When you spend much time working with your dogs, even just reinforcing the day-to-day stuff, you blow through a lot of treats. In addition to our regular work with the boys, we always take treats on walks with Lucas and Cooper to work on reactivity. We’re also doing a ton more training in the house since we’re working on getting them to behave around the cat (who, incidentally, loves dog treats).
We’re using a ton of treats. And dog treats aren’t cheap! Especially the soft, chewy, healthy training treats.
So, we’ve been looking for ways to cut costs while still having a ton of treats at our fingertips for ongoing work.
Here are three cheap and easy DIY training treats that you probably already have in your fridge:
Turkey hot dogs: As we all know, 10 tiny treats are way more valuable to a dog than one big treat. You can cut a single hotdog into 100 pea-sized pieces, getting tremendous value out of an inexpensive product. I’ve heard some dogs prefer their hot dogs to be heated up… my guys don’t seem to notice a difference.
Strawberries: For a healthy option, cut a strawberry into 6 or 8 tiny pieces. Lucas is very picky about fruits and vegetables (basically, he hates them), but he loves strawberries. My guess is it’s the sweetness, but whatever works! The only caveat here is that, if you’re training on the go with a treat bag, line it with beeswax paper or similar first so that the strawberry juice doesn’t leave a mess.
Canned tuna: If you thoroughly drain the can and stick it in the fridge overnight, you’ll find that the tuna breaks into tiny little chunky flakes. These are perfect bite-sized training treats, and since it’s super smelly, most dogs will work extra hard to get that fishy goodness! This is a perfect solution for dogs who have protein allergies, too! Coop can’t have chicken or beef, which is in seriously every single store-bought training treat. This is the perfect alternative for him.
One thing that didn’t make the cut: Carrots. While carrots are awesome treats for dogs, they’re less awesome as training treats because your dog has to stop what he’s doing to chew chew chew chew the little pieces of carrot. You’re going to lose focus with all that chewing! So use carrots as an “after work” reward for your pup but not for training.
What do you use as training treats? Have you found ways to save money on this stuff?
If you’re looking for more fast, fun, and cheap treat ideas, check out these two simple DIY dog treat recipes!