Monday, April 25, 2011

Training Treats: where the hot dog is (was) king

Elka loves people food. Dogs in general, I think, love people food. 

When we go for a walk, I typically have a previously pictured baggie of cut-up hot dog pieces.  Depending on what else is in the fridge, I'll dice a string cheese stick, leftover roast, pepperoni, or cheddar (we always have cheddar).

You can find a lot of web sites where people generously share their own personal, at-home dog treat recipes (Dog Aware is one of them).  I have yet to Susie Homemaker bake my own treats for Elka, though I have occasionally cooked for her.  Or at least sauteed liver that one time. Such web sites certainly recommend drawing and quartering your hot dogs, and then microwaving them for a few minutes.  I'm not against nuking hot dogs, I'm just typically lazy and chop 'em up and figure I'm good to go.  When the Doberman is ready for the walk, you want to get out there as soon as possible.  I did mention the whining.  I may have left out the staring.
So, we go out the door for our walk, treats in hand, leash loose, clicker in the leash hand. 

An interesting thing has happened lately, though.  Partway through the walk, Elka decides that she doesn't want those hot dog pieces any longer.  She'll look to me when I click for a behavior, receive the treat, and then drop it on the sidewalk as we keep on walking.  She isn't all ramped up and over threshold.  There isn't other and better food present that she might be coveting.  She just kind of goes "yup, that's some hot dog", opens her mouth, and lets it fall.  She'll still eat the cheese, mind you.

So, the hot dog needs to improve, or go away.  I'll be microwaving tomorrow's offering for the princess in the hopes that the hot dogs I've already paid for won't go to waste.  Who knew a food-crazy dog would get tired of hot dogs?

It is interesting to note that even though Elka will essentially refuse treats after a certain point on a walk, her good New and Improved leash behavior remains. She isn't heeling, necessarily, but the leash is loose and she isn't pulling me.  She is still giving me good attention.  The behaviors aren't as polished when she is excited (or at the very least vaguely interested) in the treats I have, and that's why I'm troubling myself to cater to her palate. The behaviors aren't fluent yet, and so it isn't time to fade the rewards. 

I just wonder if using the bone-shaped cookie cutter is in my near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment