A couple of weeks ago Brandon and I headed out to my parent’s cabin in the woods for a long weekend retreat. It’s one of my favorite places and I was so grateful for the time we were able to spend there. It’s nestled on 236+ acres and completely isolated. In the evening, everything is lit up by the moon and stars while the only sounds are the crickets and wildlife roaming nearby. It’s beautiful and tranquil, exactly what we’ve been needing. It’s also a great playground to let my dogs run around wild and off-leash which they absolutely love. Since it was just us and the dogs we also decided to take advantage of the lack of distractions to work on training games for our pups since their behavior has left a lot to be desired lately and we had some of the best dog treats ever with us.
On our first night there we lit a fire in the fire pit in the backyard so we could watch fireflies, roast s’mores, and enjoy the peace and quiet. I ended up spending hours telling Brandon a million family stories he’s already heard hundreds of times, haha.
I told him about the time my brother and I spent hours building a teepee over a bonfire to keep it alive during a rainstorm and about the time we used vanilla wafers for s’mores since we didn’t have graham crackers and no one would go to the store. I cracked up laughing as I told him about the time my brother-in-law thought he could walk through fire without getting burned and singed his leg hair. In case you don’t know, the smell of burning hair is awful!
As I started sharing stories about my grandparents, I broke down a little bit. I miss them terribly but it was comforting to share sweet memories like remembering how my grandpa used to smell like sawdust from working in his woodshop and how I’d wake up every morning to my grandma frying bacon and making her famous biscuits and gravy. We called it a night before I got too emotional but it’s so funny how the simplest smells can bring back such sweet memories. It seems like a lot of memories are triggered by either music or a familiar scent.
The next morning (perhaps inspired by my memories of my grandma whipping up a savory bacon-filled breakfast every morning), I brought out the maple bacon & blueberry flavor Vita Bone® Artisan Inspired® biscuits my dogs have been loving lately to work on teaching them new tricks and reinforcing good behavior.
These Vita Bone Artisan Inspired biscuits are wonderfully aromatic (like real food) which makes them ideal for training exercises, especially if your dogs are food motivated like mine. They are the best dog treats and my guys will sniff out those treats every time! We love them because they are made with real meat, fruit, and veggies and are available nationwide at Walmart, walmart.com, and select grocery stores. Print a coupon then find a store near you so you can pick some up for your own pup and try out some of our favorite games this weekend. They are sourced and made in America by a family-owned company and contain no corn, soy, by-products or artificial flavors so you can feel good giving them to your (doggie) BFF.
A few of the scent-motivate games we played with the boys included:
- Hide the treat (or a piece of the treat) in a muffin tin and cover each cup with a tennis ball so your dog has to move the balls around to discover the treat underneath. *Don’t add a treat to every cup though, the thrill is in the hunt!
- Let the dog smell the treat then put them in a separate room while you hide pieces of the treat around your home. Consider hiding them under the corner of a rug, behind the leg of a table, or on a low shelf until your dog gets used to the game. As he gets better about sniffing them out and finding them, make the hiding places harder.
- Leash Training
- Break the treat up into smaller pieces and put them in your pocket. Let your dog sniff your pocket so he knows they are in there and hold him on a short leash so he stays close to that side of your leg. After you take a few steps with him close to your side, give him a piece of the treat. You can also occasionally drop a treat near your foot while you walk so he associates being close by your side with possibly getting a delicious and good-smelling Vita Bone Artisan Inspired biscuit.
- Teach Him to Lie Down
- Have your dog sit in front of you and hold a biscuit between your fingers. Let your dog sniff and lick it (but no biting). Close your fist over the treat so it’s covered and lower your first slowly to the floor so your dog’s nose is between their paws. Pull your fist across the floor and back towards you until their elbows touch the floor and he’s down. Praise him and give him the treat. If he gets up before finishing the technique, start over. Don’t give him the biscuit until he’s down.
This post was sponsored by Vita Bone and #VitaBoneGoodSmells
I’d love to hear how you’re indulging your senses this spring and summer! What sights and smells remind you of home?