giving a corgi a treat while on a walk
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The 10 Best Dog Training Treats, According to a Professional Dog Trainer

Plus, trainer tips on how to choose the best treats for your dog.
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Training is an essential part of being a pet parent, and positive reinforcement (giving your dog a positive stimulus when they perform a desirable behavior) is the best way to train your dog while building your bond.

Treats are one of the best and easiest ways to reward your dog, but there are some things to consider while finding the best dog training treats for your pup. As a professional dog trainer, these are my suggestions on how to find the perfect treats to use while training your dog, plus some of my favorite options so you can maximize your training sessions.

What Makes a Good Dog Training Treat?

It might take some trial and error to learn what flavors your dog loves, but in general, treats should be:

  • Small in size for quick, easy chewing
  • Low calorie to keep your pup healthy
  • Soft and easy to eat without the risk of choking
  • Portable
  • High value so your dog wants to earn them
  • Smelly! What's smelly to us is usually extra-delicious for your pup

If you get to the bottom of your treat bag, you can sub in small pieces of cheese or bite-sized pieces of cooked meats like chicken, turkey, or ground beef. Don't forget to rotate the treats you give your pup so they don't get bored, and offer something super high-value when they nail an especially hard cue (like performing a flawless recall in a busy area, maybe?).

What To Avoid in Dog Training Treats

The goal for a training treat is that it can be quickly delivered, tasted, and swallowed so the training session can continue and we can keep our dog's focus. So, it's best to avoid:

  • Treats that are too large
  • Treats that will take too long to eat
  • Dry biscuits or anything that could be a choking hazard

Remember, Your Dog Decides the Reinforcer

This is trainer talk for saying that your dog is the one that decides what their reward is, not you. You may find that toys are more effective than treats, you may need to play a game with the food, or you might find that a dog cookie is much more effective than real meat (that's the case with my boy). 

So while these are my favorite dog training treats, remember your dog is an individual and should be treated as such.

The 10 Best Dog Training Treats

The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Lamb Green Tripe
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1 Best Overall: The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Lamb Green Tripe

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Tripe tends to be very smelly, so these treats might not be the best smelling to you and me. If you have a dog who is nose oriented (think beagle), they'll probably find these treats delicious, which will definitely help with training.

Shop now: The New Zealand Natural Pet Food Co. Lamb Green Tripe, $11; amazon.com

Waggin’ Train Chicken Jerky Tenders Dog Treats
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2 Best for Large Dogs: Waggin' Train Chicken Jerky Tenders Dog Treats

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I separate these with a big knife to bring them down to smaller portions that are quicker to eat. But I would only recommend these for larger dog breeds, because they can chew the treats faster than a small breed, allowing you to keep training. It gives a slightly different texture, and they're smell free!

Shop now: Waggin' Train Chicken Jerky Tenders Dog Treats, $17; chewy.com

full moon training treat
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3 Best for Small Dogs: Full Moon Duck Training Grain-Free Dog Treats

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The Daily Paws commerce editor (and her dogs!) love these training treats. They're the perfect size to stuff in your pockets or treat pouch without taking up too much room (or leaving a trail of crumbs behind). They're small enough and chewy enough for pups to eat quickly without choking (and less than three calories each).

Shop now: Full Moon Duck Training Grain-Free Dog Treats, $7; chewy.com

Zuke's Puppy Naturals Training Dog Treats Salmon & Chickpea
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4 Best for Puppies: Zuke's Puppy Naturals Training Dog Treats Salmon & Chickpea

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It's always good to have a variety of flavor options on hand, including fish! These are some of the best puppy training treats you can grab: They're small, they're valuable, and they're easy to eat even for a teething puppy or a senior dog!

Shop now: Zuke's Puppy Naturals Training Dog Treats Salmon & Chickpea, $6; chewy.com

360 Pet Nutrition Freeze Dried Raw Bison Liver
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5 Best for Sensitive Stomachs: 360 Pet Nutrition Freeze-Dried Beef Liver

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Liver is one of the tastiest things for dogs, and as a consequence, these treats tend to be highly prized. Made of just one ingredient, these treats can be good for dogs with sensitive stomachs or those who are intolerant to chicken. Try interspersing these with your pup's other treats to make sure your pup doesn't get too much vitamin A (liver is a great source of vitamin A, but we don't want to have too much!). 

Shop now: 360 Pet Nutrition Freeze-Dried Beef Liver, $17; amazon.com

Vital Essentials Chicken Hearts Freeze-dried Raw Treats
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6 Best High-Value: Vital Essentials Chicken Hearts Freeze-Dried Raw Treats

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Now, these aren't for the faint of heart, as they do look like exactly what they are: freeze-dried chicken hearts. These treats are well-loved by my and my clients' dogs—rich and tasty, they will encourage your dog to work. You can also section these up into multiple pieces to make them last longer.

Shop now: Vital Essentials Chicken Hearts Freeze-Dried Raw Treats, $9; chewy.com

Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Sweet Potato Treats
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7 Best Low-Calorie: Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Sweet Potato Treats

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At less than one calorie per treat, you can feel good about giving these freeze-dried sweet potato treats during a training session or while teaching a new skill. These are also the perfect sized treats and can be a good option for dogs who struggle with allergies.

Show now: Pupford Freeze-Dried Training Sweet Potato Treats, $16; amazon.com

Fruitables Skinny Minis Bison Soft & Chewy Dog Treats
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8 Best Chewy: Fruitables Skinny Minis Bison Soft & Chewy Dog Treats

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These small treats are a little more chewy than some of the crunchy ones listed here. If you have a dog that struggles with their teeth, these can be a wonderful, tasty alternative.

Shop now: Fruitables Skinny Minis Bison Soft & Chewy Dog Treats, $5; petco.com

Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural P-Nuttier Mini Dog Biscuits
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9 Best Crunchy: Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural P-Nuttier Mini Dog Biscuits

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These are by far my dog Indie's favorite biscuit (some dogs just prefer biscuits over something chewy, and that's ok!). They're also nicely sized, can easily be broken up into smaller pieces, and are available from a number of stores. These are always worth having on hand.

Shop now: Old Mother Hubbard Crunchy Classic Natural P-Nuttier Mini Dog Biscuits, $5; petco.com

Beech-Nut Veggies Stage 2, Pumpkin Zucchini & Apple Baby Food
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10 Most Convenient: Beech-Nut Veggies Stage 2, Pumpkin Zucchini & Apple Baby Food

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This is an interesting one, but a small lick from the end of one of these pouches? Yum! Your dog will love the change in flavor and texture, and it can be easier to dispense these while training. They might be an acquired taste for some dogs, but they can be powerful rewards that keep your dog interested throughout your training sessions.

Shop now: Beech-Nut Veggies Stage 2, Pumpkin Zucchini & Apple Baby Food, $12; walmart.com