As the companion of a pug with age-related selective hearing, I go through a lot of treats. Liam might not be able to hear my voice all that well, but he seems quite capable of hearing a cracking cookie from 100 miles away.
Training him requires using the right tools. And recently, I landed on an familiar product that could provide the perfect solution.
That product is from Vita Bone. The team there sent me some samples to try, in return for a review. And I'll review that product here, but I also want to tell you a little about how these treats fit into Liam's life, and how you might work them into yours.
Training dogs with treats seems easy, on the surface. When you want the dog to do something, you provide the treat as a lure. When the dog performs the action, out comes the treat. But if you use the same darn treat all of the time, that treat can lose a little allure.
For example, I'm trying to work on two very specific things with Liam right now. One, I'd like him to stay away from the litter box. Two, I'd like him to stop what he's doing and come when called. The litter box issue happens only once per day. But that coming when called thing? That's something we practice up to 20 times per day.
If I use the same treat each time, he knows just what is coming. If the treat isn't good enough, he won't listen and work for it.
Sadly, the treats he really loves tend to be high in both fat and calories. Think of meat-based treats. Dogs love them, but they're not terribly good for a dog to eat 20 times per day. And those high-value treats can be very expensive, especially when you're going through a bag or so per week.
Enter Vita Bone Biscuits. These things are primarily made of wheat with a little bit of animal fat thrown in for flavor. An entire biscuit is about 47 calories, which means Liam could eat about 17 of these cookies in one day and get all of the calories he needs to maintain his weight. But of course I am not going to give him 17 cookies. In fact, I don't even give him one full cookie at a time.
These treats break apart into bite-sized pieces Liam will work for. And if I mix up a baggie with high-value treats he adores, coming to me when called becomes incredibly rewarding. Will he get a cookie he likes quite a bit? Or a meat treat he loves but doesn't get all that often? It becomes a game. And Liam loves games.
In addition, these are treats that I can get for a deeply discounted price at almost any grocery store. If I am watching my budget (and who isn't?), I can pick these up while I'm getting my own food and know that I will still be able to check out at the line without resorting to plastic. I like that.
The one thing I will note is that the ingredient list is long, and there are some items on there I am not all that clear about. You can see that ingredient list here. There's a lot going on here. But again, these are treats made for intermittent consumption. It isn't as though Liam is eating tons of these things every day. When I parse the food ingredient list carefully, I am a little more lax about treat ingredients. And there's nothing in here that has me running away in fear.
So Liam and I both enjoy these treats. I think they're a heck of a value that makes my training easier. He appreciates the taste. And, I appreciate a bit of nostalgia. These are the snacks I fed my dogs when I was growing up. The smell of them reminds me of dear Trixie and Coco, and how much those dogs adored a good cookie. Those reminders are worth a lot to me.
That ends our review! Thanks for reading along. And do leave me a comment before you go, won't you? Love to hear what you think.
And, I'm hosting a giveaway, so you can try these snacks for yourself! A few rules:
- The contest ends at 12 AM Eastern on 8/11/2016.
- No purchase necessary.
- To enter, leave a comment on this blog entry (so I can prove you're not a robot). When you've done that, check off your work on the widget in this blog. No other entry formats allowed.
- The number of eligible entries received will determine your odds of winning.
- The winner will be chosen at random from the eligible entries.
- The name of the winner will be posted on this blog, and I'll try to contact you through your comments, too.
- The winner will have 1 week to claim the prize, and if it's not claimed, a new winner will be chosen at random.
- The prize will be sent to the winner by Vita Bone, so you'll need to provide a valid mailing address.
- Open to residents of the United States, older than age 18.
- Void where prohibited by law.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Update 20160811: A winner has been selected! Thanks to everyone who entered.
Disclaimer: I was sent some dog cookies in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. No money changed hands in return for this review.