Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Training News: I'm a Dog Food Hypocrite

So last night (yes, on Valentine's Day) was Week Seven of Dewi's and my basic obedience class.  (As you might recall from last week, we had a little set-back in the leash pulling department, which caused me to suffer a bit of leash burn.)  K, so anyway, yesterday was really busy for me with my kids (at school and otherwise) so I got to devote exactly *zero* time to practice with Dewi and not only that, my hopes of finding him yet *another* high-value treat (besides Slim Jim) were seemingly dashed. 

[brief pause for background story]

Just so you know, my dogs eat "healthier" than my children, my husband and I do.  I buy their food at a pet food "boutique" and go to great lengths to ensure that they don't ingest anything but high-quality, natural stuff (food and treats).  (Yeah, I know - Slim Jim is hardly a "quality" food, but surprisingly (aside from the sodium content), is natural and high in protein.)


Yes, I (*ahem* he) did eat it.
Okay, where was I?  Oh yeah, so last night in my rush to get Dewi and me out the door on time to make it to class, in what might have been a gigantic lapse in judgement, I steered the car a half-mile out of the way to the "Golden Arches" and ordered up a training treat for Dewi that some health-conscious moms (the likes of whom would *not* include me) won't even purchase for their own kids - a cheeseburger. (Truth be fully disclosed - I ordered a #4 (two-cheeseburger) combo with a diet coke and asked for one cheeseburger "plain.")  So then I ran into class dragging Dewi past the happy GoldenDoodle, plopped the wrapped cheeseburger down on a bench and proceeded to get settled.  "Is that your dinner??" I heard a trainer chuckle from behind me.  "No, it's his," I replied, a little embarrassingly, adding "I was desperate."  "Bwahhh!" she let out, then proceeded to repeat the whole story to the trainer next to her. (Must be I'm the only person to ever bring a wrapped McDonald's cheeseburger as a training treat.)

So yep, for the entire class, Dewi got nothing but torn pieces of cheeseburger.  My hands were a greasy, cheesy mess.  He loved it.  He still, however, pulled on leash to get to the other dogs.  [sigh]

Now, I know there are many worse things in the world than a McD's cheeseburger that I could feed to my dog.  It's just that I'm such a weenie!  I'm supposed to be the responsible pet owner!  Sheesh, I purchased a cheeseburger in the drive-thru for my DOG!  Is there redemption?


  1. This is my all-time favorite training treat. Bowser's Best Buffalo Bites (http://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=product.display&Product_ID=523&ParentCat=284). Inexpensive, don't need to be refrigerated, soft enough to easily break into pieces, stinky enough to get the dog's attention and not greasy. If you ONLY use them for training they should be pretty high value and they are basically pretty healthy too. I only use stuff like pork sausage and steak for the breed ring. This is what I use for just about everything else training-related.

  2. Well, I have been giving Magic cheeseburgers as a reward his whole life. Its his favorite. You can even hear me remind him about his cheeseburger in the weight pulling video. Personally I dont think a cheeseburger occasionally is going to be a problem. If he enjoys it and will earn it, why not.

  3. I am a food snob too when it comes to my dogs. I could probably pay off my mortgage with the small fortune I've spent on high-end food and supplements over the years. Most of the time I do try to use all natural training treats, but sweet junk food really catches Jimmy's interest. We have trouble with the table in agility, so the rewards have to be over the top for that one obstacle. Last week I used the popcorn out of a bag of Harry and David's Moose Munch! It's covered in caramel and suger and pumpkin seeds! His eyes about popped out of his head when he tasted it! On other occasions I have used Capt. Crunch cereal. It's all aboout being high value!

  4. Thanks, all; I feel somewhat less weenie-ish. I'm mostly just flustered w/training and irritated that I wasted a CHEESEBURGER (Dawn, yes, the mac daddy best thing I could think of) on a basic class (and he still wouldn't heel). It's just a learning curve.
    RDM - The buffalo bites look like they'd work for most everything. Thanks for the link!
    Taryn - JF would work for cereal for sure - he loves blueberry mini wheats. :) Not stinky enough for Dewi though.

  5. I tend to go for Wendy's triple burgers, dry. One patty for me, one for Radar, one for Dixie.

    When Dixie arrived at Sea-Tac airport from Atlanta, I wanted to quickly impress on her that we were good people, and Wendy's helped make it so. She got the whole triple, no bun, at a nearby park before we drove home.

    Ron in Vancouver, BC

  6. Ron, I'd be your best friend for a triple. :)


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