Betsy and I go through a lot of treats due to all the agility and trick training and obedience practice we do.
Ideally we would be aiming for more toy rewards and less treat rewards, but the tl;dr of this is treats are easier than toys, and I just haven’t managed to get her to 100% only work for toys. We do throw in the occasional toy reward or life reward, but I’d say 85% of the time it’s a treat reward. I’ll let you know if we ever manage to change this 😁
IN THE MEANTIME, how do I afford all these treats?!
To start, I have 3 categories of treats:
- Kibble. I don’t feed Betsy meals, I just give her kibble for good behaviour. I think I have touched on this before. I also give her kibble for performing tasks that I know are easy for her. No sense in wasting higher value treats on the easy work. This is a money saver in itself because I have to buy her kibble for meals anyway, so might as well just use it as a treat.
- Higher value homemade treats. I will go into this in more detail in a minute.
- Recall treats. The optimum treat, reserved for recall commands. Betsy loooves being called over because she knows it means a huge hunk of leftover salmon skin or chicken. Recall treats are usually just meat leftover from dinner. I freeze all our leftover meat and save it for this purpose.
Now onto the mid-range homemade treats: I make these myself. On average it costs me $3 per week, plus 45 minutes of baking and 5 minutes of chopping.
Most grocery stores sell offals. Some of the ones we have tried include: beef liver, kidney, and heart, chicken hearts and gizzards, and lamb kidney (lamb kidney is the costliest, it’s around $4.50 and it doesn’t make as many treats, either!). These offals range in price from about $1 to as “high” as $4. And after I bake and chop them up, they last me about 7 days.
They definitely yield way more treats than a $13 bag of dog treats at the pet store does. And I like to think they are healthier, too, since they’re human-grade, all meat, no preservatives or weird ingredients.
- Buy meat offals.
- Bake in oven for 25-45 minutes, depending on the meat (just use your best judgement, but the nice thing is if they’re a bit over or under-cooked, the dog doesn’t mind like a person would 😄).
- Chop meat into pieces the size of your thumbnail.
- Put in tupperware in fridge, or,
- if you can’t use them all up before they go bad, freeze some and thaw them when you need more treats.