It might be difficult to train little dogs with goodies without ruining their appetite. Perhaps you have enrolled your tiny dog in training lessons, where he soon becomes full and refuses further rewards, while bigger dogs continue eating.
Or, maybe you want to concentrate on rewarding desirable behaviors, but after a brief behavior modification session, your tiny dog has lost his appetite and refuses to eat.
Or maybe he still eats his meals, but you are afraid that the added goodies will cause your little dog to become overweight and unhealthy.
What can be done in such situations? You may feel trapped between a rock and a hard place because you want to teach your tiny dog so desperately, yet you are discouraged.
The Value of Tracking Calories
A dog’s regular diet consists mostly of dog food, but one must also include treats, human food, nutritional supplements, chews, and any other items needed to give drugs.
It is crucial that your dog’s meal remains the primary source of calories despite the presence of these other items. Due to the fact that your dog’s food is the primary source of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, vitamins, minerals, and other essential elements, this is crucial to the dog’s health.
Obviously, this applies to dog food that is nutritionally adequate and well-balanced. In contrast, treats are similar to junk food. They are designed particularly to interest and stimulate your dog during training.
If you consume a bag of potato chips and ice cream before noon, it goes without saying that you will be less inclined to eat your lunch since you will be too full.
The Advantage of Using Rewards in Training
The use of treats in reward-based training and behavior modification is vital. According to several studies, positive reinforcement training is the most effective way for teaching a dog.
In order to enjoy the advantages of reward-based tactics, you will need to discover a way to match the amount of goodies distributed during training with your dog’s daily caloric intake.
As the adage goes, when there is a will, there is a way. Fortunately, there are a number of tactics you may use to circumvent this issue; it may need some experimentation, but, as the saying goes, when there is a will, there is a way.
Don’t give up on training your tiny dog until you achieve the optimal balance between keeping your dog engaged (without losing his interest) and not destroying his appetite.
5 Methods for Training Your Small Dog Without Losing His Appetite
The following are suggestions for using rewards to teach a tiny dog without destroying his appetite. According to the proverb, everything in moderation.
Consult your veterinarian for a personalized estimate based on your dog’s weight and caloric intake per day if you are uncertain as to how many treats you should give your little dog.
1. Divide Into Small Pieces
When they see how little I can break up a standard-sized goodie, many dog owners are generally startled. Frequently, I am able to get 10 to 20 tiny pieces, each of which may be utilized to reinforce a single desirable behavior. This implies that with a single reward, I may reinforce ten to twenty behaviors!
Therefore, if your dog is little and you have discovered goodies that he or she enjoys, see your veterinarian and inquire how many treats your dog may have each day depending on your dog’s weight and the calorie content of the treats.
Then, after you have determined the optimal number, divide them into little pieces and plan your training session accordingly. Then, you may split them into groups depending on the number of times you can teach your dog every day, strategically stopping the training session when you run out of goodies.
2. Consider low-calorie alternatives
The less calories a food has, the more you may provide without exceeding Dr. Freeman’s 10% guideline. Look for low-calorie snacks that are promoted as such.
For instance, each Bixbi Pocket Trainer has less than 4 calories. I’ve used them for training dogs, particularly when customers were worried about their pets being overweight and when every calorie counted.
For instance, the last time I had a tiny Yorkie-mix, it weighed just under 7 pounds. Her veterinarian estimated that she need around 200 calories per day. In light of the 10 percent guideline, she would be limited to no more than 20 calories from sweets.
At 4 calories per treat, she may have a maximum of 5 treats each day (5 × 4 = 20). 5 treats every day may not seem like much, but if you divide them into four pieces each, you have 20 goodies that can be used to reinforce 20 excellent behaviors!
There are many additional low-calorie choices on the market today, such as Plato Small Bites Salmon and (one of my personal faves) Zuke’s Mini Naturals, which have just 2 calories per treat!
3. Use Dog Friendly Fruits and Veggies
Many dog owners employ fruits and vegetables in dog training. This is a fantastic alternative since these nutritious human meals are low in calories, allowing dog owners to guarantee their pets do not consume more than 10 percent of their daily caloric intake.
Blueberries, with 1/4 cup or roughly 25 berries containing just 20 calories, and tiny carrots, with 1 containing only 5 calories, are among the low-calorie alternatives for little dogs.
A cup of green beans chopped into half-inch pieces or a quarter cup of green peas have 30 calories.
Please do not give your dog any fruit or vegetable without first determining if they are poisonous. Consider that grapes, raisins, almonds, onions, and garlic may be hazardous to dogs, and some of them are even lethal.
4. Train Using Cheerios
Cheerios are a popular low-calorie meal that may be used for dog training. They provide the benefit of readily absorbing the aroma and flavor of other sweets, so they may be combined with other delicacies to make them more attractive.
5. Use Your Dog’s Kibble
If you have exhausted your dog’s daily allotment of treats and want to continue training or capturing desirable behaviors, you may continue rewarding him with his kibble.
Have you ever calculated the number of kibble pieces in your dog’s daily diet? These are several training chances squandered!
If your dog enjoys eating his kibble and you can convince him that kibble is just as tasty as treats, you will have plenty possibilities for training without having to rely on higher-calorie goodies.
Here’s the thing: you can convince your dog to like kibble by having him work for it. The phrase used by scientists is “contrafreeloading.”
Animal psychologist Glen Jensen invented this phrase in 1963 to explain the phenomena of animals that grow to prefer consuming food that needs some effort to get over food that is readily available.
- To do this, just measure out the required daily amount of kibble, place it in a treat pouch, and feed it throughout the day.
- If you have leftover kibble, you may offer it in your dog’s bowl or Kong Wobbler, or you can create a fun treasure hunt game.
- To prevent your dog’s stomach from producing an excessive amount of acid, it may be helpful to feed him a little meal in the morning and another in the evening, and then use the remaining food as training rewards. Guidelines should be obtained from your veterinarian if your dog has a health issue (such as diarrhea or low blood sugar).
Using Treats on Walks to Modify Behavior
Some dog owners struggle with little dogs who are aggressive on walks, and they want to create positive associations (such as in LAT look at that exercises) but are hesitant to use too many goodies.
Consequently, if you can only give your little dogs ten goodies, make the most of them. Therefore, attempt to stroll in peaceful places and expect to encounter no more than 10 triggers.
Use the emergency U-turn if you believe another dog is too near or if you encounter unanticipated additional triggers, and organize a portion of the walk to primarily focus on developing good associations and rewarding desirable actions.
If your dog is really motivated by toys, you may also supply him with toys to carry, catch, or play tug in order to reinforce desirable behaviors.
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