Dog training treats

Best Dog Training Treats

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 all-time favorite dog training treat pouch and 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.

*Leave a comment at the end of this post for a chance to enter our HUGE dog treat giveaway from multiple brands!! ($125 value) Four winners total! Update: The winners have been chosen.

Best dog training treats

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:

  • Sit
  • Stay
  • Come
  • Down
  • Off
  • 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! 

Best dog training treats

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.

Best dog training treats

In my experience, the best training treats have the following features:

  • Soft but firm consistency
  • Small, bite-sized! 
  • Crumble-free
  • Non-greasy
  • 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

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

Vital Essentials freeze dried dog treats

  • 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

Vita Essentials dog treats


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.

Campfire dog treats


3. Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Treats

ORDER HERE – $15.99 for a 4-ounce bag

Freeze dried beef treats

They come in beef liver, chicken or sweet potato.

  • Less than 2 calories per treat
  • About 450 treats per bag
  • USA-made

Limited-ingredients: 95% beef liver or sweet potato and 5% pea protein.

Pupford treats


4. Raw Paws Pet Food Dehydrated Sweet Potato

ORDER HERE – $5.99 (sale) per 3-ounce bag

Raw Paws sweet potato treats

  • 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!

Raw Paws sweet potato treats 

Raw Paws sweet potato treats


5. Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Good Dog Rewards

ORDER HERE – $8.96 per 3-ounce bag

Ziwi Dog Treats

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).

Ziwi dog treats


6. Zuke’s Mini Naturals

ORDER HERE – $5.99 per 6-ounce bag

Zuke's mini naturals dog treats

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.
  • USA-made.

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.

Zuke's mini naturals dog treats

Zuke's minis


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.

ORDER HERE
Use code: MP20MUTT for 20% off

Dog treat pouch

In my opinion, the best dog training treat pouch is the one by Mighty Paw. I may be a little biased since That Mutt and Mighty Paw are partners, but 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″)

Mighty Paw treat pouch  Mighty Paw treat pouch


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.

Recipe: How to make dehydrated dog treats for your pup

Dehydrated dog treat recipe

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.


Giveaway – win 6 packages of treats & a treat pouch for your dog!

We are giving away prizes to FOUR lucky winners in the U.S.!

UPDATE: Contrats to the four winners! I will be emailing you over the weekend.

1st place: Karen W.
2nd place: Star
3rd place: Kate R.
4th place: Sue

To enter: Just leave a comment below! Let us know, what training are you currently working on with your dog? 

First place: Win three packages of treats from Raw Paws, three packages of treats from Campfire Treats and a treat pouch from Mighty Paw! ($125 total value)

Second place: Win three packages of treats from Raw Paws

Third place: Win one package of treats from Campfire Treats

Fourth place: Win a treat pouch from Mighty Paw!

Lindsay will choose the winners on Thurs Dec. 12 and post them here and notify winners by email. Must have a U.S. mailing address to win. Just leave a comment below and you’re entered!

What training are you working on with your dog?

Let us know in the comments below!

 

72 thoughts on “Best Dog Training Treats”

  1. Just rescued a pretty traumatized terrier mutt from the shelter. He’d been there over a year. We are still in the mostly ignoring him phase and letting him settle in. Whenever he shows interest in us, we are giving him treats.

    I look forward to trying some of these!

    1. I am always working with my dog to have better manners during walks. Especially when other dogs pass by. The training tips and ideas offered here have really helped me out a lot and he is really getting a lot better. I’m looking forward to try out some of these treat ideas.

    2. I use dog treats especially with Leave it! Command, so my dog knows no matter what he is passing up, I will give him something better. I’ve had good luck with Hearty Bites. My considerations when choosing a training treat are low calories and enticing odor. I look forward to trying out some of these suggestions.

    3. I’m working on stay and sit and still on the counter surfing. We use positive feedback. He’s getting there thanks for the chance to win some treats. Monique Kane

  2. I rescued a French bulldog in July and she is so smart. She loves to go for walks and she is quick to learn. We are currently working on down/stay and winning this would help us a lot.

  3. Mary Alice Kropp

    I am also a big fan of training treats. I have used them with Lambaeu (now 6) since he was a puppy. He’s learned a lot of good behaviors and I am always trying to find new things to teach him. Right now, we are working on putting his paws on the steps of a 3 step stool by number. So, when I say “Three” he puts his paws on the third step; “Two” for the second, and “One” for the first. He knows how to randomly touch the steps. I am working on refining it now. Treats are a big help since I can lead him to the step I want and he gets rewarded when he does it right. He’s getting the idea and I think we will be ready to show this one off soon!

    1. I use treats to train my bloodhound.
      It’s the easiest way to keep her engaged as her nose has a tendency to grab her attention ( lol).

  4. Please enter us for a chance to win. The only treat mentioned we have tried is Zuke’s. I am looking for a new treat pouch/bag, in our current treat pouch the poop bags cut into the treat area so there are always a bunch of treats I can’t get to so they are wasted filling unusable space at the bottom. Do you see this happening with this bag? Is the strap long enough to use the pouch as a cross body?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      Hi Christina, that definitely does not happen with Mighty Paw’s bag. I haven’t worn it across my chest, but the length of the belt strap is 42″.

  5. I have two dogs — with one, it’s agility all the way! We’ve had him for about 4 1/2 years. So we’re training at a somewhat high level of agility. He’ll work for just about anything (honestly, sometimes I think he’d just work for the love of agility). His rewards have been various Zukes because they’re just easy. Buy a bag and go!

    My younger 2 1/2 year old Border Collie we just brought home a couple months ago. She’ll be getting into agility too, but right now we’re starting to tackle some noise sensitivity issues (the vacuum and live music!). The Zukes haven’t been exciting enough so I’m going to get some of these because they look GREAT! I need something for really throwing parties for her!

  6. We would like to be entered in the drawing, I have not tried any of these treats. Gauge is a 3 yr old lab mix, we always work on commands . The pouch would be great when we are out for walks. Thank you

  7. We are working with our 11 month Lhapsapoo rescue, barking when meeting other dogs on leash. We have tried Zuker but not the other treats listed. She is very intelligent and decides which treats will motivate..

  8. My 2 dogs are 5 and 6 years of age but they received sloppy training as puppies. So we are constantly reinforcing good behavior. The most problematic behavior is barking at and jumping on visitors. Ugh! Anyway, we would feel blessed to be the winners. Regardless, I have used products from these companies and they are excellent. Lindsay’s advice is always very helpful in all areas.

  9. Angelica Rodriguez

    Oh!! I recently left my dog with my siblings due to my traveling and I feel like I need to retrain my dog. I really hope these can help with that.

  10. Trying to work with my 2 dogs it a challenge because I am training them at the same time. So I need a really good treat to make it worth it to them to be patient. I am always looking for something special that will help

  11. I am currently training two Aussies in obedience and agility. Both are very food motivated and I’m sure would enjoy these treats. Always looking for something different.

  12. Picking up to 8 week old Weimaraners 2 weeks from today. Boy is it going to be a spectacular Christmas. With 2 new puppies, I am very glad to have found your site and appreciate the newsletter

  13. I’ve got a runner lol, so every chance I get, we work on the “come” recall. World love the opportunity to win one new tasty treats for her to entice her more

  14. We lost our home to the Camp Fire 12 mos ago. Our Springer is in need of “tune up” training now that we’ve temporarily resettled in a new place. I’m working on listening to me in the face of distraction and walking with his head up, not sniffing the whole route and pulling.

  15. Victoria Lougheed

    I have a husky x ridgeback. She’s absolutely adorable and extremely loving. VERY smart. Not particularly obedient. She knows the rules, but often she chooses not to obey. I’m working on being consistent with my behavior so she has clear expectations. Always reinforcing that she performs an obedience before getting a desired activity like a walk, a feed, play, etc.

  16. We have a rescue pointer mix named Merle. He has been a joy to train using treats! Well except for the excited jumping when we come home…still working on that. He even has a ‘potty area’ in the yard he uses!

  17. I’ve had my pomeranian puppy for a month and a half and we’re still teaching her tricks so all of these treats will be a big help

  18. Working on play dead but when he is on his side he keeps wanting to roll over, which is a trick he loves to do. Any suggestions?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      I’m working on “roll over” and my dog already knows “play dead” and he is also getting confused. I find that a clicker works really well when they are getting confused with two commands. It helps mark the exact behavior. I don’t use a clicker often but I bring it out when Remy gets confused.

  19. Margaret Sheridan

    I have a Malinois. We do nosework (NACSW) and Tracking. I use a combination of training treats (Zuke’s rabbit recipe and True Chews pot pies broken into pieces). I also use very high value treats such as hots dogs and string cheese. She has calmed down once I started her in nosework and tracking. Obedience and other sports didn’t really work out for us. I found that jackpot treats are especially usefully with coming when called and a sit/stay.

    1. I have a Belgian Malinois mix which I I’m training to be my moms service dog. I use treats to teach her things like opening and closing doors, picking up items, performing DPT and other task that help with her disabilities. High value rewards are very important in her training especially when we are doing something new or need to work on something that gives her trouble.

  20. Working on NOT greeting other dogs/people on the trail with barking! She’s pretty good if I get her attention with a treat and a heel in enough time. If I let her get going, much harder to distract.

  21. My Carolina Dog is the fastest pooch in the dog park, and not good at coming when called. He’s improving, but I need some truly irresistible HVTTs to overcome his tendency to tease me by racing to the other end of the park. And letting him off-leash in an unfenced area is out of the question!

  22. I had promised myself to get a puppy at lead 5-6 months old but found myself with a just barely two mutt. Very cute but what a terror. Too young to teach anything. Usually pees near a pee pad seldom on it! Loves to sleep and eat and beat up the 5 year old cat who I think will have a nervous break-down as will I! Can’t wait until Blanca (dog) is old enough to listen and learn. Ceci (cat) is praying for the same thing.

  23. Training treats are an everyday must in my home. I have an 11 year old Am Staff Diesel; you can always teach an old dog new tricks 🙂 and my 7 month Cane Corso Hemi. Hemi being a large puppy is working on basic obedience and impulse control. Boundaries are extremely important for a breed of her size and temperament. Training treats are definitely what motivate both Hemi and Diesel.

  24. I’m working on getting my little 6 lb Chorkie to not bark and nip at my 60 lb German Shepherd mix. Chorkie thinks he’s the boss, of course.

  25. 8 year old Gracie is still working on walking nicely and not pulling Mom’s arm out of socket…. She says that dog treats are more important that cat food….

  26. I’m a certified dog trainer and work on training ALL of the obedience commands. I’m always looking for healthy treats to motivate everyone’s fur babies. I love this chance to win!

  27. The value of the treats, in the dog’s opinion, can make a huge difference is environments with strong distractions. Two of our favorite training treats are baked chicken cubed and little bits of string cheese.

  28. Sandy Weinstein

    does not look like my comment went thru sorry if duplicate. we have tried 3 of the above, ziwi, ( love their food as well), vital essentials (great food as well), Zuke’s. have not tried the other 2, but i know my girls would love them as well. we try to work on stay, when mom has treats they come running, they hear the rumble of the bag and see me walking to the kitchen and come running. so we need to work on that, however, they are good girls. we were at an event a few weeks ago, i left them and walked around talking to people. they stayed right there. in fact, some people thought they were statues because they were so still and did not move. to they are really good girls.

  29. I’ve tried many of the treats you recommend! All very good! However we go through so many treats when I have a new foster (and working on everyone getting along, potty training, etc) I usually just use a hot dog or string cheese. I can grab one quickly as we head outside and break off tiny pieces as we go.

  30. My dog is a shelter rescue that is going on 9 years old. She medic alerted on me the first week I had her. As my service dog she’s a constant in my life and training is ongoing.
    Hardest part of her focus is leave it, so we work a great deal on that.
    She has no allergies and she loves all the brands you list here.
    I also volunteer with the rescue that pulled her from the shelter and paired us, no knowing how valuable she would be for my day to day functioning.

  31. My dog is a shelter rescue that is going on 9 years old. She medic alerted on me the first week I had her. As my service dog she’s a constant in my life and training is ongoing.
    Hardest part of her focus is leave it, so we work a great deal on that.
    She has no allergies and she loves all the brands you list here.
    I also volunteer with the rescue that pulled her from the shelter and paired us, no knowing how valuable she would be for my day to day functioning.

  32. I do Box Feeding, which desensitizes and counter conditions the pup/dog to make them mentally stronger. Especially good for nervous/anxious dogs of all breeds.
    I use the dogs daily meal for this, if using treats I buy the Ziwi Peak dog food instead of the treat version it is much less expensive in bulk, and I use a lot of it.
    Once conditioned to the Box Feeding the dog learns to keep his head in the box, different noises are added as distractions, then the dog receives food as a reward. Food is NEVER given while doing the distractions as that can cause food aggression in some dogs. This training transitions over to every day obedience and coping skills. I highly recommend it, having seen amazing results myself .

  33. I make my own dehydrated meat & veggie treats for training.
    Currently, my pibble and I are working on his emergency recall. He’s getting better but still needs work. Also we are working on roll over but he only half rolls over lol. He doesn’t quite get that he has to fully roll over. He just lays on his back with his legs in the air haha

  34. I like the idea of making dehydrated meat treats for training, they really get Parker’s attention!! Plus they are not too messy to carry around. I am working on long distance stay then come so he gets a treat and a lot of hugs when he comes bounding back to me.
    I’d like him to do Bang and fall down dead but haven’t much success yet!!

  35. We are training our Chesapeake Bay Retriever right now and I am never sure what to give him that is health and easy to grab when needed. This article helped soooooo much. Thank you !!!!!

  36. I am getting back into training my very hyper Aussie girl, so these would be wonderful. We are right now focusing on patience exercises since she gets so excited to go outside she loses her mind! Thanks for the great ideas on training.

  37. I have a Service (hearing) Dog, Fritzel, very very handsome Golden Retriever 🙂 he alerts me to several noises & sounds. When Fritzel alerts me to the stove timer, he does what he’s soposto do….. but then adds a Bark. Not sure why he does it.

  38. We have had Meeka, Malshichi we think, since she was 4 weeks old. She is so smart and has learned several tricks. She is 5 months now and I’ve been trying to leash train her. I don’t know if she is too young still, or if I should have started earlier, but it is not going well! I’m hoping these treats will help! I also like the idea of making my own. It’s time to get a dehydrator! Thank you for the information! I love reading all the comments as well!

  39. We are working on recall, being off leash and distractions outside when there is alot of distractions outside our yard, in public and other dogs.

  40. Sondra Rosenberg

    I love training treats. They are the most common purchase every time I go to the pet store. I try and find those meaty treats that all my dogs like at a great price (sales and more). It’s been hard finding treats that my new adopted boy likes. He is more into praises than food. But it never hurts to encourage with food. 🙂
    I will definitely have to try these treats.

  41. Great article Barbara, well thought out and informational. Thanks as well for mentioning Pupford treats (I work there!), we’re glad your pup has been loving them 🙂 For anyone who hasn’t tried them, we hope that you’ll give them a shot!

  42. Kevin A Robinson

    I have two Giant Black Schnauzers (brothers) 3 years old, I have little time to train, would like to have them go to obedience school. Should I take both at the same time or separate them?

    1. Lindsay Stordahl

      If it’s a board and train school, Ivwould ask the instructor what’s best. If it’s a class you go to with them, I’d say both together if you have another adult or older child who can handle one.

  43. My sweet Eevee is a 3 1/2 year old shepherd/lab mix and she is so quick to learn new things. And she loves treats! I love hearing all the great things about these and would love to have her try them!!!!

  44. Great lineup of treats. I really appreciate that you’ve found all these. Sometimes it seems very hard to find treats that are healthy for my dog and not full of bad ingredients. And thanks for the dehydrating recipe too!

  45. Candi Warrington

    Love dehydrated treats, we have always used them for Gus. Now we have Molly Boo who is a strong willed pistol but smart as a whip. 7 months old..

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