99% of the time, our dog, Electra, is a model citizen. She is the dictionary definition of the Dog Whisperer’s “calm submissive” mantra. If it weren’t for her food addiction (and the separation anxiety I wrote about in a previous blog post), our sweet Electra would be the perfect dog.

Going through the Arizona Beagle Rescue to adopt her, we knew what we were getting ourselves into. Both beagles and basset hounds instinctively follow their noses, and that often means following it right into the garbage can, the refrigerator, the counter, and even right up to your plate on the dinner table. Poor Electra got hit with a double genetic whammy.

It took several months for us to get her into a routine at mealtimes. When we first brought Electra home, trying to feed her was like suiting up and trying to play with an NFL team. The minute she saw the food, smelled the food, even saw us walking near the container we kept the food in, she would come running, leap in the air, and hit us with the full force of her 40-pound frame.

Steven and I joke that Electra really only has one facial expression. Whether she’s happy, sad, excited, angry, nervous, playful, or frustrated, she looks like this:

One of these days, we’d like to make a poster titled “The Many Faces of Electra” to hang on our wall. Let her get a whiff of something, or ask her if she wants to eat, though, and you’ll get a glimpse of Mrs. Hyde. She starts to resemble a junkie looking for a fix. Her eyes bulge and thick saliva begins to drip from her mouth like long, gelatinous shoelaces.

When we first adopted her, Electra had been fed all sorts of different treats. We weren’t sure which it was, but one of them wasn’t agreeing with her stomach. She had, hands down, the most noxious gas I’d ever smelled coming out of a dog, and that’s saying a lot considering I’d once owned a dog that my family nicknamed “Stinky”. Those first few months, Steven complained that Electra was constantly crop dusting him. He’d be alone in the office, working on the computer or paying bills. Electra would walk in, take a slow stroll around him, sometimes even stopping to be petted for a moment, and then walk back out again. A moment later, the stench would hit, and Steven would be forced to evacuate.

Determined to try and combat her deadly flatulence, I went in search of some all-natural dog treats. Anything meat-flavored seemed to be the worst culprit, so I steered clear of those treats all together. I stumbled upon a company called Three Dog Bakery, and decided to give them a try. Not only did the Three Dog Bakery treats solve Electra’s gas problems, she absolutely adores them.

Electra’s favorite of all the Three Dog Bakery treats are the Lick ‘N Crunch cookies. Basically, they are peanut butter Oreos, and Electra would do anything for one. Anything. I tested it one day and even got her to walk on the treadmill for a cookie. Sure, she only lasted about 20 seconds (the time it took her to eat the cookie), but it still counts. I think if I could somehow make her one of those harnesses that would dangle the cookie about a foot in front of her nose, she would probably be content to walk for hours.

Our only problem now is that Electra likes the treats so much she tries to con us into giving them to her all day long. She’ll stare at us with that pathetically forlorn expression on her face, hoping it might prompt a sympathy treat. And when that doesn’t work, she scratches at the door to go outside, thinking she’ll be rewarded when she returns. We’ve even watched her pretend to go potty just to get a treat. Little does she know it was the snow that exposed her carefully planned hoax.

On the news this week, I saw a story about a border collie named Chaser who has learned the names of over 1,000 different toys, and will retrieve any one of them on command. If you have yet to see this incredible story, click here and check it our for yourself. I’ve always believed that we humans grossly underestimate our pets, but even I was amazed watching Chaser’s story. Looking at my droopy-faced hound as she sleeps on the couch beside me, I wonder what sort of untapped potential we might find if we could just get her motivated. Maybe one of these days I’ll have to start another blog, and I’ll call it…What Electra Will Do For a Cookie.

The possibilities are endless.

Today’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to our dog, the food whore, and to the treats that keep her happy and gas free!

About the Author Lori Romano

I am a writer, photographer, wife, mother, dog owner, half-assed housekeeper and a self-proclaimed coffee and chocolate addict. One day, I will write a book.

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