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Tips & Tricks

Trick or Treat Trader™: Dog Treat Recipes, Games, and Ideas

Happy Howl-o-ween! This spooky season, we’ve got you covered with dog treat ideas and recipes from our Ruffwear team. And keep that tail wagging - check out our treat-inspired ways to play and connect with your dog. Load up your pockets (or your Treat Trader™ Bag or Home Trail™ Hip Pack), round up your canine sidekick, and let the Pavlovian games begin.

Kate, Millie, & Dixie

Kate's dogs, Millie and Dixie, get excited about eating their favorite treats!

What is your dog's favorite treat?

My pups, Millie (right) and Dixie (left), go crazy for Stella and Chewy’s Meal Mixers. Any flavor is great with them. These bite-sized morsels are designed to mix with food, but they are the perfect treats for my girls.

What do you use the Treat Trader Bag for?

I always have the Treat Trader Bag filled with Meal Mixers any time we go out for a walk. When the Treat Trader is on my hip, Millie and Dixie know that when they obey my command a delicious reward magically appears from the bag!

Which treat-related games do you like to play?

Millie is so treat motivated that sometimes I’ll exercise her in my house by tossing a treat down the hallway so that she sprints after it. She’s exhausted after so many sprints but she’d run a marathon for these treats!

Susan & Artie

Susan's dog, Artie, eats an apple core.

What is your dog's favorite treat?

Artie goes wild for apple cores. I've created a monster as any time I eat an apple (or slice one up), he stares at me until I'm done and I deliver the core to him.

Pro Tip: Remove seeds before sharing this treat.

Ren & Sky

Ren's dog, Sky, enjoys a slice of banana.

What is your dog's favorite treat?

Sky loves bananas, especially ones dipped in peanut butter, but goat cheese is the ultimate treat at the moment.

Which treat-related games do you like to play?

We play "find it." I show Sky a treat, let him sniff it, then have him sit and stay. Then, we walk all over the house to keep him guessing. At some point, we hide the treat. He has to stay until we say "find it" - then he can sniff around for the treat, find it, and eat it.

Rachel & Nova

Rachel plays a game on the beach with her dog, Nova.

What is your favorite homemade dog treat recipe?

My approach to homemade treats is admittedly centered around a "what can we both enjoy together so I only have to do this once?" mentality. My most common homemade "treat" is actually smoothies!

We both enjoy a blueberry almond butter smoothie the most - Nova heads to the kitchen as soon as the almond butter lid comes off, and waits by her bowl for her pour from the blender.

What is your dog's favorite treat?

Aside from her obsession with almond butter, Nova gets pretty stoked whenever she gets a frozen, raw sardine - that's right, a whole fish! It smells just as bad as it sounds, but her enjoyment makes it worth holding your breath for a few moments.

What do you use the Treat Trader Bag for?

We use our Treat Trader in situations that may be highly stimulating. Nova can be uncertain of new people and dogs, so having rewards at a moment's notice helps build her confidence.

We had it with us every day when we worked in the office together - you just never knew when a new challenge would present itself. We actually used it last summer as well to prep for the Canine Good Citizen test (and yes, she passed on her FIRST try)!

While you are not allowed to use treats during the assessment, they were vital in getting us to the big day.

Which treat-related games do you like to play?

We do lots of "touch" - she hardly even needs the treat anymore, she just loves to jump and give a nose high-five!

Cayla, Tully, & Sitka

Cayla's dogs, Tully and Sitka, are on a hike.

What is your dog's favorite treat?

These are our favorite dog treats to make and our favorite dog treats to buy.

What do you use the Home Trail Hip Pack for?

We use it for on and off-leash training! It is amazing for practicing heel on and off-leash.

Which treat-related games do you like to play?

We love to play heel chase, which basically means running around the house holding a solid heel. We also love to play Hide-and-Seek - it is pretty ridiculous.

Also, the recall game was great for us when Tully was younger, which is where you find an open space and call her back and forth from different areas.

Cristina & Lennon

Cristina's dog, Lennon, eats a delicious peanut butter sandwich!

What is your dog's favorite treat?

Any time I have a banana, Lennon has a legal and binding contract that gives her the rights to all "banana butts." On the trail, I always have a Treat Trader on me that is filled with treats for her (rotating flavors and textures to keep things exciting), but she has a 100% success rate when bargaining for some portion of my peanut butter sandwiches.

What do you use the Treat Trader Bag for?

The Treat Trader is Lennon's favorite piece of gear, paws down. It was the first thing I picked up when Lennon entered my life. What began as a tool for rewarding "good behavior" ended up becoming more of a way for the two of us to bond and communicate. She loves learning new skills and is eager to give it her best shot. When learning sessions turn into a game or even a puzzle for her to figure out, she lights up! Treats are also confidence boosters for Lennon.

Sometimes she gets spooked or hesitant about a situation, and I've found that if we pause and run through a few of her favorite tricks with some quick treats, she regains her confidence and bounces back to her usual tail-wagging self.

Which treat-related games do you like to play?

We've been playing Hide-and-Seek out on the trail lately! It's been helping boost her recall skills. We'll be out on a hike or a run, and I'll hide behind a tree or bush. I started by calling her name and then she'd get a treat when she found me.

She picked up on "the game" pretty quickly, so next step was hiding and waiting for her to come find me on her own without calling her. Now, she checks in with me more frequently on the trail - and she does it so enthusiastically. I'll also hide treats in her Gnawt-a-Cone™ around the house and play a couple rounds of "Find it!"

Erin, Odin, & Wrigley

Erin's dog, Wrigley, licks peanut butter off a spoon.

What is your dog's favorite treat?

Odin and Wrigley go wild for peanut butter, pumpkin, and turkey (not all at once - although I’m sure a combination wouldn’t stop them!). Whenever we bring these foods out for ourselves, they stare expectantly at us. There’s no way we can eat those without them!

This season, I plan to surprise them by making this Dog Pumpkin Pie Recipe. We’re also inspired by these DIY Dog Treat Recipes.

Which treat-related games do you like to play?

Odin especially loves to play Hide-and-Seek. I’ll wear my Treat Trader Bag on my hip, instruct Odin to wait, and hide somewhere in the house. Then, my husband will say “Go find Erin!” and Odin will run around the house sniffing until he finds me. When he does, I reward him with a treat.

I think I enjoy playing Hide-and-Seek again just as much as he does.

Trick or Treat!

Now, go grab yourself a human-worthy treat. Mini Snickers bar, anyone? Be sure to share your pup’s favorite treats, recipes, and games in the comments.