The Power of "Spam" (written 12/2/22)
To most of us, the mention of “spam” conjures up irritating images of junk mail piling up in our inboxes. I assume the term was coined to draw the comparison between the questionable mishmash of content in those junk messages, and the nearly identical questionable mishmash of content packed into the original meat-based spam.
Do any of you remember spam? I have vague and unsettling recollections of the stuff, slouching in slimy slabs on my childhood dinner plate. They shimmied in as meat stand-ins to plop alongside anything from rice to mashed potatoes. I was never quite sure about those greasy slices, but I have to admit I did eat them. I even kind of liked them after a while. I was six years old, after all.
Childhood nostalgia and grownup junk mail notwithstanding, spam has finally managed to redeem itself in my estimation. I can now honestly say that I love the stuff. There’s a simple explanation for the sudden change of heart.
My dogs love it. Therefore, so do I.
Spam is awesome. In the last week or so, I have discovered that it makes incredible training treats. Vienna sausage has always been my go-to food item when it comes to easy, high-value training treats. I’ve used it for years, and have had great success with it. But spam is better. It isn’t super greasy like Vienna sausage is. Spam also doesn’t crumble like Vienna sausage, which has the annoying habit of disintegrating into tiny, unusable fragments. But it has just enough texture to slightly stick to your fingers, which is helpful when you’re grabbing it fast and popping it into canine mouths. And while it does have a meaty smell that dogs adore, it gets away without the overwhelming stink of the sausage. You can also cut it into these perfect little cubes, just the right size and consistency to dole out lightning-fast, delectable rewards.
Best of all, dogs go crazy for it. At least mine do. I’m carrying it on walks, and I’m toting it into the training ring this weekend.
So for all you training treat buffs out there, try something new! Become a spam fan! Teach your dog some new tricks. Or go back and tackle a couple old problems with a new reward. Or just drop a cube into that eager doggy mouth because your fur kid is just so darn cute. Any way you slice it or dice it, it’s time to harness the power of spam!