Dog’s love this! I’ve used it in training and when working with rescue dogs. This recipe is both extremely economical and very high value. I bake a dish of this, cut it into six bars, place five in a Ziploc bag in the freezer, and place one in a baggie in the fridge (where it will last short of a week).
If you don’t have a 9″ x 9″ baking dish, you can just flatten it out on a pizza pan. You may have to adjust the cook time. Whatever you use, make sure you grease it well. I made the mistake of not doing that once…just once.
It’s important to remember that this recipe is for *training treats*, not *meals*. Too often, I see people give really big treats to their dogs. Not only is that unnecessary, but it can also lead to weight problems. If you go through a lot of treats during training, make sure to skim a bit off the top of their daily allowance.
Why Train with Treats?
When you want to encourage a dog to continue to perform a behavior, you want to “reinforce” that behavior. That means giving them something they like. This could be a variety of things, such as food, play, access to something desirable, or attention.
Among the options, food is the most efficient. Not only is it a primal desire, but it is also quick. A pea-sized pinch of this “Irresistible Puppy Cake” goes a long way. A couple of chews, and gulp, and you’re on to the next task.
Not Too Much
Did you notice I said “pea-sized pinch”? That’s all you need. It’s just a taste. If you give your dog huge pieces as a reward, you’re just adding calories to their waistlines. Please try to keep your dog at a healthy weight to help avoid health-related issues. We want to keep her or him around for as long as we can.
When checking your dog’s weight, the short version is that you want to see a good tummy tuck underneath, and when you run your hands along your dog’s ribs you can feel only a thin layer of fat. I have added a weight chart to my online dog-training library here. Also in the library, I have added an article with a formula to help you count calories here. (Feel free to peruse. I continually add to it. You can even search for topics of interest.)
There is Such a Thing as Too Much of a Good Thing
In this case, the good thing is liver. Liver is excellent for dogs. However, if a dog gets too much liver, she or he can run the danger of Vitamin A overload. So, don’t give your dog a whole cake. This brings us back to “this is for *training treats*, not *meals*”. Here is a nice article that explains the benefits of liver. (Note: This “Irresistible Puppy Cake” has approximately 8 oz of liver in it.)
How Do I Use Treats to Train?
The simplest version is this: When your dog does something you like, pinch off a pea-sized bit of Puppy Cake and give it to her or him. If you get in the habit of doing that, you will start down the right path.
What to Look for in a Trainer
I believe the most important thing to ask about when looking for a trainer is training methods. Many trainers take an aggressive, punitive approach to training. I do not. I am a modern, science-based dog trainer. My methods are force free and pain free. I do not use intimidation, fear, pain, or violence to motivate a dog. There simply isn’t any need to. If you want to know more about why I do what I do, I’ve written about it here. For more about how to find a science-based, force-free trainer, here is an article I wrote to help you out.
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