Are you struggling to resist those puppy-dog eyes and looks of pretend starvation?

You are not alone! Feeding treats is central to many owner-dog interactions. However, taking control of treats is essential if your dog is to successfully lose weight. Here are a few tips to help you along 🙂

3 Tricks to Help Curb Treats

Modify your treat feeding habit by Reducing, Replacing and Going Healthy!

1. Reduce treat size

Dogs do not relate the size of treats to how much we love them. Instead it is the receiving and the anticipation of the treat that counts. Once a treat is eaten, it is soon forgotten and begging performances are typically repeated as though no treats have been given.

Whether you provide your dog a whole treat or a quarter of a treat, the satisfaction received is just the same!

2. Replace treats

Aim to offset 50% of treat giving with positive interaction instead. E.g. belly rubs, grooming, pats or play.

3. Go healthy

For the remaining 50% of treats, let’s go healthy! Have you tried these healthy alternatives?

  • When it comes to crunch you can’t go past carrot sticks, green beans and apple slices.
  • For a juicy flavor hit, try cherry tomatoes, raspberries and strawberries
  • For a savory hit, try some canned tuna or salmon, popcorn or a rice cake.
  • Refrigerated watermelon and frozen berries make great summer time treats.

(See our How to Reduce Treats infographic.)

Remember, the only intake that is calorie free is water. Even healthy treats contribute to your dog’s daily calorie allowance. Check out the calorie content of recommended healthy treats here.

Take time to learn the calorie content of the treats you feed your dog. And remember to keep treats to less than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake. Excess treats and titbits can contribute to nutritional imbalances from high salt, sugar and fat intakes and lowered essential nutrients.

You can discover the calorie count of human foods commonly fed as treats by viewing Calorie Counts of Human Food Items or by using the food search tool at My Fitness Pal.

On-Leash Behavior

We are now into the second week of your dog’s walking schedule. How are you going? Is your dog recognising the difference between their stroll and active walk yet?

What is your dog’s typical style of walk? Exuberant, leisurely, reluctant, out of control?

Behavior is often heightened when your dog is outside of home and in unfamiliar surrounds.

For some owners, this can make outings a challenge and may even be the reason why your good intentions for exercising your dog have faltered in the past.

Do poor doggy manners such as pulling, aggression or over excitability, ring a bell with you?

Perhaps you have been able to manage such behavior with aids such as Halties (head halters to prevent pulling) or by walking your dog at odd hours to avoid contact with others?

These tactics often work well. But to get the most out of your owner-dog relationship it is best to meet such behaviors head-on with the help of an expert.

One of the most common frustrations pet parents experience when walking their dog, is pulling on the leash. Learn how to stop your dog pulling on the leash with expert training tips from Doggy Dan.

Another option for dogs needing a little more training and socialization is to consider joining a locally run obedience class. Not only will you be learning new handling skills, class time contributes to your dog’s daily activity 🙂

Woofs and wags,

Your WAGSTA team.

P.S. More extreme forms of nervousness and aggression best benefit from the help of a qualified animal behaviorist. Behaviorists will be able to assess your dog and teach you the tools and techniques to manage your dog’s behavior. Ask your veterinarian for recommended pet behaviorists in your area.