Every morsel of food that goes in Mr. N’s mouth is earned*. No freebies for being cute. Unless we’re working on a new trick, it’s usually a couple of tricks before he gets a treat. Sit. Down. Roll over. Dance. High five. Back. Spin.
He waits in either a sit or down stay for his meals for at least a minute. I’ll do quick errands in the meantime like unloading the dishwasher or doing a load of laundry. He is expected to hold the position even when I am out of sight.
Working for food provides mental stimulation for Mr. N and helps us regulate his food intake. I usually have a prescribed amount of treats and we train until the treats run out. Sometimes I’ll use part of his meal to train with if I think he has had too many calories for the day.
People (usually men) who watch me giving a treat to Mr. N will ask is that all you’re giving him? Why yes. If I gave him “normal”-sized treats, he would be waddling instead of walking. I usually have to cut up the treats or tear them to the right size. They usually end up about half the size of a pencil eraser or smaller.
It’s about quantity over quality. Dogs would rather have more small treats than a few big ones.
*Except for the food that he finds on the street. I have pried bacon from his mouth. He was not a happy pup. Who throws away bacon on the sidewalk?
|What do you mean I can’t eat all of these?|