Treat and Train Remote Reward Dog Trainer
Time for another product review. Downstay is not compensated for this review and we don't make any money if you buy through the link.
Here's the Treat and Train. It's purpose is to dispense dry or semi-moist pelleted or kibble-shaped foodstuffs either at intervals or by remote. The machine takes several D-batteries but they are used up pretty slowly. We've used ours almost every day for about 3 months on the same set of batteries. It's intended for training dogs, but you can also use it for other animals. For instance, we tried putting rabbit pellets in and delighted as our test rabbits worshiped it like a pagan idol. We didn't try teaching them the weave poles. Yet. But the point we're trying to get to here is that you could hypothetically use it for other animals.
Let's talk about dogs here, since it's made for dogs. We like the Treat and Train for certain applications, which we'll cover. You can do a bunch of stuff with the T&T. Some of the advertising for the T&T is more optimistic than others. Don't expect that you can set it up and walk off and somehow your dog will get trained to stay on their mat without your constant supervision, at least to start.
Here are some notes:
1. There's a clinical trial in which the T&T was used to adjust undesirable greeting behaviors in dogs. Where is this paper? Is it published? Peer reviewed? Downstay is skeptical of all studies until we've seen a methods section and some statistics. If you know where it is, please contact us so we can revise our opinions.
2. The T&T comes with a training DVD. Because it's 2017, none of us have DVD players. But there are at least some, if not all, of the videos available on the internetz, although we don't know if the material is all available digitally since we haven't actually been able to watch the DVD so we can't compare. The DVD is intended to be viewed in 10-minute segments where you work on the training in each segment, so going to the library and binge-watching the entire thing, which was our amazing plan, isn't quite what you're supposed to do with it either.
3. But we were like, dudes, we have Ph.D.s! We can just read the instructional booklet and carefully cover each training topic and check out the videos that are online as needed. But OH HO HO kids, not all of the material is in the booklet. It says in the booklet that for some of the material you have to watch the DVD. Well we're not gonna, see #2.
4. Initially we had hoped that the target stick had some kind of sensor in the base that would dispense treats when the dog poked the target. FYI that's not at all how it works. See what it's doing in the picture at the top? That's what it does. It's doing it right now. You have to watch your little monster--uh, dog--run up and poke it and press the button yourself using your amazing timing.
5. Think about your favorite chair. You have cookies there sometimes, don’t you? Go ahead and tell yourself you have other reasons why it’s your favorite. Very intellectual, humanish reasons. The T&T is great at helping dogs fall in love with their mats, but you have to follow the directions, and don’t expect your dog to be perfect after 6 weeks as claimed in the clinical trial. You can definitely teach “place” using other methods, but the T&T is a good helper if you’re mobility-limited or have children distracting you every 4 seconds while you’re trying to make dinner and simultaneously train the dog to stay on the freaking mat before I lose my damn mind.
We have not had resounding success with dealing with inappropriate greetings, which is one of the things it's supposed to do really well. With a dog that loves food more than every human ever, however, it probably would work faster.
6. The food really needs to be dry, consistent shapes, so it might not work for your needs if you are dedicatedly, violently 100% pro-raw. Let’s not get into the raw debate here, but I’m saying if you are totally anti-kibble, things might not work out. Some people are willing to deal with cleaning the machine in between uses--we’re not because we have other stuff we'd rather be doing.
Here is what we think it is great at:
1. Keep active puppies busy so you can take a shower occasionally.
2. Prevent vomiting from dog eating too fast.
3. Teach dog to enjoy hanging out on their mat.
4. Mentally stimulate/distract a crated dog.
5. Work on impulse control.
6. Agility training.
7. General training if you're mobility-limited.
Have you tried the Treat and Train? What did you think? Tell us in the comments.