Training treats that are small and healthy can sure be pricey. Today's recipe is easy and economical....and dogs LOVE them!
The recipe below makes approximately 1,500 bite-size treats, using two pans, one 18"x13" and one 9"x13". You can also roll out the dough and use various cookie cutters to make larger treats.
The treats can either be left out in an open container, in which case they will harden into crunchy, cracker-like treats. (for my Baptist readers, think communion wafers!) Or they can be refrigerated in a closed container for several weeks for slightly moist, chewy treats (my preference). Do NOT store them in a closed container outside of the refrigerator unless you like mold, which will begin to grow like mossy, green hair within a few days. Yuck!
The treats also freeze well for several months if placed in freezer-friendly bags or plasticware.
1 can of pumpkin (approx. 1 3/4 cup)
1/3 cup Non-fat Dry Milk
1 tsp Sea Salt
6 cups flour
Mix the first six ingredients together. Add the flour and knead into a semi-stiff dough. It's kind of sticky, so you'll need to use a fair amount of flour on your hands to avoid having too much dough clinging to your fingers.
Grease cookie sheets and press the dough into the pans, about 1/4" thick. Again, use flour to keep the dough from sticking to your hands as you press, sprinkling it on top of the dough and rubbing it onto your hands.
Score the treats with a table knife. For the size pans I use, I get the following rows/columns:
- Large pan = 36-40 x 23-26
- Small pan = 18-20 x 25-27
Cook at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, loosen the sheet of treats (it should all still stick together for the most part) and flip. Cook for another 5-7 minutes until treats are firm, but not beginning to brown or get crunchy.
Cool and then separate the sheets of treats into individual pieces. (I usually do this step while watching TV!)
- Yield: 1,500 training-sized pieces
- Calories: 2/piece
- Cost: $3.00
If kept in the fridge, these treats stay nice and moist, making them easy for the dogs to chew quickly during training. They're also easy to tear into even smaller pieces for smaller dogs or to the extend the quantity of rewards without increasing the amount of actual food your dog is consuming.
Pumpkin is typically settling for a dog's tummy, so these treats rarely cause digestive problems. You can also substitute barley or rice flour for a gluten free alternative.