When I thought about our Christmas cards this year, I had one image stuck in my head.
I was pretty certain it would be the CUTEST Christmas card photo ever, if I could just figure out how to pull it off. In order to do that, I was going to need just a few things:
- Fabulous, meaty, super enticing dog treats
- The help of a trainer way smarter than me
- Koly’s co-operation
- Mad skillz as a dog trainer, extraordinaire
I got three of those things. Any guesses which three?
I’ll give you a hint: Koly earned himself a TON of Fruitables Whole Jerky Treats this month while we worked on his new trick, but I still don’t have a Christmas Card photo.
It’s totally not Koly’s fault. He work hard as woof to earn that Whole Jerky. For WEEKS, he’s looked forward to our training sessions, wiggling and dancing as soon as I pull out the Fruitables bag. On the few occasions when I wasn’t feeling it, he TOTALLY bullied me into working.
So just what did I have in mind? Imagine THIS PHOTO only with an adorable, irrepressible puggle and instead of his paw floating in mid air, it’s resting on a Christmas ornament. *Ahhhhhhhhh* It would be woofing adorable, right?? So, determined to make this a thing, I turned to Mychelle Blake, the Association of Pet Dog Trainers President and CEO for some advice on how to train my dog the “Touch” command. Kol’s trainer is an APDT member and we have had a lot of success using her rewards-based training style, so I knew that any advice Mychelle was able to share would be a great fit. In retrospect, I should have been concerned when this was Mychelle’s response:
“I taught this to my pit bull puppy and now he touches everything. Which is why we’re NOT getting an xmas tree this year, LOL.”
You guys know me. This did not deter me AT ALL. “That’s OK”, I thought, “I’m sure Koly won’t do that.” Because somehow, in my deranged mind, Kolchak is apparently better behaved than the dog of the leader of the dog trainers. Yup. Clearly, I am this pup. *Sigh*
Kolchak is a little paw shy.
He doesn’t love his paws being handled, he cautiously steps on strange or unpleasant surfaces and he HATES anything sticky on there, so I knew that teaching him the “touch” command would mean I would have to bring out the big guns and offer up a treat he would abso-woofing-lutely love.
You guys, this stuff is like Koly crack. The first time we bought the Fruitables Whole Jerky, I actually bought it for Felix. He is allergic to so many proteins, so any time I find treats made with novel proteins like bison or pork, (bacon), they have my full attention. US sourced and made with just two ingredients per flavour (the meat & natural flavour), there was nothing in these treats that made me nervous. They were safe for Fe, they were a quality, US made product and they were from a brand I knew my dogs loved. (Koly will shank you for a Fruitables Snowflake treat.)
Koly is so woofing cute, you guys. When we first started working on the “touch” trick, he had no idea what I wanted from him, so instead of pawing at the ornament, he just stared at me, then started doing totally random tricks, in a desperate bid to earn some jerky. (I *just might* have a video to share with you guys later this week, along with some out takes and Felix’s Christmas trick.)
Are you a better dog trainer than me?
Grab a bag of Whole Jerky, call over your dog and try to train them the “Touch” command.
Koly mastered steps one and two in about 12 seconds. It seems that Mychelle and I share an affinity for potato chips in cans too small to put our hands in, so I popped the top of a new can, broke a few pieces of Fruitables Whole Jerky into bite sized pieces and settle in to play. I put some jerky on the floor, placed the Pringle lid over it and before I could even sit back, he had smacked it with his paw. Yessssssssss! WHOLE JERKY FOR EVERYONE!! (While Koly and I train, Fe usually hangs around like a bad smell, looking sad and hoping for cast off jerky treats. It’s very effective.)
As we worked on it more and more, we started using the command “touch” and somewhere along the way, I did something super dumb. Without meaning to, I added a hand signal. Apparently, when I say the word touch, I also do this flippy little pointing motion at the object I want Koly to touch. You’ll notice this is *not* in the directions and it would ultimately be my undoing. Still, Koly is a good learner and before long, I could ask him to “touch” all sort of objects and he would do it. The only problem? I still had to point at it AND he is SUPER EXCITED about the Fruitable Whole Jerky, so when I ask him, he does it FAST AS LIGHTENING.
How the woof was I going to get this picture?!
Well, long story short? I can’t. Not this year. Not unless I send out video cards.
HEY! That’s not a bad idea. I’ll send out video cards. LOL. I love it.
You know what else I love? The look on his face when he realizes there’s no jerky under there and when he notices that there IS in my hand. We may not have perfect the trick in time, I may not have that dream Christmas card I wanted, but I have something better: a pup who is excited to learn and grow and a month of happy memories spent playing with my dog, all thanks to a bag of jerky treats.
I think that’s better than a snazzy Christmas Card.
Welcome to Day 13 of the #Advent4Dogs Giveaway!
With the help of our festive co-hosts Dogthusiast, Heart Like a Dog, NEPA Pets, Wag’n’Woof Pets and Dizzy, the Kol’s Notes elf, we’re counting down to the holidays, sharing our tips and trick to survive ‘em in crazy dog lady style and putting the wag in “swag” with 24 awesome giveaways and one Grand Prize package worth more than $1000 that will knock your stockings off.
Today’s #Advent4Dogs giveaway is sponsored by Fruitables Pet Food.
Today’s winner will win a selection of tasty Whole Jerky to tempt & train their dog with. We’re also adding Fruitables Whole Jerky to our Grand Prize package, along with $100 Gift Certificate to theArtofAJ.com, a silicone bone baking tray & Chilly Mat from Hugs Pet Products, a recycled glass pet bowl from PawNosh, a dog Spinny Puzzle from Nina Ottosan, a Blue Laamb Charm Bangle, a Treat & Train Remote Treat Dispenser, a pet portrait embroidery hoop, the Dieting With My Dog book series, a prize pack of Cloud Star Buddy Biscuits, and a leather, laser engraved dog collar, a Big Foot Paw Bed, P.L.A.Y. Plush dog toys and two pairs of handmade earrings from For Love of a Dog.
To enter, leave a blog comment telling us about your dog’s favourite trick or a trick you’re working on learning now. Then complete the Giveaway Tools entry form.
Have you missed any of our #Adventfor Dogs Giveaways?