Cassie’s favorite word is COOKIE. (It’s one of my favorites too.) For Cassie a cookie is any kind of a treat that isn’t her regular kibble. There’s a Cassie cookie jar in the kitchen and another one in my office. If I want to get her to move, to go anywhere, all I have to do is ask her if she wants a cookie and she pops up right away. When company comes over and I want to put her through her tricks, I reach for the cookie jar.

It’s nice having a food motivated dog. It makes training her a lot easier.

But not all cookies are created equal. Asking her to stay for five minutes at home with no distractions is easy peasy and worth a regular cookie. Asking her to stay for two minutes at the park with all sorts of activity going on around here, well that gets a better treat. The higher the level of distractions for her the better the treat has to be. (And usually the stinkier too.)

I am in awe of dogs who can be put in a down stay and stay there for what feels like forever. I’m up to about five minutes with Cassie in a zero distraction zone and with me out of her sight but it is never consistent. At least not yet.

Yesterday I worked in my office for five hours. It was a big deal to me, moving from the uncomfortable yet comforting place on the couch to the comfortable place in my office. I was productive (even with the window guy here all day) and I felt a little more professional working in my, well, work environment. It felt so good that I berated myself for not doing it sooner.

I’d like to say I got up this morning and went straight into my office and worked there all day but I can’t. For some reason I never made it back in there today. I’m going to try again tomorrow and shoot for just an hour. If I don’t expect Cassie to do a long down stay right off the bat I shouldn’t expect it out of myself either. I’ll build up in increments just like I am doing with her.

Anyone have a cookie? Chocolate chips are especially high value for me.