One thing I did do for the pups' second birthday was make treats for them all. This is a wonderful and VERY easy treat recipe that dogs love.
Although, as one friend observed, they do look a bit like baby poop!
BABY FOOD TREATS
- 4 small jars baby food (any pureed meat type)
- 1/3 cup Cream of Wheat (you can substitute any kind of flour, but the texture won't be quite so fine)
- 1 beaten egg
Optional: flavorings like garlic powder, grated cheese etc.
For example, I made two flavors in this last batch:
1. Ham & Turkey with grated cheese, and
2. Veal & Lamb with garlic.
Mix all ingredients. If the batter is too runny, add some more Cream of Wheat or flour but it doesn't have to be really thick - just thick enough that when you drop a little spoonful onto the baking sheet it won't completely flatten out.
I usually cook these in the microwave - drop by small spoonfuls onto waxed paper or parchment paper, or a greased microwave safe plate.
For chewy treats, cook on High for 2- 3 minutes, until set.
If you want crunchy treats, cook them longer.
If you want to bake them in the oven, drop by spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 8 minutes for chewy treats, longer for crunchy treats.
Cool and store covered in the fridge for up to one week, or freeze for longer storage.
Why bother, you may ask? Aside from any warm fuzzy feelings arising from making something for a pet you love, your choice of treats to use when training your dog can make or break a training session.
Remember that some treats have more value to the dog than others. Think of it as pay for your dog - and just as we don't demand high pay for a job that is easy and/or enjoyable, your dog will be perfectly satisfied with "low value" treats like his regular dog biscuits, Cheerios, even pieces of his regular food when you are practicing in a low-distraction environment (like at home) or practicing exercises he already knows and enjoys. But move him to a high-distraction environment like a training class, or try teaching him something difficult and if you want his undivided attention he's going to want higher pay for that.
You may have to experiment to find treats that really drive your dog crazy. Some favorites are:
boiled chicken, liver, etc - especially with a sprinkle of garlic powder
But a variety of treats for training is important, and that's where homemade treats come in handy. And of course, they're lovely as occasional special treats just to do something nice for your dog.
Bake up a batch of these and freeze for future use - your dog will thank you! I'll post other treat recipes here from time to time.