As many may know, dog treats can be expensive. Healthy dog treats can be even more expensive. Training dog treats, well you get the point. Retailers know that you will go through a lot of treats while training. Therefore they mark up the price to turn a profit.
Years ago when I was training our puppies there use to be a large canister of training treats that I could buy at Petsmart. I’m not sure how healthy they were, but they were the perfect size for training. They weren’t too big for puppies, and not to small for adults. For some reason after a while I could not find them any more. I then went to a soft cookie type treat that I could cut to size. However, they were expensive.
This time around for our puppies I couldn’t even find those treats. I found a treat that was made of freeze dried liver. They cost about $30 for a large can and recommended by the store. When I opened them up I was immediately disappointed. Only half the can was full. I felt duped. The pieces themselves are too large for training puppies or even small dogs. If the treats are too large, then your puppy will be spending time chewing it instead of training. I cut them up into fourths. A small amount of them crumbled. I went through one canister in a month. For me that was expensive.
I’ve been looking at different methods to find a quality treat. I stumbled across a website where they suggest hot dogs. They cut them up into small pieces. Dogs love them, they are soft, with instant flavor. Really it’s a great treat. You can buy a package of 8 for $1.00 or less. I could go through 1 package a day for a month, and still be cheaper than the other treats. I wouldn’t give a dog a package each day though. I’m still not settled on the idea anyway, as I don’t think they are very healthy.
Then again, while looking at Pinterest I accidentally came across another idea. I found a recipe (which I now can’t find) where they cut up bananas, and dry them in the oven. For an hour and a half you cook sliced bananas at 210 degrees fareignheit. The result is some strips of bananas you can give your dog for treats, or break up for smaller pieces for training. Also, you can cook them as smaller slices like chips, for an easier training treat. I was able to buy 12 bananas for $3.50. I’m sure I could find them cheaper, but I was in a rush. That’s a lot of treats for a small price. Bananas are healthy, cheap, and tasty. I also added a little bit of honey with a brush to add a little more sweetness. The problem I see with bananas is that too many can be a bad idea. In humans it has been found that 4 bananas eaten all at once can cause cardiac arrest. Bananas contain potassium, and too much is bad on the heart. So I would use them in small quantities. However, I don’t use too many during a training session. I found out that they still can be sticky once they are dried. The left over skins from the bananas I just put in my composter bin. More compost to grow more vegetables. Here are couple photos of the treats.
Speaking of vegetables. I also have a lot of sweet potatoes that I am growing in my yard. You can slice them up and dry them the same way. They may be a little healthier, but not as tasty. Since I am growing them, they don’t cost me anything, except the cost of compost. I know a lot of the high quality foods use sweet potatoes as a healthier filler. I am growing blueberries as well, and they might be the perfect size for training. I presume they are too high in sugar content, and we eat all we grow anyway.
Anyway, I thought I would mention these doggy treat ideas. Hopefully it will be a healthy alternative for your dog, or even your English Golden Retriever puppies.
Here are a few updated photos of our English Golden Retrievers.