Recently I decided to quit my perfectly good, regularly paying, benefit-yielding job in the pet food industry to grow The Persuaded Pooch full time. This has a been a long time coming for me, to which my friends and family say “Thank goodness we don’t have to hear about that any more!” But with that perfectly good job, I also had to say “buh-bye” to a SWEET discount on high-value, high-quality commercial treats.
And, although, I would never, ever, ever discourage anyone from supporting fine pet food manufacturers or pet specialty retailers in the industry, I’m quickly finding that there are some budget-conscious options for high-value and convenient treating, as well. Here are a few of my favorites for you DIY-ers:
Peanut Butter Kong
We often think about the standard peanut butter Kong for keeping our dogs occupied like when they first go to their crates or when visitors come over. But I find myself using ye old rubber Kong Classic for an easy and quick treat dispensing strategy. With this strategy, you can get reinforcement to your dog quickly without any of the fumbling in your treat pouch or pocket. Offer the Kong, let your dog have a lick, then remove access to the Kong. Easy-peasy!
Crockpot Shredded Chicken
Chicken is my go-to high value treat for so many reasons. It’s low-cost, it’s healthy (lean) and readily available. My “lazy woman’s chicken strategy” has evolved over the years. At first, I bought unseasoned or lightly seasoned chicken off the grocery store salad bar. Grocers got super-smart then and started offering shredded rotisserie chicken at the deli counter. THEN… A friend had posted a Facebook video for crockpot chicken and dumplings that made me smack myself in the head… Of course! Make puppy chicken in a crockpot! Seriously, this couldn’t be any easier:
- Grab a 3lb bag of frozen chicken breast and defrost on the counter or in the microwave.
- Put the thawed chicken in a crockpot slow cooker for 4-5 hours on high until the inside is no longer pink.
- Remove, shred with two forks.
- Freeze into as many or as few freezer-safe containers as you like, and use, as needed!
Roll-On Chicken Broth
Now for a little of the unconventional. This idea came from a positive trainer chat group, and I have to say, it’s genius! Remember when roll-on deodorant was a thing? You can purchase refillable containers just like that with the little roller ball and put tasty liquids in them, like low-sodium chicken broth, beef broth or raw goats milk. Turn it upside down and Voilà… a puppy lollipop! This is perfect for quick and clean reinforcement for things like loose leash walking. You can buy refillable roller bottles here.
There you have it! Whether you want to save money, or just wish to re-purpose extras of the ingredients you already have on hand, there are many ways to do both and provide really high value training reinforcers for your dog. Happy training! – Sarah