Training Treats for My New Puppy
My family and I just picked up a new male Bernese Mountain Dog puppy that we have affectionately named Argos after the faithful dog in Homer's epic poem “The Odyssey.” We had a Berner prior to Argos’ arrival, so we knew how affectionate the breed is with their family.
They love to please and are devoted friends; they’re comfortable with just about anyone; they’re sweet, patient, and calm; and, they thrive with human interaction. Since my last Berner was with us for almost 12 years, it’s been a long time since I had a puppy running around.
I’d forgotten how mischievous puppies can be and how funny they are as they discover the world around them. Berners are so cute as babies, you sometimes just can’t help but want them to stay that way for as long as possible, but the reality is they grow fast! Since Bernese Mountain Dogs are exceptionally intelligent, have gentle temperaments, and are eager to please, this makes them highly trainable puppies.
I figured I had better get to training sooner rather than later, as Argos is going to be a big dog, and I want to do right by him. Since he’s still so young, I just wanted training to be very positive and fun, and I tried to keep my expectations in line with his age. I started by using only positive reinforcement with praise and lots of petting. He responded well to that, but when I added in a tasty treat along with the praise, we reached a new level of consistency and willingness.
Before we brought Argos home, I purchased a plethora of treats from SmartPak, as I didn’t know which ones he would like. I tried staying with treats that were small or that were specifically called out for training purposes, such as the BIXBI Pocket Trainers. These treats are moist, healthy, and low in calories, and they’re small enough to be just the right amount for a reward. The other soft treats I purchased were the Fruitables Skinny Minis Apple and Bacon Flavor. Who can resist both sweet and savory together? It’s a great combination, and Argos approves of them.
Since I’m a huge fan of cheese, I purchased the RedBarn Naturals Protein Puffs Cheese Flavor Premium Dog Treats. These are low in fat, small, and contain less than one calorie per treat. I wish my cheese was that low in calories! Another treat I got was Bocce’s Bakery Training Bites in the Bac’N Nutty flavor PB & Bacon Recipe. These treats were also well received by Argos, and they have all-natural ingredients which makes me happy as well.
Since Argos is only 9 weeks old, he can be mouthy, so I place the treat in front of his paws after he successfully completes the task I ask of him. This way, I help prevent him from thinking that food comes from my hands, and in theory, he will be less likely to nip at them. These treats have absolutely been beneficial in aiding us with his training.
We’ve had our victories and our accidents, but we’re moving in a positive direction and making great progress. I can honestly say he’s learning quickly and trying his best, but little did I know that I’m the one who’s truly being trained. I’m learning his signals, as to when he needs to go outside. He’s trained me to take him out after he eats, drinks, plays, or stops playing. He’s making me think of ways to get him through the night without waking us up, and I’m the one always trying to find ways to properly train him in a lasting and positive way.