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So we have our 15 week old pup in training classes and our trainer uses Bil-Jac frozen food as treats. She goes crazy for this stuff so I decided to look into it and try an buy some for home training. After looking all morning I couldn't find a direct link to it's ingredients but finally found it posted by somebody else,

Ingredients: Beef, Meat By-Products, Cereal Food Fines, Poultry, Poultry Meal, Animal Liver, Fish Meal, Eggs, Cane Molasses, Dried Beet Pulp, Wheat Germ Meal, Brewers Dried Yeast, Phosphoric Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Salt, Niacin, Biotin, Choline Chloride, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B6), DL-Methionine, Vitamin B12 Supplement, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Manganous Oxide, Inositol, Ascorbic Acid, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Cobalt Carbonate, Potassium Iodine, Sodium Selenite.


So it's not the greatest thing nutritionally and since it's frozen I can't personally order it but I might be able to get the trainer to get it for me if I wanted. What I like about it is it's moist so its moldable, easy for her to eat quickly, an no crumbs. Does anybody have suggestions for healthier treats she'll love that are easy? Or since she's on a high quality dog food for meals (taste of the wild) is it ok to give her these not so healthy treats as a balance? Thanks for all replies in advance!
 

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I wouldn't bother. And even would ask trainer to use kibbe as treats. IMO, trainers are on a time schedule and want to get results fast @ 6 months you may need to upgrade the treats. You will need to carry dried fish to compete with distractions.
I would train with repetition and consistent action. But of course, trainers don't have time for that.

Also, I would not start formal training younger than 16 weeks. No need beyond very basic stuff. Check out Ian Dunbar. He's a genius, IMO.

Finally, save your money. Invest in Dunbar's training books/DVD and U be the trainer at this stage. Later, once your puppy is older enrolling in formal training that uses no treats or very, very few treats is a good investment (hard to find trainers like that).

Good luck.
 

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The thing with training classes is that kibble is not the most enticing or quick to eat treat--the dogs have to chomp on the kibble for a bit, while it's a bit faster with soft treats. Our trainers encourage us to bring soft, yummy treats to treats to class, and your dog catches on quick if the other owners have better stuff than you do! At home and less distracting places, kibble is fine. Also, in case your trainer didn't suggest it, bring your puppy to class hungry. The most I give to Jasper on the day of class is half of his breakfast. Over time you will start fading out the treats, and you can reward with play/love/etc.

Everyone has different opinions on treats. IMO, as long as they're given in moderation (ie: only at class, the vet, when he does an excellent recall in a distracting place, or at the pet store [which is very distracting for Jasper]), it's fine. I have, in the past, used Blue Buffalo Training Bits, which Jasper loved, and are a nice quality treat. I broke them into lots of pieces. Over time I've gotten away from them, and now either buy whole chickens and boiling them, or some high-quality deli meat (he goes mad for roast beef). The downside to these, obviously, is the prep time and the fact that they're messy!

String cheese is also very, very good. One of my agility trainers (who competes internationally and is frankly amazing) is able to bit off tiny pieces of string cheese and then spit them out so that her dogs can catch them. It's oddly mesmerizing to watch her do this, plus it keeps your hands clean!

Anyway, long story short is that if you're practicing basic things at home, the kibble (and love!) is probably fine. If you're upping the difficulty or distraction considerably (class, pet store, by a playground) then you will very likely need to up the quality of the treat. There are lots of really nice treats out there--my favorites are by Blue Buffalo--or you can use people food if you're not opposed to that kind of thing.
 
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