For the love of apples
I recently participated in a trainer round-up blog addressing popular misconceptions about what we dog guardians "should" and "should not" do with our dogs. Please enjoy my take on sharing human food, along with a little story about my dog, Sadie, and her love of apples.
"It brings me such joy to share this food I love with this dog I love."
Share and share alike
Not only do I give you permission to give your dog "human" food, I encourage it!
I share an apple with my dog, Sadie, almost every day. Picture the scene: I am on the couch. Sadie is in another room. I take one bite. Car-RUNCH. Sadie moseys on over to where the apple dispensary (that’s me) is sitting. She hops up, lies down, and waits quietly and patiently for her apple-ing. This ritual occurs, without exaggeration, almost every day. And I love it. I have no training agenda. Just the primal, communal act of eating together. It brings me such joy to share this food I love with this dog I love. I like to think it brings Sadie joy too.
"I did not teach Sadie to want food. Evolution did that."
Did I create a food-scavenging monster? Does Sadie pester me at every meal now? Does she bark relentlessly for food all day long? Nope. I did not teach Sadie to want food. Evolution did that. I did, however, teach her when the all-you-can-eat apple buffet is open for business (when we’re on the couch), and what behaviors will produce apple goodness in her mouth (lying down calmly and quietly next to me).
I could also use apple bits or other human food for formal training exercises. We ask our dogs to do some pretty weird stuff when training them. The weirder and more difficult the stuff, the better the paycheck needs to be. For Sadie and many dogs, human food is a nice paycheck. Check out my blog here for more on using food in dog training.
Whether for joy in everyday life, or formal training, share some human food with your dog. Give it a try! The proof is in the pudding. Or the apple.
Other tips from my colleagues
I hope you also enjoy the rest of the tips written by my wonderful colleagues. Read about these and more:
Walking through doors
Sharing the sofa and bed
Attention when leaving and returning home
Pulling, sniffing, and leading on walks
Jumping up to greet
Tricks and other fun training
Not training at all
The "perfect" dog
And many more!
Because dogs are family.