Puppy Goes Zoom

Dogs, cats, randomness–my adventures in pet ownership and fostering

Write a Post – Help a Dog

on June 23, 2012

BlogPaws, sponsored by Pedigree, is doing a “Write a Post – Help a Dog” blogaround. Each post on the list gets a 17-pound bag of food donated to a shelter. My medium-sized dogs (each in the 50-lb neighborhood) each eat 2 cups of food a day, so that bag would feed them for a week and a half.

Debbie at Fearfuldogs has an excellent post up about reward-based training and people’s reluctance to use food rewards.

So, on the topic of training with food, I wanted to talk about my preferences for training treats. Diamond is a picky little eater, and she’s not interested in working for kibble, or for a lot of dog treats. So, I tend to go for the good stuff. Bravo makes freeze dried treats that work pretty well, and she’s definitely a fan of DogNation’s refrigerated sausage treats.

For walks, I like the shelf-stable treats better than the fridge ones, because I’m likely to forget I have a pocketful of treats and find them two days later when I do laundry. But for an obedience class, where there’s a bunch of distractions, the DogNation treats are fantastic.  There are also a few other random brands of treats I use.  I try for a variety, both to keep her interested and to keep her diet varied.

When I buy treats, I look for Made in the USA. (After all the recent scares, I won’t buy food items for myself or my pets that come from China. Other countries are on a case-by-case basis, but China is right out.) I also look for all natural and grain free. I do get cookies and biscuits (which obviously have grain), but those are less useful for training because you have to break them up, and they take longer for the dog to finish than a chewy treat. However, I like to break up several cookies, wrap them in a dishtowel, knot it loosely, and give it to her to unwrap before leaving for work for the day. In that situation, something that takes her longer to finish is exactly what I want, since the whole point is to keep her entertained while she’s left alone.

For training, I usually go for the treats that are specifically marked as “training treats” because they tend to be little bites. Especially on a walk, I don’t want anything that she has to chew or focus on for more than a second.

Reba is not nearly so picky, and will work for whatever food you offer. Meat, biscuits, kibble, it’s all good.  Unlike picky little Miss Diamond, Reba has the opposite problem where she tries to eat anything and everything. I once put down a no-bake cookie in her vicinity. She didn’t so much eat it as cause it to suffer a spontaneous existence failure.  I didn’t see her move, I didn’t hear a thing, but suddenly there was no cookie there and I was consulting the label, Google, and the vet’s office trying to figure out how much chocolate is toxic for a dog her size. The answer is “more than one cookie” fortunately, and she was fine.

This post is part of the BlogPaws “Write a post, help a dog” blogaround,” sponsored by Pedigree.  (I’m not compensated in any way by Pedigree for writing this post, or, for that matter, by the makers of any of the treats mentioned above.)

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2 responses to “Write a Post – Help a Dog

  1. fearfuldogs says:

    Those sausage treats sound great. I like the food logs made by Red Barn or Natural Balance. They cut up nicely and don’t go bad quickly, just dry out a bit, which makes them less crumbly. I like filling food tubes with interesting blends of mush too.

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