Who hasn't admired a dog gazing keenly at the owner,
poised in a perfectly balanced stance, ready to do whatever he's asked
to do? How do those handlers get their dogs to look like that?
The answer, of course, is training, but training with a powerful motivator--food.
is for dogs what paychecks are for people, so bait or treats can be
a great aide to training and showing. (Remember though that you may
not carry food into performance event rings). You can use anything
the dog likes to eat, but varying the fare somewhat will help keep his
interest piqued. In the ring itself or when you have long training
sessions, a special something can overcome stress or revive flagging
interest. Among the most special-somethings are recipes with liver.
The ones here will have your dog begging for more!
You can use all kinds of things as treats. If weight
is a concern, try using cereal like Cheerios or cheese popcorn. To liven
up bland cereals, try putting them in a container and shaving tiny pieces
of cooked liver and/or garlic in with them. They'll absorb the
smell and taste and take on a whole new dimension of appeal.
You can use lots of variations in these recipes but please
do not add onions as some dogs can have a severe reaction to them.
Garlic, on the other hand, is just fine. In fact, most dogs feel
the more, the better. If you are bothered by the smell, try using
the special garlic juices which have had the smelly chemical removed.
And, if you want to get fancy, a number of places have dog-related cookie
cutters. I ordered some of mine from the web; just run a search.
Liver Recipe #1
Liver--This can be any kind, chicken, turkey, calf, beef.
Whatever you can find and your dog likes. Drain and rinse it before
1-2 tbs. Garlic Powder.
Put liver in a saucepan or Dutch oven and cover well
with water. Add garlic powder and bring water to roiling boil. Reduce
heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until liver is cooked throughout.
Remove from pan and dry on paper towels before packaging. Can be frozen
for about 3 mo. Will keep in refrigerator for 2-3 days.
To freeze all liver--put individual pieces on a cookie
sheet and place in freezer until it is hard. Then remove and place in
a container. If you put all the liver pieces in a container and then
freeze them, some pieces will stick together. This way, you can get
out a few pieces at a time.
To thaw, put in the microwave for about 1 min., depending
on the power of your unit. If you're going to a show, put in cooler
and place in your pocket about 30 minutes before showing. It will thaw
Liver Recipe #2
If boiled liver is too crumbly, after draining and patting
dry, slice into even pieces and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in oven
on 350 deg. for about 20 minutes, until liver is dry but not burned.
This also can be frozen for about 4-6 mo. and will keep in the refrigerator
for a few days.
Liver Recipe #3
Freeze-dried liver will keep longer frozen and will even
keep unfrozen for a couple of days. Some freezers have flash-freeze
units, which are ideal for this. If you don't have one but have a self-defrosting
freezer, you can leave the liver on a cookie sheet in the freezer for
several days. As the freezer goes through its defrost cycle, it will
desiccate the liver. The thinner the slices, the faster and more thoroughly
it dries. As the moisture is removed, it changes color. When it has
dried almost completely, you can package it in a suitable container.
Eric and Nancy Liebes sent this great recipe to me. Its
frequently requested on Showdogs-L email list and reminds me of the
liver my handler friend's client used to send with her small dog. She
insisted the dog wouldn't bait for anything else. Like the Beef Jerky
farther down this page, this liver simmered in a wine sauce was so good,
we used to eat it for dinner. Actually, the dog would eat anything,
and baited fine for regular liver, but no one every told the client!
Our Famous Bourbon
Garlic Liver Recipe
1 lb. Liver (calf, beef, or chicken)
2 oz. Bourbon (dog variety - less than $10/qt.)
1 tsp. Garlic powder (or more to taste)
2 qt. Saucepan
Foil covered cookie sheet
Rinse liver and place in pan, cover with water and sprinkle
Slosh in bourbon and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 15 minutes
and then turn off heat.
Let stand for 20 min. to infuse liver with maximum bourbon flavor.
Remove liver, drain, and place on foil lined sheet. Place in 200 deg.
oven for 30 min.
Turn and leave in 10 min. more or until dry enough to put in pocket.
Remove and let cool
Do not carbonize
Sell-Their-Soul Liver Cookies
Akitas sometimes have trouble chewing rubbery bait. I
hate waiting for them to finish it. As a change, I make liver cookies.
This recipe has several variations you can try. If you ever watched
Saturday Night Live when John Belushi was on it, though, I defy you
to do this and not flashback to his Bassamatic commercials!
1 lb. raw liver--chopped into smaller chunks
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup flour (white, unbleached, or whole wheat)
1/4-1/2 cup water
1-2 tbs. garlic powder (or garlic bud)
1-2 eggs (this will make a more cake-like texture)
1/2 cup peanut butter (increase water to 1/2 cup, and will make an oily
cookie, so watch your clothes, they could get grease stains!)
Line a jellyroll pan (big cooking sheet with small sides)
with aluminum foil. Spray with Pam.
Using either a blender or a food processor, add liver
and blend until liquefied. Then add remaining ingredients, moist ones
first, blending as you add. The entire mixture should be the consistency
of cement although if you add eggs, it will be thinner. Spoon mixture
out into pan and spread as evenly as you can.
Bake for 30-45 minutes at 350 deg. Is done when a toothpick
inserted comes out clean. Test several places because the mixture is
so thick, it's hard to spread evenly.
Remove from oven and cut in small squares. Cool and peel
foil off the back. Separate pieces and put in freezer on a cookie sheet
until hard. Then freeze. These will keep for several days in a cooler
or even in a very cool room or show site. Thaws in the microwave
in just a few seconds.
Liver Cookie Variation #1
l lb liver
l lb flour (may be whole wheat)
2 beaten eggs
1 tbs. garlic powder Preparation
Put liver in blender or food processor and pulse until
liquefied. Add remaining ingredients and blend well. Pour into microwave
container and cook on high for 20 min. Slice into squares immediately,
and remove. Package.
Received from Janet from West York, England, on Click-train L.
Liver Cookie Variation #2
l lb. liver of any sort
Any kind of spices your dog likes
1 pkg Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
Preheat over to 375 degrees
Grind up liver in blender or food processor. Add
garlic & spices to your heart's content. Add corn muffin mix
and blend. Pour into baking pan to a depth of 1/4-1/2 inch.
Bake at 375 until just the very middle is still red, then turn off the
oven and let the center cook.
Slice and put into baggies. Much cheaper than Oinker
rolls or Rollover and dogs love it. Can be frozen.
-from Amy Blankenship on ClickTrain
Liver Cookie Variation
1 lb liver (chicken is easier to puree)
1 packet Dry Onion or Beefy Onion Soup
1 tsp Garlic Powder
3 Cups Oatmeal
Garlic Salt (optional)
Puree liver in blender or food processor. Mix in eggs,
dry soup and crushed
garlic. When mixed, add oatmeal and mix well. On a well-greased cookie
sheet, spread mixture evenly to the thickness of a brownie. Bake at
degrees for 1 hour. Remove from oven and sprinkle with garlic salt.
immediately and freeze in plastic bags. Thaw as needed.
"My dogs go bonkers over it. I use chicken livers,
they are easier to puree IMO. And you can go without the onion soup
mix, just add a little more oatmeal."
--Chris Larson in Appleton, WI on Show Dogs
Snuffys Magic Liver Cookies
1 lb raw liver
¾ c. grated cheese (I use the Taco Mix cheese already shredded
½ c. pureed carrots
4 Tbsp. Butter melted
4 cloves of garlic
¾ c. finely crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/3 c. flour (I use rye)
½ c. (or more) of corn meal
2 Tbsp. Brewers yeast
Put liver and one egg in a blender or food processor
puree until liquid.
Place carrots, the other egg, the melted butter and the garlic in the
blender and blend until smooth.
Add the carrot mixture to the liver mixture. Add cheese, graham crackers,
and flour and mix together. Add corn meal and mix consistency
will be very thick just like wet
Spread on a lightly greased piece of tin foil on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Let cool completely and then cut up into cookies.
These will keep for several weeks in the fridge and freeze
Note: You can substitute different kinds of flour, add
more veggies, and otherwise substitute anything you want. Just keep
adding corn meal until the mixture becomes thick, like cement. The dogs
-from Eric & Nancy Liebes on Showdogs-L
1 Cup White flour
1 Cup Whole Wheat flour
1/2 Cup Wheat germ
1/2 tsp. Brewer's yeast
1/2 Cup Dry milk [low-fat]
sp. Chilled bacon fat [or Crisco]
1 Egg [beaten]
1/2 Cup Water
Greased cookie sheet
Preheat oven to 325.
Add dry ingredients to a bowl, then cut in the fat as
you would pie crust. (You can do this in a food processor too--blend
until it forms little pieces.
Then, add egg and enough water to make a stiff dough
(in a processor, this will form a large ball)
Turn out on level, floured surface and knead 2-3 mins.
Then roll out dough to 1/2 inch.
Cut with dog-bone shape cookie cutter or shape by hand
Bake at 325 degrees for 25 mins.(til golden) on greased
Store in an airtight tin. Will keep up to 3 wks. IF they
last that long. They will freeze but may soften when thawed.
from Ginny Dunbar on Click/Train List
Stuffed Bones (Kongs)
Bone section that is hollow and not longer than the dog's
tongue (femur section works well) or
Kong-type toy (this is the brand name of a hollow rubber toy, any type
Filling--anything the dog likes to eat that is pliable but solid.
Fill the hollow section of the bone or kong-type toy
with a filling or combination of fillings and give to the dog.
Great for dogs that are alone and confined. Good fillings are
doggy ice cream, peanut butter, cream cheese, cheese, softened kibble,
frozen Billjack dog food.
If you have any kind of leftover meat from a meal like
bacon bits or just a few pieces of steak or roast, you can mix these
in with the filling so it's like a hidden treat!
When the dogs have finished, just pop the bone or kong
in your dishwasher for a good cleaning and then restuff it. I
often buy those dreadful stuffed bones at the store and then refill
You're in the ring and have a piece of bait in your
hand. Suddenly, you notice that you need to restack your dog's foot.
What to do with the bait? Well, I'm one of the world's weirdos who actually
likes liver, and I used to put it in my mouth for those few seconds
it took for me to fix something. That is until I bought a show vendor's
liver that was rancid. Fortunately, I didn't actually get sick in the
ring, but it was a close call. Never felt quite the same about liver
at a dog show. This recipe is something that you won't even mind eating.
In fact, you'll probably have to watch that you don't snack up all your
3 lbs of thinly sliced beef--best choices are London
broil, sirloin tip roast, or sirloin steak cuts. These should be cut
in strips about 1" wide and 1/4" thick. To facilitate cutting, put meant
in the freezer until it is stiff but not frozen. You will end up with
about 20-25 strips.
2/3 cup of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. black pepper
2/3 cup Soy sauce
1 tsp. garlic powder (not salt)
1 tsp. onion powder (not salt)
1 tbs. salt
1 tbs. liquid smoke (If you use a smoker instead of drying it in the
oven, don't use this--overkill)
2-3 tsp Tabasco sauce or 1-2 tsp crushed red peppers (this is for a
Put all ingredients in a large zip-lock bag and place
in a bowl in the refrigerator overnight (bowl is in case the zip-lock
leaks). You can also put all ingredients in a large, covered glass bowl
and marinate over night. Next day, clean the top oven rack and take
out only as much meat as the rack will accommodate (for most ovens,
this is about 10 pieces). Put a cookie sheet or foil on the bottom rack
to keep your oven from getting too messy. Set your oven on its lowest
setting and crack the door so the moisture will escape and leave on
until the pieces are dried. Smaller pieces will take about 2-1/3 to
3 hours, while larger ones may take 4 or 5.
If you use a smoker, mesquite, pecan, or hickory wood
work very well but don't use water. While you want to smoke them, you
also want the beef to dry. Or you can drag out that food dehydrator
you got for Christmas two years ago that's been sitting in a back closet.
Received from Geof Thompson on Akita L
32 oz tub of plain yogurt
2 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp honey
1 six to eight oz jar of baby fruit or one banana, mashed up
Blend it all together, freeze it in either paper cups or ice cube trays,
stick it in the freezer. Give it to them frozen or soften in the
microwave for a few seconds before serving.
bone and bowl rule courtesy of Fuzzy Faces