The dog handler you hate!

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The dog handler you hate!

This is a discussion on The dog handler you hate! within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; I found this short article on training treats that I thought was pretty accurate from my experience in training dogs. The Handler you Hate: Why ...

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Old 05-17-2014, 01:54 PM
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The dog handler you hate!

I found this short article on training treats that I thought was pretty accurate from my experience in training dogs.

The Handler you Hate: Why Training Treats Matter | Paws Abilities

Any thoughts?
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:00 PM
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I pay for a better quality of treats, because I don't want my dog eating who knows what processed who knows where under who knows what conditions. That being said, however, I think it does make a difference what kind of treat you use when training your dog. Obviously, something the dog views as tastier is going to get his/her attention faster.

I generally use Zukes training treats, as they're small and soft and a good quality product. I will say that when I was in an Adult II training class with my dog, I and another handler/owner called our dogs simultaneously and both dogs came to me and sat nicely in front of me. My dog seemed a little perplexed as to why the toy poodle had joined him at my feet, but it was pretty clear to me that he wanted what I'd been using as a reward as opposed to what his owner had, as he definitely was watching the treats in my hand and certainly knew that I was not the one who had called him.
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Old 05-17-2014, 02:35 PM
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Oh, totally, totally, totally. I have a whole 'artillery' of treats; I actually collect them LOL. They are to dog training as different mediums are to an artist! I always like sample bags so I can try them out on different dogs. Especially sample portions of kibble: free/cheap low value treats.
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Old 05-17-2014, 04:26 PM
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Learned this the hard way with Penny, who in her previous life must have been punished for eating outside and would, and sometimes still does, refuse even things she loved while outside. FYI, it's not because of distraction. We could be sitting still with her focused and clearly interested in the treat, but still refuse.

Sausages were the kryptonite.
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Old 05-17-2014, 04:50 PM
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For me it's about nutrition and high value... I did a lot of research and spend a lot of money on locally sourced, human grade, non GMO food for my pups so I'm not going to give them other kibble, foods with chemicals or low nutrition treats. My butcher is my hero and saves me loads of scraps that I turn into "jerky". I also render my own beef tallow and the "crackling" left over is my dogs favorite treat.
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Old 05-22-2014, 01:55 AM
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I'd be the trainer you really hate then, cause I abandoned the weekly quest for the HVR 2 years ago. My dogs work equally hard for kibble, Zukes, fish, it doesn't matter :-)
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawsea View Post
I'd be the trainer you really hate then, cause I abandoned the weekly quest for the HVR 2 years ago. My dogs work equally hard for kibble, Zukes, fish, it doesn't matter :-)
Maaaan... D:

I am trying where I can to phase treats for play or life rewards. As much as I love using food on dogs, its hard to accommodate all the allergies and sensitive stomachs. Plus I figure it would make an interesting challenge for myself.

But until that time comes when everything is totally phased out (hah, like that'll happen), I will definitely be the 'treat collector'. Food rewards are just so endlessly practical-- when you have the right one for the dog.
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:32 AM
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Honestly it's where you, the human, places the emphasis. You make the food the reward, so the food is of the utmost importance, I make the delivery of the food the reward, then the food becomes less relevant. To the point, and I don't like doing this because it's unfair to the dog, but if I say "yes" fold my thumb into my hand, curl my wrist slightly and pivot, my pups will instantly chase my hand. Conveniently it's the same pivot that initiates basic tug, so bridging to toy is seemless :-)
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shawsea View Post
Honestly it's where you, the human, places the emphasis. You make the food the reward, so the food is of the utmost importance, I make the delivery of the food the reward, then the food becomes less relevant. To the point, and I don't like doing this because it's unfair to the dog, but if I say "yes" fold my thumb into my hand, curl my wrist slightly and pivot, my pups will instantly chase my hand. Conveniently it's the same pivot that initiates basic tug, so bridging to toy is seemless :-)
I'll have to politely disagree on this one. Some dogs are truly more food driven than others; and some are much more toy driven. With Grem, I can use anything as a reward. Play, food, toys, environment, activities -- anything. That's because he finds almost everything rewarding.

Chip, on the other hand, is almost 100% food-motivated. He has no desire for toys as a reward, functional rewards are bland at best to him, and he will not work for praise even though he enjoys it. I've been trying to get him interested in toys for a good six months now, so it's not for lack of trying -- he just doesn't care about them. He'll chase his deflated football if thrown, but he won't work for it. Too much effort, and he loses interest and walks away. I have tried going up the ladder, so to speak, by taking baby steps toward making it a reward, but he just doesn't care.

I know plenty of dogs who couldn't care less if they received praise or pets, and some tend to find physical contact more aversive than rewarding. It comes down to the dog's individual personality, really.
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:08 AM
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I agree-some dogs are more motivated by certain rewards. You can, of course, condition other rewards to be GREAT, but they may will likely still retain a preference. I agree that the delivery can become rewarding in itself (I'm pretty sure Koda chokes on her food from inhaling ONE tiny piece of kibble means she's not actually tasting it), but that doesn't mean there aren't still levels of motivators. If you brought out salmon fudge or something smelly and tasty they've never had before, say a nice cut of venison...they're going to work much harder.

--------

Personal experience example:

Koda was not food motivated until she got used to the schedule fully ( a few months). The first few days she wouldn't even eat. Gradually she became more and more food driven as I was using great treats along with her meals-at one point I decided to use steak fat/leftover meat pieces. Not the healthiest, but that's when she really clicked-OH this stuff is good. Maybe I'll get more next time. Now, she'll work hard for her regular meals but we do a TON of CCing so I always add some different treats to keep things interesting.

Likewise, we went to a private training session once. The trainer was asking what motivates her, and my immediate go to was food. She then took out a ball to see if she was toy motivated-of course, she is. But the moment the trainer took out homemade fudge pieces that Koda hadn't had before? We lost her to the shiny eyed freedom of daydreaming of salivating for those treats. There was nothing I could do to convince her that sitting and waiting politely while staring at the treat to make sure it wouldn't leave WASN'T the right thing to do. Sure, she loves and will work for her kibble and regular food. But if I REALLY want to drive a point home? Bring something novel. The trainer who hadn't believe me that food was the top motivator sure as hell did after that-we had started with great focus on just her kibble, but nothing short of a volcano erupting was going to take her eyes off the salmon fudge.

tl;dr: Everything comes in gradients, even if delivery itself is rewarding as well (regardless of the reward being play, praise, or food).
@Rennajade: Slightly OT but have you tried stuffing treats into a sock at the end of a flirt pole for chip? I think that would get him going and making the association that play is also rewarding. It would be secondary to food for him, of course, but multiple motivators come in handy.
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