I love training treats for dogs! I’m a long time user of high-value training treats when teaching my dogs polite behavior and tricks.
From potty training my 8-week-old Boxer mix puppies Missy & Buzz to teaching my 1-year-old Feist mix Wally the “play dead” trick, dog training treats have helped me out tremendously.
That’s why today’s article covers the best training treats for dogs. I’m also going to share my favorite DIY dog training treat recipe. This post is not sponsored, however Raw Paws Pet Food and Campfire Treats sent us treats at no cost.
First, the benefits of treats in dog training
Let’s start by explaining why I use training treats for my dogs in the first place.
Simply put, I use them to make my life easier! I’ve yielded great results by using treats in potty training, obedience training as well as trick training.
Generally speaking, I use dog training treats in my everyday life to reward my pup when he listens to me and performs certain behaviors I ask of him such as:
- Tricks like shake, wave, play dead, up
- Games like “find me” – our version of hide and seek inside the house
After all, who doesn’t want to get rewarded for a job well done?
Training treats make dog training fun, easier and they motivate our dogs to work with us. And mixing up the treats we use ensures our pups never know which food reward they’ll reap next. This keeps them willing to work!
Features of the best treats for dogs
It’s important to understand that not all dog treats are created equally and aren’t necessarily good for dog TRAINING purposes.
For instance, any large treats that are too hard to break apart and can’t easily fit into our pockets or a treat pouch are a big no no for me (for training purposes).
That’s because dogs need to be rewarded quickly for obeying a command. They also need be to be able to quickly focus back on you, so they can’t be distracted by a large, chewy treat that takes 10+ seconds to eat.
Besides that, I also prefer limited- and single-ingredient treats that don’t pack a caloric punch.
In my experience, the best training treats have the following features:
- Soft but firm consistency
- Small, bite-sized!
- Somewhat smelly to engage dog more
Somewhat smelly training treats can be particularly beneficial for dogs who may not be very food motivated. I personally don’t have that problem with Wally. He is insanely food motivated!
Treats that fall into the “somewhat smelly” category are green tripe treats and anything fishy.
The six best training treats for dogs
Now without further ado, the six treats that made it on my list of best treats for dogs are:
1. Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Beef Tripe Dog Treats
ORDER HERE – $8.49 per 2.3-ounce bag
- USA-sourced, made, and packaged
- Gluten-free and grain-free
- No artificial preservatives or colors
- No synthetic vitamins or minerals
- Somewhat smelly
Single-ingredient treat: beef tripe
2. Campfire Dog Treats Dehydrated Hearty Bites.
ORDER HERE – $14.98 for a 3.5-ounce container
Available in beef heart, chicken jerky or beef liver bites.
- Low calorie treats
- USA-sourced & made
- Gluten-free and grain-free
- Additive-and preservative-free
Single-ingredient treat: beef heart, chicken or beef liver
At our request, Campfire Treats sent us treats to try at no cost and they are providing the treats for our giveaway. Read Lindsay’s full review of Campfire Natural Dog Treats here.
3. Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats
ORDER HERE – $15.99 for a 4-ounce bag
They come in beef liver, chicken or sweet potato.
- Less than 2 calories per treat
- About 450 treats per bag
Limited-ingredients: 95% beef liver or sweet potato and 5% pea protein.
4. Raw Paws Pet Food Dehydrated Sweet Potato
ORDER HERE – $5.99 (sale) per 3-ounce bag
- Only 2 calories per treat
- Gluten-free and grain-free
- Grown, dried, and packaged in the USA
- No artificial preservatives or colors.
Single-ingredient treat: sweet potato.
Raw Paws Pet Food also carries large gourmet sweet potato chip dog treats that Wally loves as much as the smaller sweet potato treats, but they don’t make good training treats due to their size.
At our request, Raw Paws sent us some treats to try at no cost. They are also providing treats for our giveaway!
5. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Good Dog Rewards
ORDER HERE – $8.96 per 3-ounce bag
Available in beef, lamb or venison (most expensive).
- Low calorie-treats
- No antibiotics or growth promotants
- No grains, sugars, or glycerins
- All meat sources are grass-fed and sourced from ethical and sustainable farms in New Zealand
Ingredients of the beef treats: Beef, Beef Heart, Beef Tripe, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel, Beef Bone, Lecithin, Inulin from Chicory, Dried Kelp, Minerals (Dipotassium Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Copper Amino Acid Complex, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Selenium Yeast), Salt, Parsley, Preservative (Citric Acid, Mixed Tocopherols), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid).
6. Zuke’s Mini Naturals
ORDER HERE – $5.99 per 6-ounce bag
Available in chicken, duck, peanut butter & oats, pork, rabbit and salmon.
- Less than 3 calories per treat.
- No corn, wheat, or soy.
- No artificial colors or flavors.
Ingredients in the rabbit recipe: Rabbit, ground rice, ground barley, malted barley, gelatin, vegetable glycerin, tapioca, cherries, natural flavors, sunflower oil, salt, lecithin, phosphoric acid, turmeric, sorbic acid (a preservative), ascorbic acid (vitamin c), vitamin D, zinc proteinate, citric acid, mixed tocopherols, rosemary extract.
Best dog treat pouch – Mighty Paw
Along with the best dog training treats goes the best dog training treat pouch. It’s just so much easier to carry the treats you’ll be training your dog with in a designated dog training pouch rather than stuffing them into various pockets.
In my opinion, the best dog training treat pouch is the one by Mighty Paw. It truly is an incredibly practical and versatile tool that I’ve owned since 2017. See for yourself!
Features of the Mighty Paw treat pouch are:
- Draw string pouch with 2 cup treat capacity
- 2 compartments to hold a cell phone and money
- 1 carabiner clip to hold keys and/or a training clicker
- Poop bag holder (the pouch comes with one complimentary roll of poop bags)
- High quality, weatherproof material with reflective stitching
- Adjustable belt so it can be worn like a fanny pack (adjusts to belt sizes 26″ – 42″)
Bonus: Dehydrated dog treat recipe
I usually buy my dog training treats, but every now and then I like to wear my chef hat and whip up a batch of homemade doggie training treats in my dehydrator.
It’s just a fun DIY way of changing things up a bit and not aways having to rely on store bought treats.
The recipe I invite you to check out is super simple, but you’ll need to set aside 12-24 hours for the meat to dry in the dehydrator.
All you need is your dog’s preferred type of liver or other cuts of meat like gizzards, hearts or breast meat.
I buy mine either from a local grocery store or from online raw dog food retailers. Dehydrated liver treats are easiest to break apart into small or even tiny training rewards.
Tip: These homemade dog training treats make a great, thoughtful gift for dog lovers during the holidays or any other occasion you’d like to share some love on! You could gift them in a pretty mason jar or similar glass storage container wrapped up with a festive bow.
What training are you working on with your dog?
Let us know in the comments below!
Barbara Rivers writes regularly for That Mutt. She is certified in raw dog food nutrition from Dogs Naturally Magazine and the author of three ebooks about balanced raw dog food. She is a blogger at K9s Over Coffee.