How Many Dog Treats Should be Given During Training?

We can’t emphasize enough the importance of training your dog. When you decide to get a dog, it’s not enough that you give it food, water, and shelter.

Dog training is an excellent way to build a solid relationship with your furry friend, while helping it become more mentally and physically fit at the same time.

One of the most effective training methods that produces lasting positive results is rewards-based training. Through this approach, a reward- usually in the form of dog treats or verbal praises- is used to positively reinforce desired behavior. 

While we understand that you want to spoil your dog from time to time, especially when it successfully learns a new trick or skill, you have to be mindful of how many treats you’re giving. Feed your dog too many, and you’re putting it at risk for obesity and nutrient imbalances.

In this article, we’ll discuss how many dog training treats you should give your dog during training to avoid spoiling their appetite and making them unhealthy. 

The 10% Rule

Dog training treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog’s recommended daily calories. 

So for instance, if your dog requires 500 calories per day, you shouldn’t give it more than 50 calories worth of treats. You should be able to find out the number of calories in the food bag, and this should guide you on the number of treats that you should give during training. If you can’t find this information, take the time to do a bit more research by calling the manufacturer. 

If you don’t know how many calories your dog should consume per day, you can either do your own research or consult with your trusted veterinarian. Your vet should also be able to recommend certain types or brands of treats that you can get for your dog.

What Happens When Your Dog Eats Too Many Treats

Too much of anything can turn bad. It’s good to spoil your dog with a few treats from time to time, but feeding it too much may ruin its appetite for real food that is much healthier and filled with nutrients.

Also, feeding your dog too many treats can disturb its digestion system and may cause symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. And if you continue this practice of overfeeding your dog with treats at the expense of real food, you may notice that it becomes less energetic.

Over time, the excessive calories that your dog takes may also lead to obesity. And we know how obesity can lead to many other serious health conditions even in humans.

If you’re unaware about the risks of feeding your dog with too many treats, and you’ve been overfeeding it for quite some time, it’s time to make a change. When you do exceed the recommended amount, see to it that you exercise your dog longer than usual to burn down some of the extra calories it took.

Just like in humans, it’s about preventing calorie surplus or at least keeping it at a minimum. Also, you should adjust your usual feeding time by an hour or two to give your dog enough time to digest the treats.

Low Calorie Dog Treats You Might Want to Try

Just as we have our own food preferences, the type of alternative treats that dogs like vary greatly. Some dogs love fruits such as bananas or apples, while others prefer vegetables such as cucumbers and carrots.

Other alternatives may include plain popcorn without any butter or salt, as well as regular Cheerios without any of the special flavors. One thing to check while experimenting with what your dog likes is if it is safe for your pet’s consumption. For example, grapes, raisins, and currants are bad for your dog as it can cause acute kidney failure.

Also, pay attention to how your dog reacts to what you feed it. For instance, some dogs have difficulty digesting the acid in fruits such as apples, while others can eat them just fine.

Final Thoughts

Anything in over abundance can be harmful. It is crucial to find the right balance between the treats and your dog’s normal meals. While treats are effective positive reinforcers, what’s more important is that you implement the right technique and consistency in training. If you can’t fully commit to being consistent with training your dog or you don’t seem to get it right, the most practical thing to do is to hire a professional dog trainer. 

At Delaware K9 Academy, we offer different private lessons and a two-week boot camp, depending on your needs and goals for your dog. Enrolling your companion in one of these dog training classes is one of the most convenient, quickest, and most effective ways to have a well-behaved dog. 

If you’re ready to take the first step, get in touch with us today and learn more about how we can help you and your dog.