Nutritious and Delicious Training Treats

20161214_163335Training Treat Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups old fashioned oats (1/2 cup reserved)

1 cup all natural peanut butter

1/4 cup local honey

1/2 cup flax seed and chia seed combo (see below)

2 bananas

Instructions:

Add oats to food processor and process until you have a flour like powder. Reserve 1/2 cup.    Take the 3 remaining cups of oats and put in a large bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and mix or blend with hand mixer or blender.  (I used my Vitamix from start to finish)  Take your reserved oat flour and dust your counter.  Dump out your batter and sprinkle top with oat flour so you are able to roll your dough.  (I used my hands) You are looking for about 1/4 inch thickness.  Use a pizza cutter or cookie cutter to cut your treats into desired shapes.  I wanted small squares to use as training treats but these would make fantastic gifts or treats to use anytime!

Now let’s talk about why I choose these ingredients:

Oats: Oats have more nutritional value than if I would have use whole wheat flour.  I just amped up the fiber, calcium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, B vitamins, cancer fighting selenium and more! Could you use whole wheat flour instead? Yes, but I strongly encourage you to try making your own oat flour.  You can use this in your human cooking as well!

All natural peanut butter: Do you know what is really in your jar of peanut butter??  LOOK! Dogs have DIED because of the fake sweeteners that poison peanut butter! Read your labels.  If you have a market where you can make your own peanut butter, DO IT! If you don’t look for an organic, all natural peanut butter with nothing but nuts listed!  Peanut butter is a great source of protein for your pup but it also add more vitamins like B and E along with heart healthy fats.

LOCAL Honey: If you can’t get local just eliminate this ingredient all together.  The idea behind this power house ingredient is to aid your pup with allergies and fight infections.  Check out this informative article about bee products.Click here for a very informative article about bee products.

Flax seeds and Chia seeds: I was lucky enough to find this ingredient for a bread I was making and thought, “this would be great for the dog treats”! This little ingredient was the inspiration for this recipe.  I was not expecting to find this already mixed.  If you can not find it this way, you can do one or the other or buy both and mix equally.  You are adding Omega 3,6 and 9 plus calcium, iron, fiber, protein and so much more!  You want to look for organic and “cold milled”.  Click her for more info on choosing the right flax seed.

Bananas: Just what your pup needs to help the body absorb all these great vitamins!! This potassium rich food that also adds more manganese, B6, vitamin C, even things like copper and biotin! While bananas are low in sodium they are higher in sugar so they are perfect in treats because they need to eat in moderation.

Dealing With Separation Anxiety

For those of us that have dogs that suffer from separation anxiety, or S.A., really wonder who suffers more our dog or us?!  Trapped at home, locking door and cupboards, vet visits for injuries, not to mention all the replacing/repairing of furniture, fixtures, car interiors, carpeting, subfloor, windows, do I need to continue?! OI!

We have fostered a few pups that have shredded couches, bedding, doors, knobs, car seats, crates and more.  We have on many occasions taken a S.A. dog along with us to have dinner or go shopping just to keep the peace.  So when Ernie walked into our lives we knew we would have our work cut out for us!  Ernie is our 2 year old Great Dane.  We were warned by one of the 6 homes he was in, that he poops when you leave and is a counter surfer.  Well we have weims….we know all about counter surfing.  Check that issue off the list.  Pooping in the house….believe me I have seen worse!  Check that off the list.  Well….the list stopped but Ernie showed off a few more tricks when left home alone!  We are lucky in that we have 3 other dogs that are very stable in the home when left alone.  That energy definitely helps Ernie calm down and realize he is in a safe place AFTER he opens EVERY cupboard, eats every morsel and goes through the trash.  So the good news is that after that initial 10-20min, Ernie is able to calm himself down and hang out appropriately with the pack.

What are we doing to help Ernie??

For starters, Ernie is still young (2yrs old) so he has some energy.  He walks 3 miles everyday in the morning.  That walk needs to be switched up every few days.  We never do the same route too many days in a row.  It is amazing after just switching up the routine, how mentally stimulating that is.  It keeps his mind thinking and he can’t just go through the motions.  That mental stimulation is critical! Check out this great article from dogtime.com for more info on mental and physical stimulation for dogs.

Second, this can be the most challenging of the steps….MAKE HIM POOP!!  Just the anxiety of me leaving will make him so nervous and upset that he will poop in the house.  However, if I make sure he goes before I leave, he is perfect!!! So, yes, sometimes I am late getting some where because I am in the backyard BEGGING Ernie to poop but it is worth saving myself the mess later.

Third, if I walked him in the morning but I don’t leave until afternoon or evening, I make sure he gets outside for a bit.  He is not a high energy dog so it does not take much for him to get worn out.  One lap around the yard with the weims and he is ready for a nap!

Lastly, getting out the door.  I have to be prepared to leave and not come back.  When you have a S.A. dog, usually coming back and forth will only trigger them again and again.  With Ernie, is issue is right with I leave.  So if I leave for an hour and come back and then leave again, I have only flipped that switch again, allowing him to start his anxiety cycle again.  So when you leave the house STAY GONE.  As I walk out the door, I open all my cupboards and remove the trash.  (I have already moved all food to the highest cupboard shelves) So now when Ernie wants to explore the kitchen, my cupboards will survive and my trash will not be strewn throughout the house!!

Below are some great resources that have helped me.  I know everyone’s struggle is different and anxiety does not look the same in every dog.  If you want to chat more about what I do to help Ernie, please reach out any time!

Whole Dog Journal

ASPCA

The Dog Trainer