Dog treats are essential to bonding with our playful pals, but when used improperly, it can cause your precious pup to develop some serious health and behavioral issues. Some of which are hard to reverse once habits have been made. Learning how to properly “treat” your dog is your way of responsibly taking charge of your dog’s health and setting the foundation for a healthy companionship that offers your pup support they need to keep them happy without encouraging destructive habits that lead to begging and obesity.
1. Know what your dog’s eating
Being mindful of what your dog’s eating, especially early on with impressionable pups, sets your dog up for greatness. Counting calories, knowing the right ingredients, and knowing what constitutes as a snack can help you train your dog and prevent some serious health issues, such as obesity and over-acidity that can lead to disease. Knowing what’s in your dog’s snacks will help you determine how many treats you can give your dog each day and the essential benefits of choosing one snack over the other. Avoid feeding your dog table scraps, feed your dog snacks with inherent health benefits, and or consider trading a treat for a small portion of kibble.
2. Snack time is NOT meal time
Never, use dog treats to supplement your dog’s food. Pay close attention to the size and amount of your snack’s portions and avoid senselessly feeding your dog treat without asserting a purpose. Doing this not only minimizes your dog’s calorie intake to avoid obesity, but also discourages unhealthy eating habits. Senselessly overfeeding your dog treats can encourage your dog to become more finicky and to avoid eating meals all-together in hopes of receiving larger portion snack foods.
3. Timing is everything, make it special
Knowing when to treat your dog is important. Whether it is to act as a reward, giving your dog attention, or simply to make them happy, it's important to attach a purpose to snack time. You want use treats to encourage your pooch to have good manners or as a means to motivate them to listen when teaching them something new. If your dog’s overweight, treats can be used to motivate your dog to exercise and go that extra mile on your hike. Let your dog know that treats are rewards for good behavior.
4. Begging is NOT an option
If your dog is begging, don’t ever use your treats as a way to distract your dog. You don’t want to encourage your dog to beg during your meal times or prone to know when to seek out a treat. Your pooch does not decide when it’s snack time. You want to keep them guessing when it comes to the availability of their treats.
5. You’re the boss
When it comes to treating, it’s important to always remember that you are in control. If you take charge, know when to offer a treat and understand why you’re doing so, you will form an understanding with your precious companion that puts your first. Use snack time as a way to cultivate your bond with your pooch, in a way that promotes loyalty and discourages bad behavior.
Keeping these tips in mind the next time you reward your pup will provide you with the peace of mind you need to ensure that you are meeting your pooch’s needs. More often than not, the little changes have the most impact. Not every dog is the same and of course there will be a lot of variability when comes to snacking but as long as you remember that you are the greatest treat for your dog to have, your friendship bill be sure to last and filled with bliss.