Monday, December 19, 2022

Holiday Treats

Making holiday treats can be a low cost way to get some high value rewards to help you with Creating a Calm Christmas! Last year I created a blog on the Sweet Sardine Surprise and this year my holiday treat is Luscious Beef Liver Snacks! 

Liver snacks are a simple 4 ingredient recipe that only takes a few minutes to put together. Let's face it, when it comes to cooking I want simple and quick. But with the recipe the blender or food processor does all the work. Simply mix ingredients spoon into molds and bake. Cam and Azul absolutely love these and Maverick gave them the 2 Paws Up rating today too! Here is the recipe:

Beef Liver Snacks


  1. 1 Package of fresh/frozen beef liver.

  2. 1 Can of Peas

  3. 1 Can of Carrots

  4. ¼ Cup of Mashed Potato Flakes


  • Put liver in a blender first.

  • Drain peas & carrots and add to the liver.

  • Slowly stir in potato flakes to thicken to the consistency of brownie mix.

  • Spray silicone baking molds and place on cookie sheet.

  • Pour mixture into molds.


  • Bake at 350 degrees for 18-24 minutes depending on the size of the mold. Larger molds such as meatloaf molds, might take longer.

For more great recipes, check out the
Crazy2Calm Canine Coaches: Working Paws Holiday Cookbook

PDF Version

Using Homemade Holiday Treats to Create a Calm Christmas

Extra tasty treats come in handy for a wide variety of reasons during the holidays. We can use treats to desensitize to new and potentially scary items, people, or other things that are not normally found in your home. Let's face it, our dogs probably think we are nuts for putting a tree up in our living room and inviting a crowd of people over to look at it. All kidding aside, keeping a high value reward handy for these times of mild stress can be super helpful to create positive associates with these "new" distractions. Check out the post on Helping Fearful Dogs with DS/CC to learn more about desensitization & counter conditioning.

If you've worked with a dog trainer or Canine Coach previously, you've probably heard about training FOR the moment not IN the moment, meaning train skills before you actually need them. But you were busy prepping for the holiday and totally forgot to include your dog in the planning stages. Now the holidays are upon us and you need to teach a certain skill such as mat/station training right now! But you don't have much time to do it. Pairing that training that your forgot or have not practiced in a really long time with a high value reward can help your dog learn really quick. While you can't expect miracles such as your dog going from dragging you down the sidewalk to a perfect heel in just a day, you can teach your dog to lay calmly by your feet while you eat dinner if you have something tasty to reinforce with. Since most people do not want to feed their dog from the table, having a homemade dog treat can be a great alternative! This way you can be sure your pup is eating only dog safe ingredients that smell and taste like people food. The best thing about that is you can make these treats up a few days in advance and have them at the ready when everyone sits down to the table.

Another great way to use holiday treats is to help your dog eat meals while you are traveling. We all have made a trip with our dogs and realized after we got there that they were either too nervous or too distracted to eat their meals at the normal time. While this bothers some dogs more than others, no one wants to spend the holidays worrying about when/if their dog will eat in a new environment. If we have not planned for this, we can scramble to find a human food that our dog WILL eat no matter what. This often leads to running through a drive thru for a cheeseburger or something to get the dog their favorite snack or worse, giving our dogs something unhealthy that might upset their stomach. Preparing some homemade treats with a few simple ingredients can be just the trick to ensure your dog can eat healthy when you are in a new/unusual environment. Check out the Holiday Cookbook above some great dinner recipes that can be put on a lickmat and frozen for meals on the go as well.

The pictures in this blog show Azul eating some holiday treasures using a few enrichment based toys to help use up some mental energy during a bad weather day. He has a puzzle toy that spins to reveal the treats and some things from my recycling stacked together to give Azul a chance to sniff out the treats. I have a recycled drink carrier from a fast food place, lids from disposable coffee cups, and plastic solo cups that all stacked together with various healthy snacks hidden around the items.

Take note of the blanket in this picture! This is the homemade Christmas present I made for Azul this year. He is always loving my blanket with the knot fringes and often steals it when we go out of town. This year I decided to make him this mat/blanket that is just his size making it small enough to carry with us. I gave it to him early because he doesn't tend to like things that smell "new" and I wanted him to be used to this mat before we take it out of town for the holidays.

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