Training a puppy or young dog can be a very arduous process. It takes time, patience, and consistency, which might make it seem like it’s lasting forever. Luckily, our canine pals are highly food-motivated, which can work to their owner’s advantage.
With treat training, you can reward good behavior through positive reinforcement. But what snacks work best? There are dozens of excellent options on the market, but we hand-picked 10 of the best products we could find. Here are our reviews.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites in 2023
|Best Overall||Blue Buffalo Blue Bits||
|Best Value||American Journey Training Bits||
|Premium Choice||Zuke’s Mini Naturals||
|Wellness Crunchy Puppy Bites||
|Bil-Jac Little-Jacs Small Dog Training Treats||
The 10 Best Puppy Training Treats
1. Blue Buffalo Blue Bits – Best Overall
Our recommendation for the best overall training treats goes to Blue Buffalo Blue Bits because they are healthy and affordable—equally advantageous to you and your canine compadres. These treats are moist and chewy, working even for cats with dental troubles.
Each bag is 4 ounces, made with tender beef flavoring. In one treat, there are 4 calories. The guaranteed analysis of the product includes 10% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 27% moisture.
These little treats are the perfect size to reward a job well done. So, Blue did a great job with portions. Just try not to overdo it, only offering treats when they accomplish a task. Even though these little bites are only 4 calories, they can add up over time.
All treats are made in the USA without byproducts, artificial additives, wheat, corn, or soy. But these treats contain beef, which can sometimes be a protein allergy trigger for some.
2. American Journey Training Bits – Best Value
The American Journey Training Bits is a value-pack bundle with beef and chicken chewy treats. We think these are the best dog training treats for the money. Both are made with real meat as the first ingredient—beef and chicken, so the protein source is strong.
These treats come in a resealable bag, so these treats stay chewy and easy to eat. They also contain sweet potatoes, which are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants.
In this recipe, there are 4 calories per treat. The guaranteed analysis of the product includes 18% crude protein, 8% crude fat, 2% crude fiber, and 30% moisture. They seem to be pretty delicious, too. Our pups scarfed down both flavors and begged for seconds.
We really love that there are two in this pack. Your dog is sure to like one and you can wait much longer before reordering. Also, it’s a good way to sample their favorite tastes.
3. Zuke’s Mini Naturals – Premium Choice
If you want a treat that is more expensive but delicious, Zuke’s Mini Naturals are the very perfect size and pack just the right amount of good stuff. These snacks might be tiny, but they have lots of value, touting ingredients like
These chewy treats make the ideal training motivation. In each treat, there are 2 calories. The guaranteed analysis of the treats contains 8% crude protein, 6% crude fat, 2% crude fiber, and 30% moisture.
Our pups had no issue wolfing down these goodies with a smile. The peanut butter and oat flavor is easily digestible and full of protein. They might be a little more costly than your average treat, but the ingredients really speak for themselves, containing no corn, wheat, or soy.
Instead, each contains easily digestible ancient grains like malted barley, oats, rice, and barley. Plus, yummy peanut butter is the number one ingredient. Since these treats are super tiny, they work best for smaller breed puppies.
4. Wellness Crunchy Puppy Bites
We think that the Wellness Crunchy Puppy Bites are a terrific choice for dogs under one year. These bites pack a bundle of needed nutrition into a small morsel. They are specifically crafted for puppies, so the ingredients reflect that.
Chicken is the very first ingredient, ensuring a solid protein source. This chicken and carrot flavored treat will have your pup willing to potty outside just to get a reward. The antioxidant-rich main ingredients, spinach and carrot, support your puppy’s overall immunity.
In one treat, there are 3 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product includes 17% crude protein, 10% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 10% moisture. Each treat is totally grain-free with added salmon, which offers DHA and omega fatty acids.
The only thing we can say is that these treats are slightly crumbly.
5. Bil-Jac Little-Jacs Small Dog Training Treats — Best for Small Breeds
Bil-Jac Little Jacs Small Dog Training Treats are sensational for small breeds, touting the perfect portions for a treat. And you don’t have to feel guilty about the ingredients—we took a hard look at these ingredients and it contains no gluten meal or rendered fat.
The package works well to keep the treats fresh and flavorful, as it’s resealable with a double-zipper. You will find a flavorful chicken liver semi-moist treat that is easy for your pup to gobble up in the contents. Small breeds can still enjoy this treat long after growing, too.
There are a whopping 450 treats per bag, so this buy really is a steal. In one serving, there are 2.8 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product includes 25% crude protein, 10% crude fat, 2% crude fiber, and 30% moisture.
Some owners might be concerned with peas in grain-free treats, but you’ll be happy to know this recipe contains none. It does, however, contain much-needed DHA, chicken, chicken liver, and chicken meal for a protein-packed experience. However, a pup of ours didn’t seem interested.
6. Merrick Power Bites—Best for Sensitive Pups
Merrick Power Bites is an awesome option if your pup has a sensitive belly. It has just the right ingredients to improve digestion and reward them for good behavior. These treats are held to FDA standards with nothing artificial or harmful to your pets.
This recipe is especially good for those puppies who have a protein allergy. Since it uses real deboned rabbits, they get a novel protein source. It also contains the superfood sweet potato to nourish your pup’s system.
In one treat, there are 5.3 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product includes 15% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 28% moisture.
We want to point out that these treats also contain peas. While this may be fine for some, peas have been linked to specific health concerns in pet foods in some dogs.
7. Fruitables Skinny Minis — Best for Overweight Dogs
If you have a portly pooch watching their weight, Fruitables Skinny Minis are a good way to reward them while keeping calories minimal. These treats contain no animal or grain ingredients.
These treats are flavored with pumpkin and berry, containing no animal products. The first ingredient is chickpeas, an easily digestible grain in place of wheat, corn, or flour. It is rich in antioxidants from honey, pumpkin, and blueberry.
In one treat, there are 3 calories. The guaranteed analysis of the product includes 8% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 20% moisture.
While this recipe won’t be a problem for most pups, some dogs don’t show much interest in treats without an animal protein source.
8. Purina ONE True Instinct Bites
Purina ONE True Instinct Bites are fortified with just the right amount of vitamins and minerals to create a healthy, tasty snack for good behavior. Consider this treat fuel for the muscles, as these little bites are incredibly high in protein.
The first ingredient in this recipe is chicken for a whole protein source. We want to point out that these treats do contain corn, wheat, and soy—which can be particularly irritating for some pups.
These treats contain 2.5 calories per serving. The guaranteed analysis of the product includes 23% crude protein, 4% crude fat, 3.5% crude fiber, and 27% moisture.
Overall, these treats have a nice dose of protein without the extra calories. For healthy puppies, we see no reason these bites wouldn’t be sufficient during training.
9. Pet Botanics Training Reward Bacon Flavor Dog Treats
Pet Botanics Training Reward Dog Treats are sure to get your pup’s appetite in gear. These little treats are bacon-flavored, which really gets their attention. They are the ideal size for just about any breed and soft enough to chew—so no choking!
The first ingredient in these treats is pork liver, which is a super nutritious organ. We want to note that this recipe does contain potentially irritating ingredients for sensitive pups, like peas and eggs. But most young canines can enjoy this without any issues.
Trainers give these treats a thumbs up. In one treat, there are 3 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product contains 12% protein, 7% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 30% moisture.
We liked the size of the treats, although they might be a little drier than some other similar products.
10. Crazy Dog Train Me! Training Reward
Crazy Dog Train Me! Training Rewards are our final pick for top-notch treats. It is chicken flavored, but the first ingredient is pork liver. They make for the perfect-sized treat with a combination of nutritious ingredients and flavors.
We want to point out that several ingredients here won’t work for dogs with allergies or sensitivities. For example, it contains potatoes and garlic powder—both can potentially upset your dog’s digestive tract. Although, normal, healthy pups should have absolutely no reaction.
There is no soy, corn, BHA, or BHT in the recipe. In one treat, there are 3 calories. The guaranteed analysis of this product contains 12% crude protein, 7% crude fat, 4% crude fiber, and 34% moisture.
While it wasn’t our favorite treat, the dogs did seem to respond with enthusiasm when offered one.
Buyer’s Guide: Choosing the Best Puppy Training Treats
Benefits of Training with Treats
Training is challenging, even if you have lots of puppy experience. You never quite know how a dog will react until you start. Treats speak to a puppy—they’re yummy and your pup learns quickly that they want what’s in your hand.
Having the upper hand this way allows you to help your puppy focus to get the reward. It’s a much better alternative to negative reinforcement training.
Best Treats for Puppies
Companies have a variety of three sizes for several reasons. You might think it’s only because of the breede size, but it’s also because of purpose. If you were training your dog, you’re not going to want to give them a treat that is going to take too long to eat.
The best size treats for puppies will vary slightly depending on the breed. After all, a small Chihuahua will be able to handle a much smaller threat than a young Mastiff. So, paying attention to the size of the treat versus the size of your dog is helpful when you decide.
Dogs have different preferences when it comes to treats. Some treats are very chewy, others are crunchy, and every texture in between. You might need to buy a softer texture for a dog with bad teeth or a small puppy.
When you’re training, you’re going to really have to replace the treats more often. Your puppy will just be learning, so positive reinforcement training is super important. Since you don’t want to disrupt your pup’s gut by changing treat brands too often, you should find one they like as soon as you can.
Ingredients to Avoid
Even though you might not give it much thought, there are certain ingredients that are best left out of your dog’s mouth. Here are a few:
We still think that Blue Buffalo Blue Bits are the best training treats. They are specifically formulated for puppies with all the right ingredients. Plus, they are free from any harsh or harmful fillers and synthetic ingredients. You get all that at an affordable price.
Maybe the American Journey Training Bits will do the trick if you want value. It is a two-pack, beef and chicken, so you get quite the little sampler for a modest price.
Regardless of which one of these fabulous products you pick, your pup is sure to love the extra reward.
Featured Image Credit: sergey kolesnikov, Shutterstock