Friday, March 12, 2010

Treats and Expo

I hate buying dog treats. I have goldens. Goldens like food. Especially food you are eating. But at the same time, in a training context, nothing makes Griffin or Luna quite as wild as any food does with Blaze. I'm not so keen on buying store dog's almost all over priced and with too much sugar.

But we use a lot of treats in this house.

I've been against hotdogs because they smell really bad to me. My mom gave me several packs of turkey hot dogs that the humans of the house did not want. I finally experimented with preparations methods I've read about. It took forever! I cooked them. I soaked them in water. I sliced them. I cooked them. I tried to cut them smaller and ended up just breaking them. I cooked them. It was about a 20 minute process. I probably won't ever do it again. But they're well cooked, a little crunchy but also soft, and don't smell nearly as bad as "warmed and cut" hotdogs do. I wish there was a better way to cut them...they just want to smoosh.

A few weeks ago, I made a bunch of Tuna Treats to take to the 4H Teen Conference. Those went well, but aren't a lot of treats for the time put into it. (...Oil, Egg, Tuna, a bit of salt, and flour/oatmeal to a batter texture. Pour onto a greased pan. Flatten as thin as you can. Bake until golden brown. ) I did learn that the reason my oatmeal cookies never really turn out is because if you put in a ton of oatmeal/flour... people or dog cookies turn out crunchy and crumbly and dry, rahter than soft and squishy. And I probably over cook my cookies. After removing from the oven, the treats can be pizza-cutter-tooled into little tiny pieces.

I've used frozen meatballs for training quite a bit. I can get a big bag at Kroger for about $10 and that'll last me 4-6 weeks.

Griffin really likes biscuits. He didn't really get any until recently and now is somewhat enthusiastic for them.

Cheese melts and gets gross. Plus, when you wash it, it's really gross. I had to re-wash a load of laundry three times today.

Sausage is great. My dogs like sausage. But like hotdogs, it's hard to precut.

Yes. I'm already worried about having enough/variety/valued treats for expo next weekend. A week from now I'll be having a great time with all my training friends! It'll come and go too fast. Somehow this is my third expo. This will be a super exciting one though as I know a lot of people going (compared to 0 the first time and 6 the next time). I'm finally taking two friends (and camp staff). I started bugging a student about it last summer...and not only is she going, but she's a KPA student and I'm super proud. It'll be a good weekend. I miss my KPA groupmates and will be very glad to see some of them at expo.


Crystal said...

I like the Natural Balance food rolls (although I buy the ones that PetSmart carries- Pet Botanics, I think?- because they don't have eggs and Natural Balance does). Cheap, pretty easy to cut to size, and super high value.

I also like Zukes, but since I have a small dog, I cut them into fours, and that's time consuming. Not sure if there's too much sugar in those.

Sometimes, I use my cat's kibble- it's small and Maisy goes nuts for it, and it's a grain free premium food, too.

Megan said...

Apparently I'm not your friend, since ALL of your friends are going to Expo.

I use a lot of "fancy" kibbles. NB roll, cheese, cooked liver, cat kibbles, all mixed in with some regular dog kibbles and refrigerated overnight. Makes for moist kibbles. When I had this batch at the vet on Tuesday for Bailey's blood draw, Kim actually ATE some. I mean, she's weird but said it wasn't too bad.

Oh, lunch meat in the kibbles works too, salty, but far less than just using lunch meat.

Kristen said...

The natural-balance type stuff is great because it's heavy and perfect for any treat-tossing. It doesn't have problems with air currents like lighter crackery things do.

That and the zukes (...which I just looked...pretty sure they used to have lots of sugar...and they don't anymore, yay) are rather expensive to use lots of...but I suppose what isn't? Hah. High rate of reinforcement CAN cause some problems! Running out of treats!

I need a good way to get tons of food samples... I'd been buying bags of kibble to use just as treats but I realized it wasn't really any more or less reinforcing than the regular kibble and gave up on that.

Someone needs to do a cost/lb comparison of a billion different treat items to figure out what are the most economical within various 'animal value' ranges.

Megan: I'm still holding out that you'll magically appear on my doorstep Thursday morning. You know you want to!

I wish my dogs were as enthusiastic over food as some of my puppies in class this morning!

Crystal said...

I think the NB rolls are the best bang for the buck. I can get the Pet Botanics brand for about $7 for 2ish lbs. By contrast, the next best deal is Zukes, which is about $10 for a pound. After that, all of the high-quality treats (Wellness, etc.) are about 6-8 ounces for $10.