As you’ve read, string cheese is the high-value training treat of choice around here, used to help Leo overcome his fear of bicycles and other fast-moving objects. With a reward-based counter-conditioning program, you’re supposed to use a treat that is special to that training, and it’s supposed to be extremely high value.
At first, I tried to stick to an ancestral diet by using cooked liver, which is odorific in preparation and leaves residue on the hands during training. For a variety of reasons, string cheese works best.
When we play nose work games in the garage, I’ve been using Zuke’s because they are very fragrant and easier to handle than cooked liver. They remind me of the Train-Me treats I described in Bark and Lunge:
These treats, about the size of a pencil eraser . . . tantalized me with their aroma. I gave up eating meat almost ten years earlier, but I loved sticking my nose in a freshly opened bag of bacon-flavored Train-Mes.
A general purpose treat around here, for example, to give the pups when they come back inside from the yard, is Merrick’s Texas Hold ‘Em dehydrated lamb lung. (Some of my dog-bloggy buddies recently were given some of Merrick’s BackCounty ancestral food to review. Hey, Merrick, put me on that list!) The dehydrated lung was recommended to us by an observer to a training class, who called it Doggie Crack.
Here you see the Mia and Leo tweaking out over it. (As I took these shots, I thought of all my dog-bloggy friends who do a really good job taking pics of their dogs for product reviews, and felt like inviting one of them over… or asking to go to their house, where I imagine the natural light is fantastic and the floors are perfectly clean.)
Something that was kind of fun for Easter, we did a little egg hunt with dollar-store plastic eggs and Zuke’s mini treats. Here’s a re-enactment.
For the A to Z Challenge, I’m using all positive language in my posts. Read the story of how positive training helped my reactive dog Isis in my book, Bark and Lunge!
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