The Great Lawn in Central Park became the Great Doggie Lawn…
For four days after the Global Citizens Concert, the fence around the great lawn was left down…and the dogs moved in.
I swear I could hear all the dogs say, “Best day EVER. And…why not every day?”
Those dogs have a good question. Why not every day?
Our dogs are no longer just pets. We know the power and pervasiveness of the human-animal bond that we have with our dogs.
Our dogs sleep in our beds, sit on our couches, comfort us when we cry, make us laugh when we most need it. They visit strangers in hospitals, nursing homes, schools, etc., to bring joy and therapy. They work to find, support, and guide their humans as various working and service dogs.
Don’t they deserve some of the fifty-five acres of the Great Lawn more often than just by accident after concerts.
I would imagine that morning dog-play won’t tear up the lawn any more than these huge concerts or any more than hundreds (if not thousands) of baseball cleats do every weekend during the season.
These four days when it was the Great Doggie Lawn were a civilized gift for dogs and their humans who live in an often emotionally and physically challenging city.
Why can’t the Central Park Conservancy give that gift more often by opening up the Great Lawn and other baseball lawns for dogs and humans, even if only occasionally throughout the year?
Each year I devour the annual pet dog food (both wet and dry) issues (Reason #1 and pun #1). These analyses allow me to choose the best food based on the specific ingredients and my dog’s needs—not the food that advertises the most.
This leads me to reason #2—No Advertising. Because The Whole Dog Journal does not allow advertisements, all their product articles from food to equipment are well researched and without pressure from advertisers!
Which leads me to reason #3—their staff of writers are credentialed and passionate about their work. They contribute to the research and they have the backgrounds that offer them the knowledge to comment appropriately on topics of health, training, behavior, and more.
Three Dogs Training encourages you to take a look at The Whole Dog Journal if you have not done so already! Maybe even as a gift to you and your pup(s)!
Ever wonder why dogs like Lisa’s treats so much? Here’s the secret to how her treats get and keep a dog’s attention both in class and home.
Ask Professor Boo is our recurring, positive reinforcement dog training and behavior question and answer column. If you have a question that you would like to ask Professor Boo, please feel free to contact him.
Q: Just what do you have in your treat pouch? Whenever we’re in class or you’re over for a private our dogs always like your treats better than our own.
A: I get asked this a lot and for whatever reason folks never believe that the secret behind Puppy Crack – as my treats have come to be known – is actually no real secret at all.
Imagine that you’re a kid again, it’s Halloween, and you’ve just come back with a mighty haul of candy. You tear off your costume, run into the living room to dump your pillow case into the middle of the floor, and find yourself looking down into a huge pile of nothing but Smarties.
Alternatively, you dump out your pillow case and see a giant pile of nothing but Lindt truffles.
Or little boxes of raisins.
Even if you really love Smarties, Lindt truffles, apples, or raisins, there’s just something that’s going to be disappointing about that Halloween haul.
For me, the best hauls were always the ones with lots of stuff mixed in the pile: high-end things like truffles right next to the pure comfort food yumminess of Smarties.
What’s true for kids on Halloween is just as true for dogs when training.
There are some guidelines that I follow for what makes up a perfect potpourri of puppy-crack for my treat pouch:
The primary ingredient of any treat that I use has to be the actual thing. If it’s beef jerky the primary ingredient should be real beef, if it’s chicken it should be chicken, etc. In other words, read the ingredients and the first one should be some kind of meat.
There should be a selection of treats that are stinky and the stinkier the better: remember that for dogs and people alike the majority of tasting is actually done with our noses, so the stinky treats will make all the others taste better.
There’s a fairly even mixture of high-, mid-, and low-end snacks.
The treats are only the ones that I know my dogs absolutely love. If the treats are only “meh” to the dogs then they won’t receive a reward commensurate with what I’ve asked them to do.
Not every kind of treat that I have in the cupboard goes into the treat pouch at the same time. That allows me to change up what’s on the menu each time I refill, which keeps things interesting to the dog and makes them look forward to whenever I put my hand in the pouch.
I always mix an amount of kibble into the pouch, simply because the ultimate goal is to eventually get the dogs to feel as if their kibble is a treat in and of itself.
And there you go: the secret of Puppy Crack.
Now that you know how I do it, there are a couple bits of additional advice:
Don’t cut up too many treats in advance – only keep enough cut on-hand to be able to fill and refill your treat pouch once. Treats go stale and they become less and less yummy to the dogs the staler they get.
Most treats seem to make dogs thirsty so please remember to take some water along for your dogs when you’re out and about training.
Keep in mind that at home you can probably train with your dog’s kibble, but when you increase the distractions we typically need to increase the power of the reinforcer – at least in the beginning. Ultimately the goal is to only need food reinforcement in the learning stages or when something new occurs, because eventually your praise will be as powerful as that puppy-crack! (How to properly sequence things will be addressed in its own Ask Professor Boo.)
If you’re interested in the specific brands of treats that I use, they’re available over in the Boo-tique.