In this guide, you'll learn about some of the best types of treats to offer you puppy, including chews, jerkies, and bully sticks. You'll also learn 5 reasons people love puppies.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Bringing Your Puppy Home
1. Bully Sticks
Bringing Your Puppy Home
When you bring a new puppy home from the shelter, your world changes in an instant. Not only do you have a new roommate and best friend, you’ve got a lot of new responsibilities on your hands! The coming weeks and months will be crucial for your puppy’s development, but it will also be an important time for you to get to know your new friend.
It used to be that people waited until their puppy developed a bit before they began training, but evidence has shown that this can be a recipe for solidifying problematic behaviors in a puppy such as chewing, pottying in the house, hyperactivity, or an inability to left alone. Now, most veterinarians suggest training and socializing your puppy much earlier.
Socializing a Puppy
One of the easiest ways to socialize your puppy in a structured environment is to go to puppy training classes. According to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior position statement on puppy socialization, “In general, puppies can start socialization classes as early as 7-8 weeks of age. Puppies should receive a minimum of one set of vaccines at least 7 days prior to the first class and a first deworming. They should be kept up to date on all vaccines throughout the class.”
Proper socialization will help to eliminate your puppy’s fear of other dogs and will form a key building block in your puppy’s development. According to Pet MD, if your puppy is socialized, they’ll be less likely to engage in an anxious behaviors that could get in the way of vet visits, grooming, and excursions for exercise.
When training a puppy, potty training and recall are immensely important. But one of the most common puppy behavior problems is chewing and biting. While negative reinforcement can work, it usually works best when you encourage positive behaviors as well. This is especially true for chewing. It’s perfectly natural for puppies to chew — your goal is to teach them to chew on the right things.
Training treats, chews, and bully sticks are all useful tools for training positive chewing behavior in your puppy. The important step is staying consistent with both negative and positive reinforcement. Of course, many people have concerns about what treats to feed their puppy.
Puppy teeth are still in development when they’re very young. The healthiest puppy treats are those that are nutritious for them to eat but aren’t difficult for them to chew. Puppies — especially those under 6 months of age — have very delicate teeth and can’t handle extremely tough chew treats. It’s also important to observe your puppy while they are consuming any product to make sure they aren’t swallowing large pieces whole. If you’re ever unsure about a product, it’s always best to ask you vet.
But what treats should you give your puppy? Puppy training treats are certainly a must if you want to reinforce good behavior. They’re typically small, bite-sized treats that are easy to carry around with you. But there are some other puppy treats that can keep your puppy busy and entertained while also helping them direct their chewing energy at the right target.
The Best Treats for Puppies
Not all natural dog treats are good for puppies. Larger treats may be too difficult for small puppies to chew, and some types may break apart into large pieces that can harm puppies if they attempt to swallow them. But there are still plenty of natural treats on the market that puppies love.
When selecting treats, be sure to look for treats with natural ingredients from companies that are transparent about where their materials are sourced from. If you’re concerned about your treats making a mess or leaving an odor, always keep an eye out for natural, odor free, non-greasy products for your puppy.
1. Bully Sticks
Bully sticks come in a number of sizes and varieties. For puppies, skinny and mini bully sticks are usually the best choice as the larger versions are too thick to fit in the puppy’s mouth and can break off into large pieces. If you’re concerned about the smell of this natural product, don’t sweat it! Naturally odor free bully sticks are available to keep your puppy occupied and your home smelling fresh.
Bully sticks are naturally high in protein, but low in fat and carbohydrates. They’re a moderately long lasting chew made from 100% beef pizzle and sourced from free-ranging grassfed South American cattle.
2. Mini Bully Pizzle
This mini bully pizzle is a great treat for dogs of all ages, but it makes the perfect long-lasting treat for puppies. Unlike regular bully sticks, they’re super skinny and are easier to chew because of their softer texture — perfect for delicate chewers. Like other bully sticks, mini bully pizzle is high in protein but low in fat and carbohydrates.
3. Cow and Lamb Ears
Cow ears and lamb ears are odorless and non-greasy, so they won’t stink up your kitchen or cause a mess in your living room. They’re soft, making them an ideal treat for delicate chewers like puppies or senior dogs. Many puppy owners like these treats because they are relatively long lasting. They're even suitable for medium-sized puppies.
4. Chicken Jerky
This 100% chicken jerky is sourced entirely from the U.S. and is the perfect treat for picky puppies. It even breaks into smaller pieces that can be used as part of a puzzle toy or as puppy training treats. It has a thin, crisp texture that puppies love.
5. Lamb Lung Puffs
Lamb lung puffs are a single-ingredient treat that have no fillers, additives, or preservatives. They’re soft, so like chicken jerky they can be broken into smaller pieces. They have almost no odor and aren’t greasy, either.
Lamb lung puffs are an ideal treat for breaking up into training treats. They’re high-value and delicious — your puppy will be extra motivated to behave so they can can some!
There are plenty of other delicious natural treats for puppies that will help with training, rewarding, and reinforcing positive behaviors. If you want a longer-lasting chew for your puppy, you may consider getting them some odor free skinny braided bully sticks or, if you have a particularly large puppy, a thicker type of bully stick.
Whichever treats you choose, consider your puppy’s size and chewing style before settling on a treat.
5 Reasons People Love Puppies
There’s nothing quite like a puppy to brighten somebody’s day! While no one will deny that puppies are easy to love, not everyone can explain why. Of course, there are numerous scientific explanations — one of which states that dogs have just hoodwinked us into giving them free food and shelter. But most people would agree that our love for puppies goes far deeper.
Here are 5 reasons why we love puppies and care for them for life.
1. We’re Biologically Programmed to Think Puppies are Cute
Why do we think puppies are cute? One answer might be that we are programmed to do so because our very survival depends on it. Baby animals like puppies elicit a nurturing response in us that’s similar to the affection we feel for our own babies. We have an ingrained need to nurture and care for our pets in the same way we have a natural drive to care for our own young.
If true, that means our love of puppies is an evolved biological response that’s inherent in our DNA!
2. Puppies are Great For Our Mental Health
According to a 2009 article by The Veterinary Clinics of North America, “Pet ownership, or just being in the presence of a companion animal, is associated with health benefits, including improvements in mental, social, and physiologic health status.” It should be no surprise to anyone that you get a mood boost when you’re around a puppy or any other type of pet.
But emerging research is proving the point: Dogs and puppies are good for mental health. Not only do they provide us with exercise and more meaning in our lives, puppies and dogs help us practice mindfulness, often without us even realizing it. Instead of worrying about our troubled lives, a puppy lets us place our entire focus on them and on the moment. Even the brief respite of playing on the floor can do wonders for your mental well-being.
Studies even show that dogs and puppies reduce depression and anxiety. Playing with a puppy has been shown to elevate oxytocin and dopamine, two natural chemicals that are associated with happiness and bonding.
3. Puppies Teach Responsibility
Bringing a puppy into your growing family is a big decision, but it’s also an opportunity to teach your kids responsibility. Caring for another living thing isn’t just an important emotional step, the responsibility of owning a dog builds character and teaches kids about hard work. Feeding, grooming, and taking a puppy out to go potty are all concrete steps that show kids why training their pet and being responsible for their care matters.
Also, the bond between a child and a puppy tends to be extremely strong, especially when they have the opportunity to grow up together. They’ll share fun activities, adventures, and lessons as they grow. Just having a puppy could help a child deal with stress and anxiety more effectively, and they’ll always have a best friend to spend time with.
4. Puppies Improve Our Quality of Life
Puppies require a lot of attention. While this does mean you’ll need enough time each day to play with your puppy and train them, giving them that attention is also good for you. For example, instead of sitting on the couch after work, a puppy will keep you active — you’ll likely walk, run, and go outside more often than you would if you didn’t own a dog.
All this activity has a positive impact on your health. Dog owners tend to have lower blood pressure, which can lower their risk for heart disease and other ailments. In the long run, owning and caring for a puppy and continuing that bond as they grow into adulthood can make you healthier and improve your quality of life.
5. Puppies Provide Unconditional Love
It has to be noted that one of the reasons we love puppies and dogs so much is that they love us right back, almost unconditionally. This type of love is found almost exclusively between pets and the owners and humans and their children. Dogs and puppies actively seek eye contact with humans — something most animals don’t do — as a means of bonding. In fact, one study suggested that, “owner-dog bonding is comparable to human parent-infant bonding.”
This may explain why dogs are so useful for therapy patients and people who need emotional support, but it also relates to our innate fascination with dogs and our inability to contain ourselves when we see a puppy.
Pampering Your Pup
If you’ve just brought home a new puppy, or even if you’ve been raising your puppy for a few months now, there are plenty of ways to use natural dog treats to not only train but pamper your pup. Soft chews that can be broken into smaller pieces are a great, natural tool for teaching your dog positive behaviors. Long-lasting chews like bully sticks are useful for reinforcing what objects are appropriate for your puppy to chew on.
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