startle or distract your pet. This would help reinforce a calm and submissive state in your fur child, thereby keeping your fingers safe.
Label reading is important: When you buy food and treats for your family member, you tend to have laser focus while label reading. Why not do the same for your pet? A recent shift has been observed in the human food industry towards natural substitutes which is also being reflected in the pet food industry. Pet parents are getting increasingly aware of the harmful ways that preservatives, colorants and other chemicals impact their little one’s body, thereby scaling the extra length to include ingredients which provide great nutrition naturally.
While their nutritional needs may vary based on age, breed, and other factors, natural ingredients cater to the holistic well-being of our furry companions. Since there are multiple occasions like training and rewarding wherein pet parents feed their pets with treats, they have started seeking treat options that are 100% natural and provide a balanced nutrition instead of just satisfying their taste buds.
Among the various natural pet treats being produced, one distinctive example is the recent advent of yak milk as a dietary source for dogs. You can look out for treats made of yak milk to offer greater nutrition to your beloved furry child.
When to give the treat: As was mentioned earlier, dog treats are more than just a form of affection or gratitude. They need to be given at the right time and for the right reasons. You can actually train your furry one by not being consistent with the treats, thus letting them know that exercise and discipline come first, affection next. Saving the treats for later will help reengage your pet child if it begins to lose interest during training sessions. If you are using treats as a training tool, your treat will not work as effectively right after your dog has had a full meal. Make sure your treating session occurs in between meals and not immediately before or after.
Never reward your dog if he shows bad behaviour: You should always be aware of when and why you are treating your pet. Whatever the dog did just before or while it is being treated gets established, so treating at the wrong time may lead to a wrong behaviour pattern.
Since dogs develop a behavioural pattern and habits through cause and effect learning, it is very important to pay attention to when and why your dog is being rewarded.
If your dog paws at your leg or arm, jumps up, whines or barks in order to get your attention, do not offer him a treat just to distract or placate him since that would result in a habit. That might momentarily stop the pooch but will unfortunately go a long way in motivating it to behave in such a manner to get a reward.
Timing and size of treats is important: While treating your canine buddy, you need to keep in mind the size of and the ideal time for the treats. Feeding frequent small treats is likely to be more effective than offering a single large treat. Frequent healthy treats in smaller portions help reinforce the desired behaviour along with helping you keep a check on your furry child’s waistline. Too many dog treats can put them at risk for obesity and stomach ailments.
Every dog is unique and a pet parent may have to alter their furry one’s feeding schedule depending on its activities as well as on the climatic factors. Feeding your dogs healthy treats the right way can therefore help in establishing good behaviour in them along with catering to their nutritional requirements.
The article has been authored by Bhupendra Khanal, Founder and CEO, Dogsee Chew.