(If you are a children’s book author looking for your next big idea, this post is my gift to you…)
After seven months of searching, we FINALLY discovered Bergie’s treat of choice. Brussels Sprouts. I couldn’t make this up if I tried.
Back when Bergie first came home with us, our trainer told us to find some super-special treat to use to reward obedience and good behavior. Wandering through a fancy pet shop, I accidentally bought a $15 bag of desiccated liver bits (thus learning the lesson, “Never shop where they won’t tell you how much things cost”). Bergie accepted these million-dollar morsels begrudgingly, like she was doing me a favor. Seriously: I’d pull down the bag and call her and she’d pull herself up, stretch, shake, then sloooooowly meander over and take the treat, then swallow it whole like a kid trying to choke down a lima bean.
It was like watching her eat cash.
We tried less-fancy options: Milk-Bones, Pupperoni, and some chew thing designed to fight plaque and taste like chicken. Same response. She was slightly more enthusiastic over frozen hot dog pieces, but not much. (And given her struggle to regain her swimsuit figure, we weren’t sure hot dogs were a great long-term plan for the Berg.) But she was pretty well behaved anyway, and we soon learned that her love language is affection and praise. So instead of giving her treats, we trained her with enthusiastic hugs and high-pitched squeals of delight when she finally sat down (after only 14 tail wags) when told.
Then the other night I was cutting up Brussels Sprouts to roast for dinner. Not saying that I’m clumsy or anything (and yet suggesting exactly that) but one landed on the floor. Bergie came FLYING out of the bedroom like she’d been shot from a missile. She skidded across the wood floor, grabbed that half a sprout, then turned and sprinted back to the bedroom without even looking at me so she could devour her treasure in private. I followed her and she had her head stuffed under the bed, so special was this moment with her and her sprout. When she finished, she licked her chops, then her paws, then the rug. After which she trotted back to the kitchen and stared at my feet in the hopes that another green globe of happiness might fall.
I was like, Really? Brussels Sprouts? But we’ve tested this theory and confirmed it.
I’m contemplating a career switch to children’s books. BERGIE LOVES BRUSSELS SPROUTS! The Dog Who Loved Vegetables that Begin With B! will be a bestseller with parents across the nation who are struggling to convince their kids that green gross things are JUST AS WONDERFUL as mac & cheese and cookies.
*Filing this under “Plans to Get THIS DOG To Pay The Mortgage”