Top 5 Puppy Training Treats
Updated: Sep 15
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Dogs are incredibly food orientated which can be extremely helpful when training your new puppy.
The introduction of some tasty puppy treats for reward-based training can work wonders for getting their attention.
However, it is easy to cross the line into an unbalanced diet by feeding unhealthy, high fat treats whilst you're training.
The dog food market is flooded with unhealthy dog treats which will be akin to feeding your puppy a massive plate of fish and chips everyday.
So what makes a good puppy training treat.
Table of Contents
Our Picks for the Top 5 Puppy Training Treats
BUYING GUIDE FOR PUPPY TRAINING TREATS
The type of treat you choose can make a big difference in how successful your training sessions are.
For any treats to work, they need to be considered 'high-value' by your puppy.
This doesn't mean expensive on your pocket, simply worthy of keeping their attention when faced with inevitable distractions.
At the same time, you need to be able to easily manage their calorie intake and ensure that they are getting the healthiest treats possible.
Photo by Taylor Kopel on Unsplash
Let's face it, if you look at the ingredients on the treat packaging and you see a long list of ingredients, many of which you struggle to pronounce, they will have questionable nutritional value.
With so many options available, it can be hard to know which treats you should buy.
That's why we're here. At Smart Bark we're always on the hunt for the best of the best.
Our buying guide will provide you with an overview of your options and help you decide which puppy training treat features are most important.
So, take a break, relax and read through our guide knowing that we always have your best interests at heart.
FEATURES TO CONSIDER
Ingredients - With a young puppy you may not be aware yet of any allergies. Choose a puppy treat that's free from common allergens to avoid any nasty reactions or stomach upsets.
Size - Whilst training you want your puppy to be completely focussed on you and not the treat. The treats need to be small enough to fit in the palm of your hand so you can hide them.
Smell - The smellier the better ! Dogs are scent driven so those stinky treats unfortunately usually work really well.
Crunchiness - Often you need to reward your puppy repeatedly for quick or high-quality responses to a series of cues especially when learning a new behaviour. You need to be sure that the offered treat has been swallowed before moving on.
HOW WE SELECTED & TESTED TREATS
We scoured the market to find the Top 5 Puppy Training Treats to help keep your puppy healthy whilst allowing you to focus on edible reward-based training.
We shortlisted a range of treats which delivered on our 4 perfect puppy treat essentials :-
✅ Healthy and natural without any added nasties
✅ Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand so as not to cause a distraction
✅ Designed with your puppy's mouth in mind - small or easy to break up
✅ Free from common allergens - as you may not be aware of any possible allergies
Based on our criteria, a selection of treats from 5 companies made our in-depth review - Scrumbles Softies, Pooch & Mutt Mini-Bones, Bounce and Bella, Dragonfly and The Dog Treat Company (Run Free).
Freddie our Cockapoo would be putting the treats through their paces with some advanced recall, fetch along with sit and stay training.
We'd be assessing two aspects of the puppy training treats -
Treat Size - could the treats be easily concealed in my hand.
Reward Value - crucially,were the treats regarded as a high-value reward so I had his full concentration whilst training?
Now all we needed was a willing puppy to test the treats alongside Freddie.
Meet Hudley, the super handsome German Short-Haired Pointer puppy.
Hudley is still too young for his vaccinations so can't venture out on dog walks outside his garden.
At this early stage his family were working hard on toilet training him.
As toilet training is the first routine most puppies learn, this was an ideal opportunity to review the puppy training treats as toilet training rewards.
OUR PICKS FOR THE TOP 5 PUPPY TRAINING TREATS
1. BEST OVERALL Scrumbles Softies
The first puppy treats to feature in our review are Scrumbles Softies Dog Training Treats. They are a new addition to the Scrumbles range of dog food and treats. The treats are baked in the UK using only natural, responsibly sourced ingredients.
Scrumbles 'Softies' are in the top spot because they tick all the boxes and have been specifically created with puppies in mind.
They are baked to give a softer treat which is ideal for young mouths so are suitable for puppies as young as 12 weeks.
Hudley loved the Scrumbles Softies and they were not too crunchy for his young mouth.
With Freddie's training, I found I could hide a few in the palm of my hand and being soft, they were quickly digested so there was no potential choking as we moved quickly from one training command to another.
The only downside would be their lack of smell. Whilst us humans love a treat that doesn't smell too strong, for some dogs the smell will help entice them and keep their focus.
Another big tick for Scrumbles is the eco-friendly packaging which has been thoughtfully designed to be completely compostable (whilst you're puppy won't care, you probably do).
Smart Bark can offer readers 15% off by entering code SMARTBARK15 at checkout.
2. BEST ASSORTMENT Pooch & Mutt Mini Bone Treats
The second treats to feature in our review are from Pooch & Mutt, a British award-winning dog food company. Their range boasts all natural ingredients, lean meat, fresh vegetables and are packed with vitamins and minerals.
For this review we bought the assortment of three varieties ( calm & relaxed, Digestion & Wind and Breathe) suitable for puppies from 16 weeks.
As well as being great value, by varying the treats on offer you can help keep your puppy focussed, so the assortment works on several levels.
Pooch & Mutt treats are packaged in tubes and can be purchased singularly or in an assortment.
Our reviewers liked the nifty tube design of the packaging as they were easy to seal and keep fresh.
Although small, the bone-shaped dried treats can be easily snapped further into two pieces. Hudley loved these bite-sized treats as rewards (spoiler alert, he loved them all)
For Freddies training, I found the Pooch & Mutt treats were crunchier than Scrumbles and left less crumbs in my pockets
Pooch & Mutt have very kindly offered Smart Bark readers 25% off everything on line. Their range includes dog food and supplements in addition to the mini bone treats which we feature here.
3. BEST VALUE Bounce and Bella Puppy Training Treats
Bounce and Bella offer great value hypoallergenic dog treats. They include very few ingredients so are perfect for dogs with allergies and sensitive stomachs and ideal treats for puppies.
Our reviewers found these treats were extremely crunchy. Bounce and Bella recommend them for puppies over 16 weeks old, so these treats are more suited to training slightly older puppies.
Like the Dragonfly treats featured next, they are particularly small so I could fit lots in the palm of my hand to avoid unnecessary distractions during training sessions.
Both Hudley and Freddie loved these treats and the Dragonfly treats featured next even though they were very small.
They are packaged in large resealable bags with approx. 800 treats in each bag.
4. BEST SMELLING The Dog Treat Company
The Dog Treat Company believe that the right treat needn’t be either a guilt trip or a rare occurrence, which is why they only use human-grade, ethically-sourced ingredients.
Their hand-baked dog treats are made at their Devon bakery.
Available in small quantities, they are ideal to try before purchasing more.
We purchased this small resealable 50g pouch which fits easily in your pocket for training on the go.
The largest individual treats featured, the reviewers broke each one into smaller pieces for Hudley's toilet training rewards.
They had the strongest 'meaty' smell so could entice a more reticent puppy but we found they were the crunchiest of all the treats reviewed.
The Dog Treat Company were also the most expensive treats reviewed however, Freddie particularly liked the smell of these treats and they kept him focussed well.
They are suitable for puppies as young as 8 weeks old and are available in three varieties - Fabulous Fur, Calm Moments and Run Free, so like the Pooch & Mutt treats you could rotate the treats offered to keep them fresh and enticing.
5. AFFORDABLE AND SMALL Dragonfly Little Trainers Puppy Treats
These sweet potato dog treats from Dragonfly are manufactured in the UK and are baked with sweet potato, poultry and nothing else!
Very similar to the Bounce and Bella treats, Hudley's family found them very crunchy although the packaging states that they are suitable for puppies from 8 weeks old.
Hudley loved these too but his family did comment that the packaging text was very small and quite tricky to read.
They are packaged in large 500g reusable pouches.
Extremely small like the Bounce and Bella treats I could fit loads in my hand for training. Also available in Fish & Sweet Potato flavour.
If you are searching for healthy and natural treats to use whilst puppy training, then all five treats featured in this article are great options. None of them add any nasties so you can be sure you are giving your puppy a healthy start in life.
Importantly for training, they are all small enough to fit in your hand so as not to cause unnecessary distractions whilst you and your four-legged friend concentrate on training.
We recommend Scrumbles Softies as they are specifically designed to be soft for a puppies mouth, can be used from 12 weeks and they use completely compostable packaging so have great eco-friendly credentials.
PRO TIP Keep your treats solely for training. They should only be used in distracting environments, when first introducing a brand new behaviour or rewards for quick responses to cues. That way the treats are viewed as special and your puppy won't get bored of them.
RELATED ARTICLE Top 10 Treat Bags and Pouches
Keep your treats in a purpose made bag. Nobody want smelly treat crumbs in their jeans pocket.
If you're looking for a bag to hold all those tasty treats, we've got you covered! We scoured the UK market to bring you some stylish alternatives to treat stuffed pockets or traditional 'bum bags'. You'll be the envy of the park 🐾❤️
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