What Training Treats are Best for a Puppy?

Congratulations on the addition of a new puppy into your home!

You’re going to need to teach them how to go potty outside, not chew your new shoes or jump on your furniture. For training, you’re going to be needing a lot of treats! 

Cockapoo waiting for her training treats
Cockapoo puppy waiting for her training treats

Pick chews, biscuits, or even squirtable dog training treats – the options are endless! But which one is suitable for your pup? Keep reading to find out!

Top 3 Picks for Best Dog Treats for Training Puppies in 2021

 

  Dog Treats for Training Puppies Our Rating
Best Overall Dog Treats for Training Puppies / Best Premium Dog Treats Lick You Silly Savory Beef Bites

  • Soft, nutritious freeze-dried treats
  • Made from a single ingredient
  • Packed with protein and great for sensitive stomachs
4.5
Best Budget Dog Treats for Training Puppies Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Natural Puppy Treats

  • Crunchy, mini-sized biscuits 
  • All-natural and oven-baked to lock in nutrition and flavor
  • Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals 
4.5
Best Dog Treats for Training and Teething Puppies Wellness Soft Puppy Bites (Lamb & Salmon)

  • All-natural dog treats made in the USA 
  • Soft, chewy texture, ideal for teething dogs
  • Feature easily digestible proteins and ingredients that boost development
4.5

Best Dog Treat Brands for Training Puppies

a cute Golden Retriever puppy waiting for his homemade treat
Meet Brody, an obedient Golden Retriever puppy – Image source

Along with teaching your pup new tricks, treats can supplement your dog’s diet.

But with so many options out there, it can be challenging to choose the best treats for training sessions with your puppy.

That is where we come in! Keep reading to discover some of the best treats on the market.

1. Lick You Silly Savory Beef Bites

Lick You Silly Premium Savory Beefy Bites

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Beef liver
Type: Chews

Soft, nutritious freeze-dried treats made from a single ingredient, which is USDA-inspected beef liver.

Perfect for puppies, these treats are easy to chew, packed with protein, are great for sensitive stomachs, and contain no gluten, additives, or additional filler ingredients. 

Pros:

  • A big bag size containing around 200 treats
  • These treats do not require refrigeration

Cons:

  • More expensive than some competing brands on the market

CHECK PRICE HERE

2. Wellness Soft Puppy Bites (Lamb & Salmon)

Wellness Soft Puppy Bites Lamb & Salmon Recipe Grain-Free Dog Treats

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Lamb, Salmon, Chickpeas 
Type: Chews

All-natural dog treats made in the USA and specially formulated for puppies with a soft, chewy texture, ideal for teething dogs.

These soft treats feature easily digestible proteins and plenty of ingredients, like DHA, that boost development.

Pros:

  • Grain-free and gluten-free recipe with no corn, soy, or artificial colors or flavors
  • Each treat is coated in the freeze-dried liver, providing delicious flavor for pups that need some encouragement

Cons:

  • Some picky puppies just spat out these treats

CHECK PRICE HERE

3. Stewart Freeze Dried Liver Treats

Stewart Pro-Treat Beef Liver Freeze-Dried Raw Dog Treats

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: 100% Pure Beef Liver
Type: Chews

USA manufactured single-ingredient treats ideal for puppies with sensitive stomachs or food allergies.

These low-fat treats are made from 100% pure beef liver that has been freeze-dried to retain its nutritional value, making them not only a handy training tool but a great addition to your dog’s diet.

Pros:

  • An enticing aroma and meaty flavor
  • Comes in bite-sized morsels for easy training or can be crumbled over meals as a delicious treat

Cons:

  • Some pet owners complained these treats were too hard, particularly for puppies

CHECK PRICE HERE

4. Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Salmon Dog Treats

Blue Buffalo Blue Bits Savory Salmon Recipe Soft-Moist Training Dog Treats

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Oatmeal, Brown Rice
Type: Chews

These grain-free treats are made from all-natural formula and manufactured in the USA.

The recipe features real salmon, a healthy supplement for your dog’s diet and ideal for pups with food allergies. 

Pros:

  • Includes DHA for brain development and omega-3 and six fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Features wholesome ingredients that aid digestion, such as brown rice, oatmeal, and flaxseed 

Cons:

  • Some pet owners said their dogs just refused to eat these treats

CHECK PRICE HERE

5. Wellness Core Soft Beef Jerky Bites

Wellness CORE Pure Rewards Beef Grain-Free Jerky Bits Dog Treats

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Beef, Dried Chicory Root, Lecithin
Type: Jerky

Soft, tender jerky-like treats ideal for dogs of all ages. Grain-free and packed full of lean protein and fiber from real beef.

These treats are manufactured in the USA and feature a tiny size for small dogs and puppies, while the soft texture makes them easy to tear or chop for training.

Perfect for training, these treats only include five calories per serving.

Pros:

  • Free from meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy, gluten, or artificial flavors and colors
  • High in iron, calcium, zinc, and vitamin A

Cons:

  • Some pups spat or vomited out these treats

CHECK PRICE HERE

6. Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Natural Puppy Treats

Old Mother Hubbard Classic Puppy Biscuits Mini Baked Dog Treats

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Whole Wheat Flour, Oatmeal, Chicken
Type: Biscuits

Crunchy, mini-sized biscuits for puppies that focus around oats rather than meaty flavors.

Perfect for the mouths of puppies, these small-size treats are all-natural and oven-baked to lock in nutrition and flavor.

Pros:

  • Fortified with essential vitamins and minerals and packed with nutritious ingredients like flaxseed, apples, and carrots 
  • Do not contain any artificial preservatives or meat by-products

Cons:

  • Some dogs simply refused to touch these treats

CHECK PRICE HERE

7. Zuke’s Mini Naturals Peanut Butter and Oats Treats

Zuke's Mini Naturals Peanut Butter & Oats Recipe Training Dog Treats

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Peanut Butter, Barley, Rice
Type: Chews

USA manufactured mini treats featuring peanut butter as a healthy protein source.

These soft snacks are made in the USA using natural ingredients and are corn, wheat, and soy-free. They offer less than three calories per treat, making them ideal for training purposes.

Pros:

  • Mess-free and won’t leave your hands and pockets smelling like meat
  • A unique natural balance of ingredients including meat, wholefood berries, and savory herbs

Cons:

  • Some dogs had an upset stomach while on these treats

CHECK PRICE HERE

8. Kong Easy Treat Puppy Recipe

KONG Stuff'N Easy Treat Puppy Recipe

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Milk, Water, Soybean Oil
Type: Liquid

Unique liquid-based treat that can be used to fill Kongs or squirted right into your puppy’s mouth during training through the special nozzle.

The formula is designed to be gentle on puppies’ sensitive stomachs while providing a unique taste through delicious chicken liver. 

Pros:

  • Mess-free and a novel texture for young dogs
  • Multiple uses as can be frozen into Kongs for playtime

Cons:

  • Some dog owners complained the texture was much too watery

CHECK PRICE HERE

9. Diamond Naturals Puppy Biscuits (Chicken) 

Diamond Naturals Dog Treat Puppy Biscuits

Rating: 4.5
Top Ingredients: Pearled Barley, Brown Rice, Chicken Meal
Type: Biscuits

Tiny, bone-shaped biscuits designed for training puppies.

The recipe features quality ingredients such as chicken and salmon meal, flaxseed, rolled oats, and wholesome grains to supplement your dog’s nutritional needs.

Made in the USA in a family-owned facility.

Pros:

  • These treats offer your dog a highly digestible source of protein, minerals, and amino acids
  • The texture of these treats helps promote good oral hygiene while cleaning plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth

Cons:

  • Some pet owners complained the product appeared very bland with no enticing aroma

CHECK PRICE HERE

10. Purina Puppy Chow Dog Treats (Salmon)

Puppy Chow Healthy Start Salmon Flavor Training Dog Treats

Rating: 4
Top Ingredients: Salmon, Wheat Flour, Whole Grain Corn
Type: Chews

Small, salmon-flavored, chewy treats that only contain three calories per treat.

Specially designed for training puppies, these treats help support growing muscles while offering a natural hickory smoke flavor that dogs love.

Pros:

  • These treats are small enough to fit into your palm and can be broken into smaller pieces easily for splitting up when training
  • These treats contain healthy omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, for brain development and healthy skin and coat

Cons:

  • Some pet owners complained these treats are too hard

CHECK PRICE HERE

Why Should You Use Treats For Puppy Training? 

a Basset Beagle mix wagging its tail while looking at his treat
Meet Raisin, a Basset x Beagle mix excited for dino treat – Image source

Treats help to make training fun and easy. It can be challenging to train puppies without the motivation of delicious treats.

Treats let your dog know that they have done something right and that they should do it again.

This will help you train new behaviors faster and allow your dog to quickly establish what is considered good behavior.

Giving your dog treats through hand-feeding is also an excellent way to bond with your pup.

Your dog learns to trust you while also learning how to take treats from your hand carefully. This can prevent your dog from biting in the future. 

Treats also help to focus your dog on you. As they tune out distractions, your pup will be more responsive to you and what you are trying to achieve.

Complete Best Dog Treats for Training Puppies Guide

an American Bully puppy biting her treat
Meet Reina, a spoiled XL American Bully with a treat – Image source

Not all dog treats are created equal. You will want your dog treats to meet different parameters to achieve the best results for training. We take a closer look at what makes the best dog training treats:

Training Treat Selection Tips: Finding Treats Your Dog Will Adore

Before you go out and buy training treats for your puppy, be sure to check the ingredient list. Avoid any food that contains chemicals, meat by-products, fillers, and grains.

Instead, opt for treats made with limited, all-natural, high-quality ingredients that won’t upset your dog’s stomach or cause any food allergies.

When it comes to the ingredients you want, look for a product with a high protein value with meat or fish as the first ingredient and is preferably human-grade.

Omega-3 and six fatty acids and DHA help develop the brain, skin, and coat, while vitamins and minerals boost overall nutrition and lead to a generally healthy dog.

As you will be giving these treats to your dog over and over again, often several times a day, the calorie count is an important consideration.

Your dog’s treats should not exceed more than 10% of their daily caloric intake

Along with finding a low-calorie treat, you might even want to consider reducing your dog’s ordinary meals to take into account the extra goodies they will be receiving.

You also don’t just need to stick to one treat. Mix up your dog’s treats and experiment with different options to determine which ones achieve the best results. 

Dog trainers also refer to treats as being of high value or low value. High-value puppy training treats are ones your dog tends to value more than others.

High-value treats usually are very smelly, which means they are delicious for dogs. These treats should be used in highly distracting environments and during essential socialization exercises. 

On the other hand, low-value training rewards are essential when you want to phase treats out of training.

Your dog’s daily kibble can also be a good option as a low-value treat, particularly for food-motivated pups.

All that said, picking the right treat isn’t just about finding out what works for your dog but also your budget. 

Things to look for when selecting dog treats: What should dogs eat?

When choosing a treat for training your puppy, size matters, select treats that are very small in size as you don’t want to overindulge your pup each time they follow a command.

This could cause them to gain weight, get ill, fill up, and not eat their regular food. 

You also want to choose mini rewards that are soft and easy for your dog to swallow.

Even if you have a large dog, you can’t waste time training waiting for your dog to crunch away at large biscuits or cookies.

That said, you don’t want the treats to be so soft that you can’t easily carry them in your pocket. 

Of course, you also want your treats to provide some nutritional value to your pup. Look for treats made from all-natural ingredients and made in the USA.

Treats with a delicious aroma are also a top choice as they work to grab your dog’s attention. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

a Mini Aussie puppy under the sunny day
Meet Parker, a Mini Australian Shepherd perfectly groomed – Image source

At what age can puppies have training treats?

Puppies are completely weaned at about seven or eight weeks of age, and at this stage, should be receiving all their daily nutrition from their dog food.

It is at this age that you can start introducing treats to your pup. 

While treat training is an essential part of the puppy rearing process, you will still need to be cautious about exactly what you give your dog.

Puppies have particular dietary requirements compared to adult dogs. 

What should you do if your puppy is not motivated by treats?

Not all puppies are motivated by food. Your dog might respond better to praise, playing with a toy, or a good cuddle, in which case these can be used as rewards instead when training your dog. 

Quick, high-pitched tones convey excitement and congratulations to your dog, and for some puppies, just a word of praise can be all they need to know they have done an excellent job.

Negative communication should be avoided as this can cause young puppies to become spooked and timid.

A food dispenser or toy can also help ramp up the fun factor for your pup when it comes to obtaining their treats. 

Can you give homemade treats to your pup?

Making homemade treats can save you money and also gives you complete control over the ingredients.

If your dog has allergies or diet restrictions, then homemade treats are often the way to go. 

That said, homemade treats like meatballs can be difficult to carry around and can break apart in your pocket.

You also need to ensure that any homemade food you make for your dog fits into their daily food requirements and, of course, are healthy treats made from nutritious ingredients.

Make your own homemade puppy treats with this recipe: 

Human Foods That Work Great for Training

Your dog’s favorite human foods can work for training. Some of our top choices include:

  • Hot dogs
  • Real meat like cooked chicken
  • String cheese
  • Tiny apple bits
  • Peanut butter
  • Veggies like carrot pieces, kale, or green beans
  • Salmon
  • Cooked pumpkin bits
  • Chopped-up eggs
  • Sweet potato

Talk to your vet before choosing any new treat for your puppy

a happy Aussie puppy waiting for his paw treat
Meet Winston, a mini Merle Australian Shepherd loving his treat – Image source

Before introducing any new food to your pet’s diet, including treats, it is advisable to speak to your vet about the best options.

Your vet knows your dog, its size, weight, personality, and potential health issues and will be placed to advise on which choice is right for your puppy.

It’s also very easy to overfeed your dog, so be sure to limit the number of treats you give your dog.

That said, if you mix up your dog’s treat options, they may also work harder just to find out what they will get next! 

You might also want to consider investing in a treat pouch for storing your pup’s snacks. This will keep your pet’s treats fresher while avoiding stinking out your pockets.

Do you have a treat that worked particularly well when training your pup? Let us know in the comments below!

Further reading:

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