Saturday, August 30, 2008

Dog Obedience Training Treats

Our dog obedience instructor recommended that we use different treats for training than we might use at other times. She said it set things up in the dog's mind that "This is work time." In fact, she often used that word - telling us to tell the dogs it was time to go to work.

One of her favorite treats was hot dogs - cut into small pieces and then cooked in the microwave until they got pretty hard. They're still greasy tho, so don't put them in the pocket of your best jacket unless they're in a plastic bag.

She also recommended string cheese - again cut into small pieces.

My dogs absolutely love liver. I bake it in the oven until the "slimy" goes away, then cut it into small pieces and continue baking it at about 250 degrees until it gets crunchy. In other words, I dehydrate it.

Anything your dog really loves will work, as long as it's different from the normal treats he gets when he's not "working." My son has dogs who love fruits and vegetables, so apple bits would probably motivate them! (Just stay away from the grapes, raisins, and of course the chocolate!)

I quit buying commercially made treats after reading a few dozen labels. I just can't bring myself to feed all those chemicals to my canine kids. So I bake their treats at home. Since mine don't have preservatives, I keep the bulk of the batch in the freezer and keep only enough for a couple of days in their cookie jar.

Our mainstay treats are beef and cheese - I buy inexpensive cuts of roast beef when it's on sale. Then cook it and pulverize the cooked meat in the food processor. After that I cut some chunks of cheese, add some flour so it won't stick together, and pulverize that. Then, a little olive oil and the juice from the roast. After I dump in some whole wheat flour and about a tablespoon of yeast I add water (or beef or chicken) broth to make a mix about the consistency of bread dough.

You can be fancy and roll this out and cut it like cookie dough, but the fast and easy way is to roll chunks into long "ropes" and lay them side by side on a cookie sheet. After the sheet is full, take a long knife and score the tops so the pieces will break apart easily. I usually let the dough raise before baking.

Then bake it in a slow oven until it gets crunchy.

If you'd like to share your favorite doggie recipe - please do!

Here's to happy pets,



Blog Sisters said...

Marte, love your blog! I needed this seven years ago when I adopted my one year old Maltese! Question: do you also give your dogs home baked doggie meals? Maybe you could write a post on this? To the joys of pets, Christine

Marte said...

Hi Christine - Thanks for joining in!

I haven't yet gotten into baking kibble - but when I have the right stuff on hand, their "wet food" is home cooked.

I read a lot of labels and try to feed only stuff that doesn't have "by products."

So how about you?