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Hi,

I'm working with a trainer to help my dog Tooty with her anxiety, barking, boundaries, etc. Tooty is very food motivated and we use treats for training. Tooty eats LOTS of treats throughout the day because she has LOTS of issues! I've been using broken up dog bones and kibble to treat her, but I was wondering if there was something more low calorie for her and less expensive for me. She really eats anything, but vegetables aren't very motivating for her. I don't want her to become overweight from this! I'd be willing to make her treats too so recipes are also welcome! Thank you very much.
 

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Simply feed less food for her meals to make up for the treat training.

I use HIGHLY interesting treats for training. One thing that I found works is Fresh Pet refrigerated dog food. They love it. You can buy a roll and cut it up and then freeze it in baggies and use that (frozen it is less slimy). Hot dogs, cut lengthwise and then cross wise can yield a LOT of treats for not a lot of money. Zuks are good, but home cooked chicken is better. I used to use Natural Balance dog food rolls but they changed the formula and it is not as easy to cut up for treats.
 

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I'm not sure of the exact calorie content because I don't have a box on hand, but plain Cheerios breakfast cereal.

I also like the hotdog recommendation. Chicken wieners may have less calories than the traditional beef & pork ones, plus they're less expensive. I freeze them first, then cut with a super sharp knife into paper thin slices while still frozen. You can combine the Cheerios with the hotdogs in a ziploc bag and the Cheerios will pick up some of the flavour.

Also, hot air-popped popcorn for additional variety.
 

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This part is important to know. Let the dog tell you what he will go completely off the charts for.

I can tell you that if I offered a Cheerio to Greta (who has high food drive) she would spit it out and then pout.. haha. Hot dogs are better. She loves the Fresh Pet more than hot dogs (and it is healthier). Get a load of this though.. she loves BlueBerries... and sardines! She really loves her Raw food which is messy as a treat, but I think I will use raw chicken backs for article rewards on the track and see if they trump sardines.

Nalluh wants meat and has huge food drive. He will work nicely for kibble, but he will turn inside out for cheese (string cheese) and even more so for Roast Beef (and yes, I will use roast beef if that will get more consistent results).

Questa will work for carrots. She prefers Fresh Pet. She would also work for a cheerio, but not as enthusiastically.

The point is that you want something the dog really REALLY wants. It has to be better than anything and totally worth it to the dog to over ride environmental stimulus. If reacting to other dogs is an issue, the reward has to be so good that reacting to other dogs is less important to the dog than getting that particular food reward. Up the dog's sensitivity to the "issue" you must up the quality of the reward to the dog (IOW's it must be hugely IMPORTANT to the dog) accordingly...

If your dog will choose focus over reactivity for a Cheerio, then you use a Cheerio. If they need roast beef to choose focusing on you, then use roast beef.
 

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Freeze-dried shrimp or fish (Usually sold as cat treats, but they're single ingredient and fine for dogs also.)

Freeze-dried or semi-moist food, like Nature's Instinct, Ziwipeak, or Wellness Air-dried. (The benefit of using something that is already a food is you can replaced significant portions of her normal diet with training "treats" without worrying about her diet becoming unbalanced).

Also, if you're using kibble you can simply reduce or use her meals for training.
 

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Hot dogs are always a go-to for us, the cheese filled ones, lol, and we always seem to have extra of that, so it never goes to waste. Deli meat is a good one, too.
 

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Nikko loves hot dogs as well for a treat. You can slice them in half and then dice into many small pieces. Also part skim cheese string which can also be cut into many small pieces.
 

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Leftover dry pork chop is great. Cook up a chicken breast, it will even shred like string cheese and it is less greasy. If you stick to lean meats and subtract treat calories from the evening meal you are good to go.

A classic is to simply measure out her daily ration and rather than give her meals use them for training throughout the day. My dogs got sort of flat doing that. They seemed need a little food they didn't work for, perhaps some could go into a food puzzle a couple times a day?
 

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We use a cheap food dehydrator to make our own. You can get a ton of jerky out of a pack of chicken breasts or chuck steak. Our dogs love the stuff. Can also do sweet potatoes etc.
 
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