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Thread: DIY Doggy Treats

  1. #1

    Default DIY Doggy Treats

    Hi all, does anybody have recipes for DIY doggy treats? I'm having real problems trying to find treats that my Labrador Millie will respond to in training (I know right, only Labrador owner on the planet with this problem!). I don't feed her on the day before training to ensure she is hungry and more responsive as per the trainer's suggestion but the only food she's shown any interest in was some stuff the trainers use.

    Tonight I went to a butcher and couldn't get liver or Lamb Fry but got skirt steak. As it turns out, no amount of google searching will provide me with a recipe to turn this into dog treats. The butcher was really vague and just told me to 'cook it until it's dry on a low heat'. Have any of you made treats using skirt steak before? If so, do you have advice for cooking time and temp? I'm trying on 120 and checking regularly.

    Any help would really be appreciated. I really don't want to face the trainer with yet another 'low value pet treat' and get told off again

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by candi9 View Post
    Hi all, does anybody have recipes for DIY doggy treats? I'm having real problems trying to find treats that my Labrador Millie will respond to in training (I know right, only Labrador owner on the planet with this problem!). I don't feed her on the day before training to ensure she is hungry and more responsive as per the trainer's suggestion but the only food she's shown any interest in was some stuff the trainers use.

    Tonight I went to a butcher and couldn't get liver or Lamb Fry but got skirt steak. As it turns out, no amount of google searching will provide me with a recipe to turn this into dog treats. The butcher was really vague and just told me to 'cook it until it's dry on a low heat'. Have any of you made treats using skirt steak before? If so, do you have advice for cooking time and temp? I'm trying on 120 and checking regularly.

    Any help would really be appreciated. I really don't want to face the trainer with yet another 'low value pet treat' and get told off again
    I've never tried to make treats out of skirt steak, but i tried liver once... and never again!!
    When i tried the liver i simply cut it really thin and dried it out for a few hours on a low heat... problem is that liver ABSOLUTELY STINKS, definitely dont try to make liver treats unless you are okay with your house smelling like something died in it for a couple of days! And on top of that, they ended up going mouldy before i even used them so i had to throw them out in the end anyway
    My dogs work for anything, they are highly food driven. Is there a chance you could use a tug rope as a reward rather than food rewards?
    otherwise, i know there are a range of different dog biscuits out there just google dog treat recipe. Or maybe If you have chickens you could use bits of boiled egg?
    Hope at least some of those suggestions are useful to you, good luck

  3. #3
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    You could try dicing it up into about 1cm cubes and frying them up. Maybe just do a little bit first to see if your dog will eat them readily.

    Kinda depends on which skirt you have as there are three all up. Two will pull apart fairly easily but one of them is a lot thicker than the others and should hold together better.
    Skirt is a cut of meat that is usually used for casseroles etc as it's a tougher cut so if you cook it using a dry heat method (oven, grill, bbq, fryingpan) it should toughen it up for you.
    If you think dogs can't count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them. ~Phil Pastoret

  4. #4
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    Is there a reason you want/need to use treats? Does your lab respond to anything else, like toys, balls, tug, pats, play with you? Could you use these as rewards instead?

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    Hi
    Send me an email to Farrview50@hotmail.com I can email you something I downloaded when I was looking around for the same reason. I use cheese as that is Mags preference. Maybe something useful in the recipes for pooches

  6. #6
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    I guess meatloaf or hamburger kinds of things would be good for skirt steak... maybe. I think I'd blitz it in a food processer until it was fairly minced or chopped and then mix it with cooked rice or oats, egg, maybe some veg like carrot or corn and then cook like meatloaf. The more egg you put in, the better it will hold together.

    I think the main thing you want to do is find out what your dog likes. I have heard of a family line of Labradors that aren't interested in food but they are interested in other things - they are retrievers - so fetching stuff is usually fun for them. So if there is something she's really excited about - get her to eat some of whatever treat you want to use (eg fritz or devon or cheese) just a piece the size of your little finger nail, and then give her the thing she loves.

    She may like fishy things too. So you could make a sort of cheese slice but put some sardines in it as well or instead of the cheese - depending what you choose to cook with it - it could get pretty stinky. Ie sardines would be stinky, canned tuna or salmon maybe less so.

    Dehydrating food (slow oven eg 120 for a few hours) is good and bad. Dry treats often end up with a dog that chokes instead of working with you - because they inhaled the food, and it takes longer for them to eat it so it slows training up.

    Sometimes I get a lump of beef or lamb and pot roast that in some water, veg and herbs for a couple of hours or so - and then I cut some of the beef or lamb up into little cubes for training treats. Fatty bits are usually more exciting than just the meaty bits and slightly salty is attractive to a dog too - but you want to be only using this if the dog really loves it, and then only for the best performance.

  7. #7
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    jars of babyfood that dont contain the usual bad things (tomato, onion, etc.) and mix with enough flour (can use gluten free here if your dog is intolerant) to make a soft dough you can roll out. use a cookie cutter or roll into small cookie (5c piece size) and bake at 180 until firm. crunchy tasty treats you can anything to!

  8. #8

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    Thanks for all the advice. Millie is 3 and we rescued her from a family who overfed her and didn't walk her, let alone train her so I fear that the only reward she's interested in is the mere fact that she is out at a school (where training is held) with interesting sights and smells. At home she'll go for any treat and she loves playing with toys but out at training she's not interested in anything other than exploring her immediate area. I am forever trying to get her back into the heel-sit position because she just wants to stand up and look around.

    I have training at 11am so I think I'm going to pick up some cheese and see if she likes that if the meat is of no interest to her. I fear I might end up being that crazy lady who screams at the trainer because I'm rather sick of being told every week that my latest attempt at dog treats is substandard and that my dog is too fat. Not my fault and I'm working on fixing it! Grr..

  9. #9
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    Trainer is a bit suss they should work alongside you not AT you! I have had the same issue with Maggie and my trainer was supportive and helped, it is already difficult with a very distractible dog without feeling defensive....you are at training so you are doing the right thing. Hang in there
    And onya for taking her on with such good care.

  10. #10
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    reward she's interested in is the mere fact that she is out at a school (where training is held) with interesting sights and smells.
    This is good to know - you can use this. She gets your cue/permission to "go sniff" *after* she does something for you. You can even strategically place something out there worth finding (anything you want to use for a treat).

    So it goes like this - on lead -
    you wait until she does something you want, like a sit, and then you praise her, tell her what a great girl she is, and then tell her to "go sniff" (or whatever cue you want to say), and let her wander off and do her own thing for thirty seconds or so, and then call her, shorten up the lead and see if she will offer the sit again.

    This will be a bit slow because you can't get very many repetitions (reps) in of any training attempt/task. So you also can't get many separate rewards in.

    But you can also use it to pair food with the reward she likes. So you get her close to you on a short lead, you say "yes" (or click if you're using a clicker), and then you offer her a bit of cheese - if she eats it - say "go sniff" and let her go sniff for 10 seconds or so.

    But make sure all the not training things she wants to do - she only gets to do *after* she's done something for you.
    I have cue words "go sniff", "say hello", "who's dat dere?" (find your friend), "find it" for when I dropped a treat... and I say any of these in context after she's done something for me.

    If she's still fat - cut her dinner back by 10% for a week or two, and if she's still fat (and not interested in treats from you) - cut it back by another 10% until she starts to tone up. Hopefully this will make her much more interested in food rewards you might have. Remember to include treats in your dinner ration calcs. At the same time you have to stop her from foraging without permission when you're going for walks or whatever.

    My walk routines when my dog was a puppy - and would pull like mad in any direction (mostly out of fear - especially at roads) was a lot of sits and downs - we sit at every kerb, we drop down when ever there is another dog, kid, pram, bicycle, jogger, cat etc. We did lots of that as a puppy - less so now. And also if she pulled, I stopped until she stopped pulling and the lead would loosen up a bit before I'd take a step. I'd take one step... and if the lead went tight again - I'd stop again.

    The first few walks like this are a bit tedious but if you don't do it - then you're rewarding all the bad behaviours and they continue or get worse.

    My fave trainer - trains her dogs not to sniff on walks or anywhere else unless she's given them permission to "go for a run", she uses a head halter and a game called "its yer choice" - first she trains the dog to accept being in a head halter, lots of treats (which isn't going to work for you until you find the right treat - do sardines work?). So once the dog is happy in the head halter - out they go for a walk. I use two leads - one very light one for the dog's head and one for the front attach harness for the dog's body - that way if there is a disaster - I don't have to yank on her head to stop her from chasing the bus/cat/bike/jogger.

    The first walk might be around the back yard then front yard where you have lots of control over what is there (no buses). So if the dog is heeling nicely - you praise and reward (go sniff?). And every few steps - you play a game of chase the boss - run around a bit - play tug if the dog will but ideally something fun that involves you (go sniff doesn't involve you).

    And you build up on that very gradually - sometimes ask for more, sometimes less but overall increasing the average amount of time you have with a nice heel.

    with the head halter - if the dog puts her head down to sniff or turns to look at something you don't want her looking at (like the neighbour's cat) you slide your hand down the halter lead until your fist is on the clip under her chin and gently turn her head back to you and hold a few seconds until the dog is not pulling against you, then you release your pressure - to see what choice the dog makes about where to put her attention. If she tries to go back to sniffing or looking away when you want her working with you - then repeat, turn her head back. After five attempts at a nice heel or five its yer choice moments - stop and do something else.

    I usually do about two sets of five attempts on any given task and then do something else like play or pack up the training... you don't want to drag your training sessions out too long. The 30 minutes to an hour at class - are for you more than your dog. Try to play with your dog or just give her an ear rub as much as possible during class - because it's very hard for a dog to pay attention that long - until they have a dog university level degree of training (like a top competition dog or police dog). Breaks for your dog should be incorporated into the training class by the instructor but often they're not so you have to find ways to sneak them in for example when the instructor is describing what happens next is a good time.

    With the head halter - you want to get rid of it as soon as possible - so spend about a week playing games getting your dog used to it being there then on her face and not walking with it (in front of the telly is a good place for this), then spend a week in the back yard practicing its yer choice with it, then go out with it and practice in as many new places as you can organise, then only use it sometimes for a week, then stop using it. If it's not sorted within the month - it's time to try something else.

    There's nothing worse than seeing some poor dog out there with the head halter pulled across its eye and rubbing holes in its face, and the dog is still pulling and the owner is still rewarding that by continuing to move forward. You're better off with the front attach harness only if your dog pulls after a month with the head halter. Its the same deal with the more aggressive collars like choke chains - if the dog never stops pulling - the collar is doing damage, there's no reward, just one long continuous punishment that the dog ignores.
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 06-01-2013 at 11:27 AM.

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