This past Saturday was Kip’s first Dog Manner’s class. The first official class was only for humans so for Kip it was his first class. Last week we were taught how different treats hold different value. For example, if I’m at home in a quiet room with no distractions, I should use kibble as a treat. If I’m in a quiet area with little distractions I should give him a treat with low value. The greater the distractions, the greater value the treat should hold.
This week we were told to bring a cup of high value treats. At first I wondered how much money I was going to have to spend if I was going to be using a cup full of treats for each class. I was relieved to learn that we’re supposed to keep the treats very small and I wouldn’t be using an entire bag of treats for each class.
This is the treat that I had originally been using. It’s very soft and chewy so I just used my nails to break it up into fourths. There were two reasons for this. One reason was because treat’s aren’t exactly cheap if you think how many you need while you train. The other reason is so that he wouldn’t get too full.
Well it seem’s I was thinking in the right direction but wasn’t quite there. I learned that it’s important to use soft and chewy treats not crunchy treats so that the focus is on the training and not eating. The size of the treat needed to be smaller though.
The brilliant trick my trainer C.Y. taught me was to cut up the Wellbite squares into smaller pieces. She told us we would get at least 30 treats from each square.
So of course I had to try this economical way of whipping up a batch of treats!
I was surprised that Kip didn’t seem to notice that his treats were smaller than what I had been giving him. It seem’s that the bigger challenge is finding a treat that is of high value for Kip.
I was able to get the Wellness treats at Petsmart (which happens to be 5 minutes away from where I live) but the only other option was the Pet Botanics that Kip was already used to. So I made a trip to Mud Bay, a local chain pet store. One of the things that was on our treat recommendation list was cheese flavored treats. So I picked out Cloud Star’s “Tricky Trainers” cheddar flavor treat. I thought that it might be of high value to Kip because he has never had cheese before. Unfortunately Kip didn’t find it very interesting so I’m going to have to exchange it for something else.
The ultimate reason that made me decide to submit an enrollment form was the fact that he was out of control in the presence of another dog. Not that he is aggressive, but because he wants to play so badly. He would do flips at the end of the leash and whimper, cry, and howl. So it didn’t come as a big surprise when I walked into the class with Kip and he started howling and pulling towards the other dog.
It was a pretty spacious indoor room and there were chairs in sets of two spaced out along the walls. Me and Kip were assigned to the seats in the very back left and as soon as we got there our Instructor told us to get out the treats and treat whenever our dogs responded to their name. Basically the idea was to hold Kip’s attention with treats and train him to sit and lay down.
C.Y. asked if she could demonstrate with Kip how to do the sit exercise. Kip has learned to sit quite a while ago, but I wasn’t sure that he would sit instead of jumping all over her. Imagine my astonishment Kip sat perfectly and looked up to C.Y. like an innocent angel. I felt a pang of annoyance and betrayal. Little Kipper was giving me a hard time trying to do the exercises. Yet the moment our trainer C.Y. walked up to us he gave her 100% attention. She didn’t even have to secure his leash. His leash was loose on the floor and he could have darted across the room if he had wanted to. Little Jerk!