I decided to make homemade dog treats after taking my dog Violet to her first training class.  Violet is adopted from the Wisconsin Westie Rescue and didn’t learn any manners in her former life so she needs lots of work. I purchased some liver training treats for her, and she seems to like them, but they aren’t tasty enough to motivate her to listen to me!  After an hour long class she was making zero progress on “sit!”.  The trainer came up to me and told me we might have to move Violet to a “special” class if we couldn’t motivate her.  She suggested trying some different treats and maybe even some people food like little pieces of cheese or hot dog.  I went home from that class on a mission to teach Violet to sit before next class.

The trainer was right, the cheese worked, and of course I would have a dog that loves Wisconsin food. Violet learned to sit like a pro.  She is even getting the hang of “down”, although sometimes when she sees me with a piece of cheese she gets so excited she sits, then lies down even before I have a chance to say anything. As a reward for being such a good dog, I decided to make her some homemade dog treats with the addition of her new found favorite food.

Doggie Delights Cookebook I used a recipe from the book Doggie Delights & Kitty Cuisine. This book contains more than 20 homemade dog and cat treat recipes with goofy names like “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Chocolate” and “Peanut Butter Pups”. I knew the treats had to be yummy because a) the author is from Wisconsin and b) all of the treats are taste-tested and approved by the author’s Golden Retriever, Cinnamon. Violet also loves the treats- I know because she will sit for one!

I wanted a fun shape for my homemade dog treats, but I didn’t have a bone shaped cookie cutter and my State of Wisconsin cookie cutter was much too big.  I settled on a mini-gingerbread man cookie cutter.  People eat animal crackers, so animals should eat people crackers, right?

Violet’s Chicken and Cheese People Crackers

Adapted from the recipe Licken’ Good Chicken from Doggie Delights & Kitty Cuisine

Yield: Made about 60 1-inch treats.  I helped Violet divide them into bags of about 10 treats each to give as Easter gifts to her doggie friends- Bob, Charlie, Paisley, Izzy, O.D. and Daisy.

2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra if dough is sticky

1 cup cornmeal

2/3 cup wheat germ

1 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

3 chicken bouillon cubes

1 1/2 cups hot water

2/3 cup cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Mix flour, cornmeal, wheat germ, garlic powder and salt together in a large mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, dissolve bouillon cubes in the water.  Add egg and bouillon mixture to flour mixture; mix well. If the dough seems sticky add extra flour, a little bit at a time until the dough is easy to work with.

Roll dough to a 1/2-inch thickness.  Cut or form in desired shapes using cookie cutter or hands.  Place treats on prepared sheet. Bake 20-25 minutes. Remove treats from oven and cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container or plastic bag and place in refrigerator or freezer.

For another homemade dog treat recipe visit Tao the German Shepard’s blog post- Homemade Dog Biscuit Recipe For Easy Dog Training; Healthy Treats Help In Puppy Agility Class

What’s your pet’s favorite treat? Do your pets prefer homemade treats over the store bought one?