Monday, November 15, 2010
Save Money With Homemade Training Treats
As you all know, I recently finished a basic obedience class with Milly at the Mt. Vernon Dog Training Club. Because MVDTC does not offer any puppy classes, I have enrolled Hush in puppy kindergarten through the Capital Dog Training Club in Silver Spring, MD (more on this to follow).
In puppy kindergarten, not only does Hush learn the basics: heal, sit, down, stay, recall, off, etc. But, she also gets vital socialization and exposure to a variety of distractions like clown masks, baby carriages, ladders, and loud noises.
The first few months of a puppy's life are the molding period. In this phase, you can essentially teach your puppy not to be fearful of things through positive associations. Already, Hush has learned to love being blow dried, baths, nail clippings, and yes, loud noises. At home, my food motivated puppy gets rewarded with regular puppy treats or pieces of kibble, but in class she needs more. Low fat string cheese is a great motivator - she only gets these high value treats in class, but I want her to have more options. Today, I picked up some all-natural, low fat, all beef, nitrate free hot dogs. I plan on cutting these into tiny pieces and dehydrating them. To do this, I will simply set the oven to 250, place my sliced hot dogs on a cookie sheet, and bake for 45 minutes, or until dry, but not burnt.
Voila! Months worth of high value training treats, for $3! To make them last even longer, I'll only dehydrate 1-3 hot dogs at a time, and store the rest in the freezer, thawing them and baking as needed.