I love summer. Sun, shorts, water - I'm here for it. What I don't love? Trying to train outdoors while yellow jackets divebomb me, chew my fingers, and hide in my treat bag ready to sting an unsuspecting hand.
On top of that, yellow jackets seemed to particularly have a thing for me (did they know they were my high school mascot?) - if I was in a group, they all seemed to choose me to harass most. I tried bug sprays, but worried that the scent would be aversive to my canine clients...and I couldn't spray my hands and treat bag, which were the main attractants. I tried closing my treat bag, removing it, leaving a pile of bait several feet away - all with little success.... However, after years of trail and error (and an annual sting or two) - I finally mastered dog training during yellow jacket season. I've had a good four years of blissful training sessions in the grass, and after watching a client get swarmed last weekend, I realized it was time to share my discoveries with the rest of you.
I've found 2 keys to success:
#1 - Treat selection
#2 - The right treat bag
The first step was to find treats that dogs love, and yellow jackets don't. Still, that wasn't enough. If my treat bag was full of old crumbs, I'd still find these guys crawling on my treat bag when I was ready to reach for the next treat.
I quickly realized that this process needed to be 100% kosher - I needed a treat bag that meat never touched. Perhaps this is the real reason my ancestors began to separate fleishig (meat) and milchig (dairy) - they needed some summer meals without insect invaders!
I took to setting aside a special summer treat bag that only ever contains my yellow jacket (un)friendly treats. With the right training ammo, and a clean bag, I can enjoy a warm afternoon of outdoor training without worrying about chompy yellow jackets.
Do you need some treat-spiration? Click the image below to see a curated list of treats Mighty Mutts have most enjoyed!