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The Treat Pouch

Author: Nicole Stewart | Date: July 30, 2012

The key to learning any skill is having the tools you need at any moment that presents an opportunity to practice it.

For example:

  • A hairdresser isn’t going to get any better if when a client comes in, they don’t have scissors.
  • I can’t get any better at writing if I don’t have my computer or at least a pen and paper when a thought comes.
  • My son learning to catch without a ball in the house (which hasn’t happened since he was 1 month old thanks to my husband) isn’t going to go very well.

I could go on, but you get my point.

It only goes to figure that if you are working with treats, training your dog to Sit, Down, Come, etc. at any moment during the day will be more difficult without them being handy in the beginning.  (Let’s leave the discussion about whether or not, if you use treats to teach a dog, you’ll have to use them forever, to another time.)

I often get the following comment from a client,  “I keep forgetting to have treats on me when find myself needing Fido to Sit.” (Again, let’s assume Fido is a puppy or a rescue new to the household, and we are in the beginning stages of training.)

Enter the fashion faux pas: the treat pouch.

Yes, it’s not pretty, although when I first started training, I had a full on fanny pack that people, even back then, only wore if they were:

  •  A Tourist
  • Elderly
  • Running
  • Kidding

They’ve gotten much more good-looking since then.  They clip onto your waist without pulling your pants down in the process.  Your high schooler will think you are dorky, of course, but won’t they think that of you even if you pull up in a Maserati tomorrow to pick them up at school?

You can’t win there, so just dive in and wear it around the house and on walks.  It’ll put you at the ready and by doing so, your dog will start to get the consistency of reinforcement that builds lasting behaviors and a strong relationship to boot.

You’ll find that just when you’ve gotten used to your new appendage, it’s time to start rewarding less and less, and slowly, the need for the pouch will diminish.  You’ll feel naked without that tool that you resisted for so long.

In fact, walks aren’t the same without it because they held your ID, money, and lip balm as well as treats. Not to mention, you might miss the compliments you got from the 90 year-old who lives next door. So, embrace the pouch.  You can get a color for every outfit.



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