“Ray! Treat Party!” (TP)

In the early days of Ray living with us, I was introduced to two very important aspects of dog ownership. 

The first one (as long as the dog is motivated by food) was  learning “Treat Party!” This was said with as much excitement/exuberance as one can muster! My perspective of “Treat Party!” is that I throw to the ground a whole pile of treats. Ray’s perspective of “Treat Party! is that he is in for an impromptu feast! We use “TP” when we are talking about it and do not want to arouse Ray! “Treat Party!” can be an incredibly useful “tool”!

The other thing I learned was that if Ray started to run away from me, and if this was not looking like a good situation (perhaps running towards a road?), then never chase after him. He could just see it is a game of chase and continue on his way. What I should do, against all my chase and capture instincts, is to call him and run in the opposite direction. He will likely chase after me!

We are currently experiencing very hot and dry weather conditions with no immediate break in sight. We have two rain barrels that are empty, and there is every chance of an imminent water usage restriction. I decided to fill the barrels from the garden hose for just such a situation.

In a moment of not thinking, I left the gate open which provides access down the side of our house and out onto the street. Ray, of course, saw the opportunity and went running past me and heading for the front garden (and possibly the street). Where was he going? The neighbors were not outside! Perhaps he was going to look for Carol?

In a moment (that still amazes me), I called him and started running into the back garden and then started shouting “Ray! Treat Party!”. Within a minute, he was back and the gate behind him closed. Of course I had to give him a pile of treats as insurance that it will work if needed again, but it is worth it!

“Treat Party!”, and running in the opposite direction to an escaping dog. Priceless  training!

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19 thoughts on ““Ray! Treat Party!” (TP)

  1. I used to hide occasionally from my dog when she wandered too far – usually behind a tree from I could spy on her. It wasn’t long before she’d come running in a mild panic, and then not stray again. I can imagine Ray’s happiness at the treat party on his return, Colin 😀

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    • Hi Carolyn – Hiding would work very well with Ray as long as he either knew that I was hiding, or just happened to check back to see where I was. If he was chasing a cat or a squirrel or was otherwise focused, then something more demonstrative is necessary for him!

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  2. learning the “opposite direction” thing with Jack was very hard for us in the beginning as well. We both had dogs our whole lives but our parents were in charge of training so neither of us were overly aware of these basic rules until we had the soul responsibility for our fur ball. We ultimately had to use the hide game. If Jack’s on a mission, it does not matter which direction you go sometimes he cannot be bothered to come to you no matter what as long as he can see you. The minute he thinks you’re out of sight you peak his interest! He hates when his humans aren’t part of his “missions”!

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  3. Lately I’ve been noticing that posters for lost dogs include a line that says “Do not chase.” I thought that was unique to the dog but perhaps for some dogs it would be a game. I learn something new every day. Party on!

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    • The mental state of a dog is generally considered to be similar to a 3 year old child (hence the training saying “If you wouldn’t do it to a 3 year old child, perhaps you shouldn’t be doing it to a dog!”) …. and so much could therefore easily be interpreted by the dog as a game. “Chase” is a classic one because, if you watch a group of dogs in an off-leash area, they will invariably play chase at some point!

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  4. Clever Ray! Maggie doesn’t exactly have a party, but she certainly recognises the word treat. If she’s more intent on sniffing whatever’s caught her interest than coming back to us, we say ‘Bye Maggie’, turn and walk in the opposite direction She’s soon legging it back. When I did my dog psychology course, the instructor said the same as you, running in the opposite direction rather than trying to catch up. This was also a good training tool when Maggie assumed which direction we were going in on our walks. A half dozen about-faces soon made her stop at the gate and wait!

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  5. Treat party… such a wonderful phrase! Mine loves them too. And the trick to not chase after Ray but instead call and run in other direction, totally agree! Alex is like that too. Love your sweet little post!

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