Monday, May 2, 2011

yum! food rewards & brain games

as i recently mentioned, our dog behaviorist/trainer would like us to stop giving desmond treats, but we're not totally on board with that. food rewards can help the dog exercise his brain when they're used as part of a puzzle or game. this is common knowledge. also common knowledge? dogs are cute, and making a cute dog happy by providing him with some yummy food is one of the best feelings.

we, of course, have a kong (or four--though two of them are not food kongs). this one and this one, the leo. desmond does like to play with these, but can be a bit lazy about it. if the food doesn't come out easily, he gives up. he hasn't figured out that he can bite down on the leo and shake it to release more goodies. eventually he will, i'm sure. the round one seems to have been made with specific kong treats in mind, but we didn't really care and figured we'd save money by doing it our way. problem is, most treats just fall right out of that one, because there's a big hole on one side. so we've been using the ball kong for the squeezable cheese treat. this is something that desmond really gets into...

"oh, look! mom left me some cheese!"

"damn this stupid ball and its rolling!"

"well, i guess i better settle down for this..."

"nom, nom, nom. slurp, slurp, slurp."

this is the point at which desmond became so entranced and focused on getting the squeeze cheese out of the ball, his butt started slipping off the side of his bed (which is under the blanket).

not that he cared...

or noticed...

even when he was knocking into another toy...

until it caused him to lose contact with the ball

then he sort of made an effort to hoist himself back up onto the bed

that boy can just eat and lick forever! i don't know how his tongue doesn't fall off.

if you take a look at the dog paraphernalia scattered around him, you can see our spot seek-a-treat puzzle, which he figured out in about 10 seconds. we got the bone puzzle over at very affordable to begin with and currently on sale!

there's also the purple bottle with the rope in it. that's a treat dispenser toy, but i don't know what it's called or where it came from, since it was a gift from aunt bena and DBFF kona. apparently, kona found it frightening, so they shared it with us. desmond loves the purple bottle in a major way. every time i've tried to get pictures of him playing with it, i decide not to bother, because the thing is just covered in that thick, white, dog saliva, and i can't come up with any reasons for that to be captured for my archives.

oh, also in the dog-toy mess, you can see what's left of the pig that aunt jenn & uncle sean brought over. poor mr. piggy has since gone off to devoured-toy heaven. RIP mr. piggy.

we saw some other really cool treat puzzles from the nina ottosson line, like this one, but they are all around $50, which seems a bit absurd for something that loses value right after the dog figures it out. i will wait for a sale. in the meantime, we've been playing our own game with him that we saw on it's me or the dog (for the record, we generally do not like the training methods used on that show) and i will probably buy a copy of this book--which i previously bought for kona last year.

the game we're playing is extremely simple. behold:

"sniff sniff sniff sniff..."

"i smell plastic. i see plastic. ok. i smell a treat. i don't see a treat. what kind of cruelty is this??"

"OH the cups turn over. i see where you're going with this!"

"success! and now i must chase the cups, just in case i missed something."

not bad, right? interesting and rewarding for the dog; funny as hell for the human. i took a couple videos of him with the cups, and if i ever figure out how to upload those to this blog, i'd be happy to share. his thought process is really something.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...