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We are getting our mini poodle puppy this weekend and wanted to get some treats for him. Do you have a good brand that you recommend? I read about freeze dried liver from Ian Dunbar’s boom but it seems that giving that many treats for that many potty breaks seems like a lot. What do you use?
 

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Freeze dried liver is much loved, but had a disastrously loosening effect on my dogs' bowels... I tend to make my own treats so that I know what is in them and can calculate the calories - liver biscotti (or the same recipe using a can of salmon or of tuna) are favourites, or the tiny chicken treats I make in a fat drainage tray. If you feed kibble reserving some of the day's ration for treats is the easiest way of always having some to and.
 
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Freeze dried liver is a great treat but should only be used occasionally and in small amounts. There’s too much fat and even worse can cause a serious illness called Vitamin A Toxicosis.

https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/vitamin-a-toxicosis-in-dogs

I used my dogs regular food as part of training treats. I had training sessions at meal time where my dog had to “work” for her food.

My dog has food allergies and digestive issues if fed the wrong foods so I’m limited in what I can use. My favorites are cut up cooked turkey from Costco without any additives, just meat. I cut it up into small strips and freeze it. I also make hamburger from Trader Joe’s 96% fat free hamburger. My favorite commercial products are Crumps Naturals freeze dried lung and Ziwi Peak lamb. The Ziwi Peak is particularly nice because it’s a complete food so even though it’s a special treat for my dog, it has completely vitamins and minerals.
 

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For a puppy use a portion of the baby dog's regular kibble. Do lots of feeding of regular food from your hand. This will teach the pup that he should pay attention to you and that you will pay well and you can be generous when you use a portion out of the regular daily diet since it won't add extra calories. I would save stuff like freeze dried liver or bits of cooked meat for teaching things like relaxed acceptance of grooming and the like.
 

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If you can accustom your poodle to kibble as a treat, yay you! Buck never bought into that. I used tiny bits of dried cod skin from Polka Dog Bakery and dehydrated turkey from Boulder Dog Food Company. Both great companies with lots of treat and chew options, that are made in the US.
 

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I actually use Ziwipeak lamb just like Skylar! I guess great minds think alike! It's a wonderful treat because you can just buy the normal complete diet (in 1 or 2 lb bags) and this makes it reasonably priced. My pup is on a raw prey model diet, so it's especially perfect because ziwipeak follows this same model so I don't have to worry about throwing off the balance of his diet. I second that liver must be given in moderation. I do throw in freeze dried liver, lung, or turkey heart for a bit of variety when he needs exceptional attentiveness. Another good brand is vital essentials, which also is a complete freeze dried diet like ziwipeak, but I find it a bit more oily so I prefer ziwipeak. Ziwipeak comes in these flat little squares that are easy to break up if you want smaller pieces.
 

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Mfmst that is too funny. Curiously even though all our dogs eat really nice home cooked people food, Lily will still work for kibble of any kind if that is all I have. Every once in a blue moon I forget to bring training rewards to my club and use what ever is there, usually some tiny kibbles that I am not sure of the brand or protein. She loves it. Javelin is a pill and won't eat any sort of milk bone type dog biscuit and hasn't eaten kibble since he was about a year old. If I have no training rewards I brought he won't eat what's around so I have to use a jump up release and a bit of petting with him.
 

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I am super cheap with dog treats, and have a dog that will eat anything. I tend to match scale of task to reward given more or less, and mix it up.

We use, in no particular order: frozen veggies (puppy training sessions while I made lunch or dinner), popcorn, dehydrated beef lung (I worry about using too much liver), her dog food, and esp, when she was a baby.... other flavours/brands of dog food. A sample pack or small bag of a few other flavours, kept sealed in small containers to keep their smell is a great, healthy, inexpensive treat. Also cooked chicken or beef, and occasionally cut up hot dog.


Also... with beef lung or liver or whatever, the size really doesn't need to be big. Annie will work hard for a crumb less than half a pea size. I also don't want her spending a long time chewing and getting distracted or full.
 

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Making those training treats small is important, otherwise you end up with a chunky dog. I also think many dogs think it is a bigger prize to get 4 or 5 tiny bits than one big one.


I was working with a young mastiff mix in the family home last week. One complaint from the owners was that he has no duration on his behaviors. Well no wonder on that, mom was like a pez dispenser with pieces of beef jerky the size of a quarter. I had her break those pieces into fourths and stood off to the side to watch for cues (like eye contact to her) that meant the treat had been earned. We got to the point where the dog could now do a 5 second sit and a 5 second down, better than the 2 second sit and 0 second down than when we started. The next time I am with them we will work on a variable reinforcement schedule for those behaviors.


Bottom line: tiny simple easy to eat treats earned by the puppy/dog.
 
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I use Pet Botanics Mini Training Rewards.
https://www.chewy.com/pet-botanics-mini-training-rewards/dp/102767

They are only 1.5 calories each and my dog loves them. If I could reward him with his kibble, I would be happy, but he is not interested in kibble at all. The other day I spent $10 on a bag of freeze-dried duck liver, and he won't touch it. :shrug: Guess I'll save it for when my new puppy comes next month!
 
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