Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Treats, Treats and More Treats

What dog doesn’t like treats? Maggie gets her fair share at home as positive reinforcement, and when she is on the job she gets extra treats as well. There are many instances where residents will ask to give Maggie a treat. This usually happens with the regulars that we visit. I always make sure to carry plenty of treats with me. I try to let people know that Maggie must obey a command before she receives a treat. The command doesn’t have to be a major accomplishment, just something simple like sit, or give her paw- just so she knows she isn’t getting a treat without a reason. If I am at a new facility I will ask the residents if they are interested in giving Maggie a treat. Some of them are interested and some are not. Generally the ones that are interested are true dog lovers. I tell people to place the treat in the palm of their hand and Maggie will gently take it from them. I find it interesting to watch people’s reaction to this process. Maggie is a rather large dog (75lbs) and although she is considered large she is still a gentle dog (sort of like a gentle giant). If you don’t know her and if you aren’t accustomed to dogs you might be a little afraid of her. So when she opens her mouth to take the treat she bares her large teeth. She manages to take the treat ever so gently (usually with saliva left over in someone’s palm).Some people pull back a little as if they are worried Maggie will bite them- even after I have reassured them (a few times) that she will take the treat gently. Others have gotten used to Maggie and don’t really pay attention to how she takes the treat. Then there are others that look at their hands after the treat has been taken. This is quite comical because I usually forget to mention that Maggie might leave a residue of saliva on them. I quickly look around the room to find a tissue for them to wipe off Maggie’s saliva. I used to consider Maggie a treat snob. Whenever I would take her to a pet shop or to the vet and give her one of their treats she would promptly spit it out. These were the hard crunchy treats. I would find myself picking the pieces off the floor and searching for a trash can to dispose of them. Maggie prefers the soft chewy types of treats. So I have gotten used to buying these types and if the hard crunchy ones are the only ones available at the stores or at the vets, I don’t bother offering them to her. Humans or canines, everyone has their favorite snacks!

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