I never do back-to-back product reviews, it makes for boring reading. That said, when I come across something that really works for me, I won’t waste time in getting the information to you.
Most fanciers who show their dogs are in the throes of dog show season right now, and for those people whose dogs either bait poorly, or not at all, this review may be of interest. For the rest of you who wonder what the heck I’m talking about, I’m not referring to your father’s kind of bait that he used for fishing. I don’t “do” creatures with hundreds of legs or no legs at all, and I certainly wouldn’t impale one on a hook because, in large part, that would require touching them. I’m too soft hearted, and yes, okay, I’m squeamish, too.
For those of you outside the fancy, I use the word “bait,” to refer to a special treat used to get a dog’s interest in the show ring. Often, the treat is offered to get “expression” out of the dog who, in theory, expresses great interest in the tidbit in the hander’s hand. Since I haven’t seen expression on a Puli’s face since 1981, I use bait to encourage my dog to stretch out his neck and lift up his head which ultimately creates a pretty outline. I also use it to play with my dog in the ring and reward him when he gets something right. And, in the event of a magnetic pulse that shuts down the entire country, my dog and I can survive on the bait in my pocket. I’m always thinking ahead. Just saying.
As a breed, Pulik don’t tend to be food motivated dogs, especially on the road. Every dog is different, and with my current Special, I’ve experimented with a variety of treats which usually end up being messy, inconvenient – or worse, boring to him even when a show ring is the only place he gets it. This past weekend, I was minutes away from going into the ring when I offered my dog his treat. A thought bubble formed over his head and I could see what he was thinking.
While this was pretty cool in and of itself, what his thought bubble said – not so much. He was thinking, “This again. Ho hum. I’m so over this stuff.”
As I told my husband, “The dog is so over this stuff,” a person manning an Evanger’s food stand nearby overhead me. “You’ve got to try this!” she said and popped open the lid to a can. She went on, “The handlers use this stuff and love it!” She took out a piece, pressed it between paper towels and thrust a piece into my hand almost as I was entering the group ring.
My dog immediately took interest in what I had. So this is what it felt like to have a food driven dog. I had his full attention the rest of the weekend
Now for the particulars.
Evanger’s liver snacks are all natural beef liver chunks. When you first open the can, the uneven chunks are submerged in their own juices and I recommend either draining the can or fishing out the pieces you want; to use the liver as bait, you will have to thoroughly squeeze each piece dry between towels. In fact, I took out several pieces to dry overnight, they’re that juicy. I don’t know why my dog was besotted with this stuff as compared to regular liver bought in a meat department, but he was.
Be forewarned that all liver is quite rich and too much may result in a nasty surprise in the bowel department. In a coated breed, this is tantamount to a crisis when you’re on the road and discover ten minutes before judging that the dog has an “epic” bottom. I knew to give my dog the treat very sparingly and we were fine. I learned this years ago, you see, the day I borrowed venison liver from a fellow handler and listened to the dog’s stomach rumble throughout the night followed by a morning eruption of volcanic proportions. I leave the rest to your imagination.
I like the convenience of the canned snack which can go on the road without refrigeration until it’s opened. My only complaint is that a 13 ounce can is too large for someone like me who shows only two dogs at a time. “Joel,” Vice President of Evangers, tells me, however, that they’re looking to offer smaller cans in the next couple of months once the company moves its manufacturing plant from Chicago to a location thirty miles south. He also tells me that the chunks can be frozen once they’re taken out of the can and most of the moisture has been squeezed out between towels.
In addition to the snacks being something for which my dog will actually bait, I like the fact that I’m supporting a small American business. Evangers retails all over the world, but their sales are small compared to some of the behemoths in their industry and they’re very responsive to their customers. How responsive? Consider that the liver snacks were discontinued in the 1960s, but when customers clamored for their return in the last few years, Evangers resurrected the line last year.
I confess that I’d never heard of Evangers until my dog won a case of their canned food and treats at a dog show last year. The canned food is totally natural and some of the recipes resemble human grade chicken stew; As for the treats, the dried tripe was so popular with my dogs that I reviewed the dried treat line last year and referred to them as “canine crack.”
Evangers tends to be sold in small shops or boutique pet stores which you can locate here.
It’s natural, convenient, my dogs love it and it works for us. It might for you, too.
I give it a big thumbs up.