On Halloween, a mere few days into our new training regime, my in-laws came to our house for dinner. My husband's family has a Pizza Friday tradition - one that only resurrects itself while in the auspices of his parents. If we go visit them, I know that we will be eating pizza come Friday. Likewise, Jon insisted that we order pizza.
We moved only a few months ago, so our normal go-tos have shifted. Since we live in a big city, the 3 mile move changes our restaurant radius quite staggeringly. And pizza is one of those things that we have not found a replacement for (yet). We don't have the same pizza options as my New York hometown, where we could sneeze and find a great slice, but we can also do better than Domino's.
I knew that Blaze Pizza was nearby and passable, so I opted to go there. That way everyone could get whatever permutation of pizza they wanted without having to satisfy another person's dietary restrictions or aversions.
So why am I writing about getting pizza?
Because of this:
As we all sat around the table eating pizza, I looked at the two-piece box. Or, more specifically, the lid. It's low-lipped - perfect for my lowriding pup. So while everyone else was chowing down, I was grabbing the lids to stockpile for our training exercises.
Yes, I believe this defines me as the crazy dog lady. Apparently I'm not the only one who's repurposing food packaging for dog uses - I have since learned that El Pollo Loco tortilla bags are great for dog waste!
There are other little details that I had to work out while figuring out our training regime. Namely how to honestly assess where I was at, and what to feed The Murr. Because I'm doing contact training for the first time, I was not confident in my eye. So I needed to figure out when we are actually meeting criteria versus when I think we are - and also keep record. Hello tripod.
Being able to tape our sessions is extremely helpful. I can watch each session and then keep track of hits versus misses. It also makes me accountable for sticking to my schedule. Even better, a friend of mine is also planning to start a re-train, so she's watching the videos too to see the process. I made a playlist of our training (here), and set my YouTube Capture to automatically load our daily videos into the training playlist.
And then there's the food. Murray is a mere 10 pounds, and eats about 4 ounces of food per day. Plus, he eats a raw diet since his teeth get all yucky on kibble. Given the number of repetitions necessary, I was concerned that we would have to go to really low value treats so as to not overfeed. Then, while perusing my local pet store, I found this food - OC Raw Dog.
Their "meaty rox" are pretty small and (when frozen or semi-frozen) can break into smaller pieces. Easy to use for a full training session with The Murr despite his low food intake. I liked the ingredients in here, and it's made pretty close to here. Yes, it's more expensive than my normal combination of chicken necks & Small Batch, but it's high value to the Murr and can be used as both a treat and a meal.
So that's where we're at. We have the supplies, and I'm a crazy dog lady. Undisputed.