Treat and Train – I Was Waiting for a Battery

Not all remote trainers deliver punishments. Some deliver treats.

But waiting for the special, not in stores anywhere around here and not in their order books either, battery for the remote for the Manner’s Minder Treat & Train is not cool.  The Treat & Train, however, is a very cool machine that delivers treats with a radio wave remote (up to 100 feet away) or on a timed interval – seconds up to 120, one at a time or jackpots. Frustrated I couldn’t start using it right away after I watched most of the DVD and paged through the manual , I was ready, kind of like Christmas morning – batteries not included.

I looked again, and looked again in a different order. Took everything apart, laid it all out and looked. Had my husband look. He helpfully  said it was still in China. It didn’t magically appear. Looked one more time, grrrr. Call to Petsafe – who after I hit the number on the automated directory oddly enough categorized this in behavior/toys, not in remote trainers, but anyway…

Dr. Sophia Yin’s death seems to have been the motivation I needed to order it – she was its creator. It has been out for several years. I had seen a YouTube on its use in reducing separation anxiety and liked it. I read a blog on it and liked it, but still hadn’t acted. She died, I ordered. Weird. My effort to offer a memorial.

It cost a little over $92 from which was a good price, but a lot more expensive than a collar or clicker or tug toy or several Frisbees, but not if you order them all. Do you EVER have trouble getting above the minimum for no shipping fees?

Maybe the one big price problem is the reason I hadn’t ordered it sooner or the idea of batteries. Just think, if I’d ordered it sooner I would probably have gotten one that included the aforementioned missing battery.  But it did used to cost more – quite a bit more, so waiting saved me money.

In the meantime I’m training using the included target stick . It’s cool, it extends and retracts. It’s well balanced. It can be quite long and yet collapse so it fits in a back pocket with some hanging out.  In the same order I got a Praise and Train remote trainer, also from Petsafe and on significant sale… – it easily tips over, must be level to work, vibrates to get the treats to drop. I don’t like it as well as the Treat and Train, but it can do a lot of the same things for $20 less. If it were even cheaper I’d like it better. I’m having trouble deciding where to mount the screws in the wall – no place seems quite right.

Other than having the creator of Treat & Train remote reward trainer die, a real reason to get it is having a way to  train and keep on rewarding down stays from a distance – think avoiding the doorbell  door rush, rewarding quiet in crates or cars from a distance, lying down dog for guests without having to be close to reward him.

I have very active and territorial dogs – driven breeds; a Jack Russell, a Australian Cattle Dog and a Belgian Shep, but the dog that tipped the scales was my daughter’s Doberman who is constantly finding ways to get attention … very busy and quickly frustrated. This tool gives a kind of extra set of hands – a way to reward at a distance and keep rewarding. How cool is that. And just what the Dobe needs. He will be the first one to get to finish the protocol.  And if I expand my numbers of Treat and Trains there are four frequencies … so I could run four separate remote trainers – multiple dogs, multiple trainers.

I already use regular, good quality dog food (kibble) as treats (this is what fits in the machine) so I don’t have to do anything to get my dogs to be willing to think it’s a good deal.

This would have been real cool to use a couple of years ago when Max the shepherd was learning to be Sandy in the “Annie” play – he would have enjoyed the experience much more (every time he was  on stage there was loud  police whistling and shouting – the way the play was set up was not friendly to the dog playing Sandy).

The other piece of this tool I like is the protocol for use of it. I tend to want to jump forward, the protocol helps lumpers like me to steady down. And sometimes I get stuck at certain preferred intervals. It’s like I have a certain rhythm.

I also like to begin once I’ve read the directions. I shouldn’t have agreed with Sherri on the phone in customer service that 5 to 8 days was satisfactory. I wonder how many of those batteries aren’t in the box? I wonder what she would have done if I said, “No, it’s too long, I was ready to start today.”

Yay! Battery arrived, Friday – 8 days. Started training. Played with the T&T with the Jack Russell because he was closest … oops. Now as I’m focusing on the Dobe, the Jack Russell is barking – “do me, do me” – in the background.

Obie and I have zoomed through the early stuff (yes we did actually complete it, but no lumps there). The first issue occurred with the timed dispense at 5 seconds. Obie wants to do things to get it to dispense instead of waiting, so we got lots of offers – nose touch, paw touch, cross paws, down/sit/down, sit pretty and then whining (which I could ignore), then pulling on his bed that he’s lying on (non-reward marker with that, since he enjoys shredding material). So I had to go back to me removing the timed cue and just pressing the dispense button when he wasn’t doing all the extra stuff. That worked and back to cued time, we made it successfully through the 5 second trials. Whew!

Then on to 7 second trials and more of the Obie offerings. It’s astonishing how many things he can offer. First he waits for 3 – 5 seconds, then if nothing happens he starts offering stuff or whining, neither of which do I want. So back to me adjusting the dispense to no timed beep cue and me pressing dispense only when there is no ‘extra’ from him. Now he has learned that the timed beep (which has a different tone) doesn’t mean something will come out, so he is looking me in the eyes intently while laying on his bed to make me cue the dispense.

We have 10 seconds and 15 seconds to go before he will probably settle in for the wait without the stare. Then onward progressively up to 60 second intervals. Then on to distractions.



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