Using treats to reward your dog during training sessions is a great way to positively reinforce good behaviour – and make sessions more enjoyable!
We haven’t met a dog yet who didn’t love these liver treats. And because you’re making them yourself, you can cut them to the perfect size for training. Even when they’re small, they still pack a huge flavour punch. Now that’s positive reinforcement!
(Choose organic whenever possible)
1 pound chicken livers
3 cloves fresh garlic (optional)
Organic whole flour of your choice or a combination, e.g., oat, brown rice, spelt, barley
You can add any herb you want to the liver mixture. Parsley and oregano are very nice, and for an extra “wow factor”, you can even add parmesan cheese.
Note: Although not a “true” grain, quinoa can also be used for this recipe, for a protein boost! Whole chickpea flour and hemp seed flour are great choices too.
Put liver in a pot with garlic cloves, and cover with filtered water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes, until all pink is gone from the liver. This gives you a really nice broth.
Whirl chicken livers and garlic in a food processor or blender, adding broth, so that you have a thick liquid to work with.
Add whole grain flour until you have an easy-to-handle dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. This recipe makes lots of dough, so you can freeze portions in small containers or bags, and just make up a tray at a time.
Take small pieces of dough, and, using your palms, roll out to pencil thickness. Roll in oatmeal (so they don’t stick), then cut into small pieces with a sharp knife.
Place pieces on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper then put the cookie sheet into a cold oven. Turn the oven to 350oF degrees. When the oven reaches heat, turn it down to 175oF degrees. Leave the treats in the oven until they are bone hard . . . about two hours. Turn off the oven. You can leave the treats in the oven overnight.
Store treats in the fridge, or freeze.
Alternatively: Rather than roll out the treats into a cylinder, you may choose to put a ball of dough into the centre of a parchment paper covered cookie sheet, and using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to the edges of the cookie sheets. Once rolled, score the dough into tiny pieces, so they can be easily broken after baking.
Audi Donamor has been successfully creating special needs diets for companion animals for two decades. She founded the University of Guelph’s Smiling Blue Skies® Cancer Fund and Smiling Blue Skies® Fund for Innovative Research. She is the proud recipient of a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was honored with the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, for her work in cancer, from the University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College. The Smiling Blue Skies Cancer Fund is also the recipient of the “Pets + Us” Community Outreach Champion Award.