Training treats?

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Postby pitsnok » December 5th, 2010, 6:32 pm

I'm curious, what treats do you all recommend for training? I have never been able to find anything that is small enough pieces and 'healthy' enough that I don't feel like I'm just fattening the dogs up while training.
We have been using some I got at petco, (admittedly, they are probably cheap, not good treats. I got them because they didn't have much content to them, and said "great for training!" on the bag)... and they seem to upset Ollie's stomach. Since we got Degan, boyfriend's mom has always kept us supplied with bags of the authority liver treats from petsmart. The dogs like them, and don't have any stomach issues from them, but I know authority isn't a great brand and they probably aren't much for health content. Now that we're out of those I was hoping to come up with a better solution. The only problem is that with the four dogs, we run out pretty quickly so I don't want to use anything that is very expensive.

So, any inexpensive not-terrible-for-them small pieces training treats you guys recommend? haha? :dance:
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Postby mnp13 » December 5th, 2010, 6:43 pm

Zeke's are good and they are tiny
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Postby madremissy » December 5th, 2010, 6:44 pm

Hotdogs. Cut them up in to little bitty pieces. That is what most of everyone on here told me. Worked for Kinzyl. (until she decided she wasn't that food driven) Little bitty bite size cheese works good to. Now for Sammy and Gotty is worked wonders.
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Postby pitbullmamaliz » December 5th, 2010, 6:49 pm

I second the Zuke's treats, but I cut them in half so they're even tinier. Dogs don't need a big chunk, just a taste.

My first choice is canned chicken. I just drain it and dump it in a ziplock - it's REALLY messy but it's super healthy and Inara will do anything for it. My second choice (and more frequent choice) is one of the food rolls from Natural Balance. A big roll costs $10 and I can get thousands of treats out of it. I cut it into slices, and then freeze it. Then whenever I need treats I grab a few disks out of the freezer and cut them into miniscule pieces.
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Postby furever_pit » December 5th, 2010, 9:22 pm

I like those Natural Balance rolls. I get the big ones and cut up a portion of them at a time and then freeze the rest. The dogs really like them.

But I use the dogs' kibble more than anything else honestly. Not extra kibble, just part of their daily portion.
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Postby airwalk » December 5th, 2010, 9:24 pm

I use the natural rolls cut into itty bitty pieces, Zukes mini training treats and itty bitty bits of hot dog.
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Postby Tubular Toby » December 5th, 2010, 9:44 pm

I use and always recommend the Natural Balance rolls. You can cut them up into whatever size is appropriate and it's so cheap compared to a bag of treats.
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Postby copperlegend » December 5th, 2010, 10:15 pm

We use any combo of cut up Natural Balance roll, cut up hot dogs, a can of tuna or chicken (drain, dump in ziploc).
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Postby amalie79 » December 5th, 2010, 10:25 pm

We use all of the above (River will only pay attention to hot dogs when she's worked up :crazy2: ). The baked Zuke's break in half. I sometimes buy the gingerbears from PetCo and break them into thirds. I also usually keep a variety of Charlee Bears on hand. They're only a couple of calories each, and they're dry so I can keep them in my pocket for impromptu training around the house throughout the day.

Oh-- and cat food. I know it's high protein, but they don't get much. One little kibble makes them pretty damn happy, and it's something I always have around. They love it.
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 6th, 2010, 12:12 am

I make my own usually...for really good treats. I use all sorts of natural treats for keeping in the van for anytime training treats. But good ones...like flyball, homemade all the way...cheaper and I know exactly what's in them.
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Postby pitsnok » December 6th, 2010, 10:46 am

Amalie, Charlee bear liver flavor is what we've been using. Pretty sure they upset Ollie's stomach! I didn't see how it could be possible because there's not all that much to them, but who knows. Maybe it is the flour, or perhaps poultry? Also one thing I don't like about those is that Degan, who tends to inhale rather than chew them... always ends up hacking them back up whole.

Mind sharing your recipe for home made treats, Erin?

I will definitely pick up a roll of that natural balance. That seems cheap and easy enough. But I would definitely like something I can keep in my pocket because it is always quite challenging holding the bag and trying to actually get something across to the boneheads.
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Postby amalie79 » December 6th, 2010, 11:21 am

Ah, yes. Mine inhale, too, and we have to pause for a little hacking session. I like the Natural Balance rolls-- you can get sample rolls for $1 to try different flavors. I also forgot to mention that mine love LOVE LOVE Bil Jac liver treats and goobers-- if your guys like peanut butter, those are the ones. I buy the ones for small dogs, and then even cut those in half. They are tiny, and especially cheap at our local shop, but they're not terribly pricey at PetCo, either. I also buy the goobers for larger dogs to have when I need something Robin can nibble and nibble and nibble in my fingers, like when I want her to be eating a treat the whole time someone's walking by us.

Salami is a fan favorite, too, and you might be able to snag some leftovers form holiday party trays, or party trays on clearance.
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Postby Malli » December 6th, 2010, 1:48 pm

Ya, Erin, Cheaper? Really? Then buying? I know people cookies are pretty pricey! Maybe its because you don't use so much butter etc with the dog ones...

And if so, would you mind sharing your recipes? :) Well, in my case, I'm only looking for super low fat ones, but yeah...
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Postby tiva » December 7th, 2010, 1:41 am

Spray cheese. With a little practice, you can give extremely tiny licks, but it's still very high value for our dogs. They are also very happy with their kibble (wellness) as treats, but those aren't as high value.
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Postby CinderDee » December 7th, 2010, 5:40 am

amalie79 wrote:Ah, yes. Mine inhale, too, and we have to pause for a little hacking session. I like the Natural Balance rolls-- you can get sample rolls for $1 to try different flavors. I also forgot to mention that mine love LOVE LOVE Bil Jac liver treats and goobers-- if your guys like peanut butter, those are the ones. I buy the ones for small dogs, and then even cut those in half. They are tiny, and especially cheap at our local shop, but they're not terribly pricey at PetCo, either. I also buy the goobers for larger dogs to have when I need something Robin can nibble and nibble and nibble in my fingers, like when I want her to be eating a treat the whole time someone's walking by us.

Salami is a fan favorite, too, and you might be able to snag some leftovers form holiday party trays, or party trays on clearance.


Where can you get the NB rolls for $1.00?
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Postby hugapitbull » December 7th, 2010, 7:01 am

CinderDee wrote:Where can you get the NB rolls for $1.00?


I've gotten them at Petco for $1 - these are the small ones, Dee, about 4 oz
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Postby ttio » December 8th, 2010, 11:38 am

i use the natural balance food rolls but i'm limited to the duck treat roll because the others have wheat and we have a wheat allergy here...

but freshpet came out with a new "vital" line which is grain free so i've been using the grain free salmon in the same way -- i slice the roll up and then cut them into little bits and freeze them on a cookie sheet, after 24 hours put in a freezer bag and that does the trick :dance:

mine particularly love the salmon one, but boy is it stinky!!!
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 8th, 2010, 8:48 pm

I'll post some recipes here...I have a lot of cheap high-value training treat ideas.
Lemme round up some recipes to post
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Postby Malli » December 9th, 2010, 3:56 am

sweet! Thanks :)
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Postby TheRedQueen » December 9th, 2010, 9:34 am

Here are a couple so far:

Rip's Oatmeal Squares (soft training treats)

1 jar (4 oz) any flavor baby food*
1 c. quick cooking oatmeal
1/2 c. flour
4 oz. water or soymilk (use the baby food jar to measure...that's what I do!)
1 egg
Spices as needed

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Spread the "paste" on a greased microwave-safe dinner plate. Microwave for 3 minutes on high, flip the treat over and microwave for another 1 or 2 minutes. Let cool, and use a pizza cutter to cut into tiny bite-sized pieces. Freezes well.

*Some variations my dogs enjoy: Apples and Chicken baby food with cinnamon mixed into the batter; Vanilla Custard baby food with nutmeg and ginger mixed into the batter; Chicken and Rice baby food with garlic powder sprinkled on top...the list is endless! I use sweet baby foods, as well as savory...fun to experiment with!


Liver Bits (soft training treats)


1 lb. chicken liver
1/3 cup molasses
1 box graham cracker crumbs
Pinch of cinnamon


Puree liver in food processor. Add other ingredients and mix to a cake batter consistency. Pour into microwave safe square bowl and nuke for 10 minutes. Cool, cut and put into a 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until firm to the touch. Cool and freeze. A great variation on typical "liver bait".

Fish Fudge (soft training treats)


2 - 6oz cans of tuna (do NOT drain)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp. garlic powder or granulated garlic
2 eggs, lightly beaten
grated parmesan cheese, about 1 handful

Mix all together in a mixer or food processor. I chop up the moist ingredients first in a "chopper", then mix it into a bowl with the flour. Grease a 9x9 pan (I use spray canola oil), bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

The texture is sort of fudge/putty-like. Keep them in the freezer as they freeze very well. They can be kept in the refrigerator for 3 days. I cut them into very small squares while they are still hot. I toss them into a freezer bag and leave them in the freezer until needed. Only take out the amount you require.


Figgy's Grain-free Fish Treats

1 15oz can mackerel (do not drain)
1 box potato starch

Mix both ingredients together in a bowl...add water to moisten if needed. Mix until combined. Spread on a greased cookie sheet, and bake 30-45 minutes or until grayish-brown and golden brown around the edges. Will be very rubbery underneath when cut, with a crust on top. Cut into small squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Most of these, I store in the freezer, and bring out a bag when I'm training...they defrost as we work. :)
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