Lorrie’s Agility Dog Blog

Musings on Dogs, Agility, and Being an Instructor

Tip Of The Day – Feeding Before Trials Or Classes

There are many varying opinions on whether to feed or not before trials or classes.  Dogs are individuals and the decision should be made based on the dog, not the “conventional wisdom”.  My preference is to feed my dogs half of their normal ration.  That way they have some “fuel on board” but they aren’t running on a full stomach and are still motivated by food.  The other reason I do this is because there are some dogs that become SO focused on food when they are hungry, training sessions become unproductive.

May 7, 2009 Posted by | Agility, Agility Trial, Training | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


My students hate me.  Any time they are having trouble motivating their dogs or keeping their attention, I pull out the big guns – home made liver treats!  The problem is that as soon as their dogs know I have them, they become my dogs :-).  Actually, I get them out and let my students use them, after they see how much better their dogs perform for something special.  They have been so popular that I have shared the recipe with all of my students and friends. It seemed like a good subject for a post!

These treats are something you can feed your dog and know they are not unhealthy like the “doggie junk food” you buy at the store. The other nice thing about these treats is the consistency. I experimented with the recipe until I got something that was soft but not crumbly or gooey. The secret, I think, is the gelatin.

Liver Treats

  • 2 lb. chicken livers, drained & put through the food processor until soupy (yuck!)
  • 3 eggs
  • ~1/4 cup salmon oil or similar supplemental oil
  • 2 pkg. unflavored gelatin
  • 24 oz. (3 cups) brown rice flour
  • Optional – ¼ c Parmesan cheese
  • Optional – 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • Optional – ~3 Tbsp. liquid glucosamine (not necessary – just a nice added ingredient)

Beat the liver, eggs, oil, glucosamine, and gelatin until thoroughly combined.  Slowly add the rice flour (and garlic or parmesan).  The mixture should look kind of like thick cake batter.  Pour into two well-greased (or parchment paper-lined) 9X11 pans.  The mixture will be about 1/2” – 3/4“ thick.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.  It should have a spongy texture and bounce back if you press on it.  Let it cool for a few minutes, then turn out onto a cutting board and cut into 1/4″ cubes with a pizza cutter.  Let cool before packing into plastic bags. 

I use either Bob’s Red Mill rice flour (you can get it at the grocery store) or I use stuff from whole foods.  They sell it in bulk and also near the regular flour. 

I always freeze the treats I make because by the time we get to class, they have started to thaw, and the dogs like them either way.  I don’t know how long these would keep in the fridge, but I’m guessing they would be fine for a few days.

Enjoy! (Or rather, let your dogs enjoy!).

April 28, 2009 Posted by | Agility, Teaching Agility, Training | , , , , , | Leave a comment