Note: this unit requires two sizes of battery - four D size batteries for the main unit which you'll need to provide, and a 23A for the remote which came included with my unit.
The first day will probably the hardest part of training your dog with the Manners Minder so that's what I'll describe here:
I read the quick start instructions which briefly outline how to set up the unit. I added some kibble and placed the base unit on the floor within my arms reach. I pressed the remote and a couple of kibble dropped into the bowl. The dog and the cat had been sniffing from about a foot or so away - both jumped back several feet when they heard the noise the motor makes. I patted the bowl where the kibble was and reassured my pup it was okay, that he could go get the treat from the bowl. Took a minute or two of coaxing but he eventually, timidly approached the bowl and took the kibble. When he backed away to look at the bowl I pressed the remote again sending more kibble into the bowl. They had the same reaction to the motor noise but they didn't back up quite as much this time. I verbally reassured him that it was okay and encouraged him to take the treat. I repeated this several times and after about ten minutes or so my dog lay down in front of the bowl waiting for the treat. I told him what a good boy he was. At this point, each time he stood up to get the treat he'd then lay back down in front of the bowl. I started to wait just a little longer after he lay down so he'd eventually get the idea that he had to lay down before the treat would be released. Within 20 minutes he was in down/stay mode, waiting for the treat and no longer afraid of the motor noise.
I had read many of the reviews here on Amazon and had a good idea of what to expect; I must say I was pleasantly surprised with how quickly my pup became acclimated to the sounds and function of the Manners Minders. I didn't exactly follow the instructions to the letter from the manual but it was just that quick and that easy to get my dog to get comfortable the sound of the unit without fearing the noise it makes to lay dow and stay to get the treat. This had been my biggest concern but in seeing how well day one has gone, I am looking forward to seeing how the results with my dog will continue to improve over time .
The cat on the other hand just sneaks up on it, snatches the treat and runs away with it. We'll work on that :)
Now that I am confident that the Manners Minder will work for my pup I will follow the training method outlined in the full manual. I'll continue to update this review as our training progresses.
UPDATE: Day Two
My dog is raw fed. I am having a little trouble finding treats that work with this unit *and* his diet. I am looking for a dehydrated, close to single ingredient, meat based/grain free treat. In the meanwhile I have been using Zuke's Minis which works very well with the smaller plate of the MM, giving out only one or two tiny treats. The company makes Premier Liver Biscotti Dog Treats, Dog Treats,Wheat/Egg Free Recipe but when I called customer service to obtain the ingredient list, they did not have it and suggested I request it by email. It's been only a day or so since the email request and I have not heard back from them just yet.
I followed the training manuals steps to introduce the "beep" sound which is supposed to give that Pavlov response that a treat is coming but it seems he already figured out that the motor noise means a treat is coming; on low the "beep" is pretty loud and I would rather LESS noise involved with this process so I am not using the "beep" at this time.
Since treats need to remain in the unit even when we aren't practicing, I was concerned that either the dog or cat would try to tip this over and/or figure out how to get the lid open by fussing with it; so far it seems that they cannot get it open or flipped over.