Apartment life with a noise reactive dog can be tough.
Just over a year ago, we moved into an apartment and from the get go, I knew this would be a challenge for Felix. No matter how quiet your building is, people make noise. Visitors park in the spaces below our deck. People bring home groceries and much to Felix’s chagrin, those people often have jingley, jangley keys. It was enough to drive a nervous dog crazy.
I knew that I would have to work with him on his fears, not just because a barking dog would drive my neighbours crazy, but because a dog that is distressed by every sound, by every person walking by, by the mailman, and by everything, is not living a good life.
We decided to start with the most pressing issue: noise in the hallways.
A lot of the traditional training advice just didn’t work when it came to Fe. Teaching him to bark on command and then stop didn’t help. He did it very reliably, as a trick, but in the moment of barking at the door, my command to ‘HUSH’ fell on fluffy, deaf ears. Ignoring the barking was ludicrous. My neighbours patience would have worn quite thin – and fast. I couldn’t remove the problem, so I was left with just one option: teach him to love the noise.
There was just one problem. Felix is WAY faster than I am .
Every single time, without a fail, the keys would jingle in the hallway or Fe would hear a voice, he would launch himself off the couch like a missile and run to the door at break neck speed. There was no way to stop him. No way to catch him. No way to keep him from barking at the door.
Crystal, from So Fly! gave me the idea to use a Treat & Train and holy woof, I could not be more grateful. Fast forward eight months or so and Felix rarely barks anymore. These days a woof from Felix mean “give me the darn cook, woman” or “you’re late for my walk”.
If you’ve never heard of a Treat & Train, they’re basically a magic treat dispenser.
You fill the dispenser with treats and then, when the time is right, you trigger their release with a remote control. The great thing about it is that I could put the dispenser by the door, but keep the remote in my hand, so when Felix launched himself off the couch, by the time he got to the door, I could trigger a BEEP and a treat. The beep would catch his attention and the treat would catch his fancy. FACT: You can’t bark when you’re chewing.
I also loved that the dispenser caught the treats. We have beige carpets, yo. The idea of snacks all up in the fibres gives me hives. As Felix became used to keys/voices = treats, I started moving the dispenser further away from the door and closer to the couch. Every few days, I would move it a little further. It became a game to see how quickly I could stop him. Eventually, the dispenser was right next to the couch. Fe would hear a noise, I would immediately trigger the BEEP and the treat and Fe would collect his prize, then get back up into his sleeping spot. No barking. No fuss. It was a Treat & Train Miracle!
I started to think of other ways I could help Fe using the Treat & Train.
I really wanted to help him learn to love the crate, but I just couldn’t figure out HOW. I mean, I guess I could have put the dispenser IN the kennel with him, but I wan’t fond of that idea. I started to wonder if I could McGuyver up a way to sit the Treat & Train on TOP of the kennel. SPOILER ALERT: This doesn’t work. That’s when I learned about the Train ‘n’ Praise from PetSafe.
The Train ‘n’ Praise is the same idea, a treat dispenser with a remote, but with a bit different design. Since there’s no tray on the Train & Praise, you can the dispenser on top of a kennel or a mantle and the treats will fall below. It’s also great for dogs who are maybe too treat obsessed, as it can be kept up off the floor.
Both are great tool that work great. I’m honestly hard pressed to decide which treat dispenser I like better. We’ve had great success with the Train & Praise and I love the target stick that it comes with. I can definitely see Koly and I having some fun with it. On the other hand, I like the versatility of the Train ‘n’ Praise and how I can use it in places the Treat & Train isn’t practical. I’m really lucky that we have both.
Do you have a training problem that a treat dispenser could help solve?
Welcome to Day 6 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 PetSafe.
Today’s winner will receive their choice of a Train ‘n’Praise or Treat & Train Treat Dispenser.
We’re also adding one 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 and a Blue Laamb Charm Bangle.
To enter, complete the Giveaway Tools entry form and leave a comment telling us what training problem you would like to solve and which remote treat dispenser could help you do it. Open to Canadian/US readers only.
Don’t forget to share!
You can earn a bonus entry into this giveaway (and the Grand Prize draw) for every person that enters using your referral link.