This is always a concern with dog guardians. Over-treating can lead to an overweight dog or intestinal difficulties if your dog is especially sensitive. Here are some tips to get your worries under control and avoid over-treating your pooch.
This is a term that I coined in my dog training videos. This is a strategy that you can implement instantly and use daily.
Use "Life Rewards"
Now that you are using the Calorie Bowl, you can also incorporate "Life Rewards" into your routine. Life rewards consist of using a variety of rewards throughout the day that you would provide for your dog anyway. If you shift your thinking a bit, you can do quick training sessions before all good things and your dog will benefit from more training. Here are some suggestions for using Life Rewards with your dog. Don't forget a mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog!
When you are using treats, you should only use high-quality treats. "Treat" does not mean junk food. Avoid food coloring, sugar and by-products. I use mainly meat-based treats and other high-quality food items and use very small treats. As long as your dog's system can handle the food item, you can be very creative with your food offerings. If you are not sure if your dog can handle something, give a small quantity for a few days in a row with no other changes in his diet and monitor his ability to digest the new treat. Sometimes it can take awhile for a dog to get used to something, so be patient.
Premium treats may seem more expensive, but usually if you calculate the cost they can be similar in price to the unhealthy well-advertised treats with the cute names and shapes that make them look like bacon, sausages or other meat products. Use small pieces of the high-quality treats and they will last a long time.
You can use a variety of food items including dried liver, pasta, cheese (not every dog can process dairy), sweet potato treats, steamed chicken, dried chicken, venison jerkey, duck meat, lunchmeat (watch the salt), oyster crackers, peanut butter, etc.
As mentioned above, stuffing Kongs can be a wonderful way of making food and treats last longer and provide more mental stimulation. My new favorite Kong stuffing recipe:
Last night it took my dogs 2 hours to work their way through their frozen Kongs and then they were exhausted! Do not make the Kong too difficult for a new dog or he will get frustrated and ignore it, no matter the quality of the stuffing. Allow food to fall out easily at the beginning until he is really motivated to interact with the Kong.