My puppy is about to hit 16 weeks. He is extremely food driven. My issue right now is that I feel as though he does the obedience only because the food is there. A sort of bribery. I've been clicker training him and we cycle through the normal tricks such as Sit, Down, Stand, Drop it, Leave it, and Kennel Up. He is AMAZING when food is out, but he gets so excited sometimes he tries to take my fingers off. Normally he's awesome because from day one his teeth only touch the treat and he does not pull until I let go of the treat. When he does get that excited I just tell him "Calm down" and give him a slow, soft pet and he gets calm again.
My issue is that he gets so excited that he'll do a sit, I click and before I can treat he's headed towards the treats already. Same with down. He used to wait, but now he's gotten to the point where he charges the hand or bag. This makes me feel like he isn't focusing on the obedience but the food itself. I get this feeling because without the food, he doesn't respond well. With the food he's 100% on top of it, doing the tricks before I even ask him to do it. His default is the lie down.
Could it be that I am reinforcing the fact that he is focusing on the food rather than what he did in order to get the treat? I love the fact that he is so food driven, but could it be that it has not become a distraction from his training?
The one trick I can reinforce without food is sit and wait. He sits nicely while I open the door and will wait patiently while I step through the door or throw away the poop bag.
Please let me know you're thoughts.
Note: Sorry if I am not making sense. I am currently on medication for my gout and am a little out of it. I just though I would take the time to address this. Other than this I have no gripes about my puppy. Best dog I could ask for. If you have any questions I can clarify it for you.
are your treats in your hand when you train? Visible? if so, put them away. no treats in your hands. they should be out of sight. and if the dog knows the command they should not be getting a treat each time, it should be sporadic so they never know when it will come (meaning sometimes they get a treat, sometimes they don't).
Have you looked into puppy classes?
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
We use what we call a variable reward. Give the command - get the desired result - give a "good boy/girl". Give a different command - get the desired result - give a treat, preferably from a pouch or at least out of sight.
After the dog can perform several commands back to back on a regular basis, you should wait until you get four or five perfect results before you reward with food.
After they know what you want as a final result, make sure you always WAIT until the desired result is completely performed before you reward, even with a good boy/girl. If there is movement toward the treat, that isn't good enough. Soon enough the dog will figure it out.
Remember with training, if the dog doesn't seem into it, stop. There's no use in training a disinterested dog. Training sessions of 10-15 minutes or so is fine. Try to get a couple of those in every day.
Anybody who doesn't know what soap tastes like never washed a dog. ~Franklin P. Jones
Awesome advice above. Maxx is also very food motivated and I noticed a huge difference in his attention and follow through when treats were sporadic and definitely out of sight when he was that age. If he knew the treat was there and he was getting one every time he was so focused on the treat he was paying no attention to me.
Maxx & Emma Jean
Ozzy - 10/16/02 - 06/28/11 - Always in my heart.
Sometimes the hardest part isn't letting go - but learning to start over.
I think we'll use this advice for Jaxx. For awhile he was doing well with his training, but lately all he does is bark and try to get to the treats. We end up not doing any training because he is too hyper and keyed up for the treats.
However, this has me thinking that by having the treats out and giving it to him all the time, he's not listening to us as well as he could.
Thanks for the advice! I will definitely give it a try with the sporadic treats. I'm glad to know I am not the only one dealing with this.
We did take a puppy class and he did awesome. His obedience is more a matter of proofing. So far he does a default down for almost anything. It's his go to trick. He'll lie down and then look up at me with those sad eyes.
His two strongest obediences tricks right now are the recall, sit, and wait. He sits and waits everytime we go through a door. Nothing worse than a huge dog bolting pass you at the crack of a door lol. His recall has been worked on since day 1. We have about 13 acres of land so running to a road has never been an issue. I definitely took advantage of his dependent stage when he was so young. Coupled that with calling him back, treat, and "free" for him to go back and play has worked wonders. The other thing that I have really gotten hard wired into him is "Whats that?!" I'll drop a treat between my legs when he's out smelling and say "What's that?!" He'll come running by and look right at where I am pointing (always directly in front of me) and eat the treat. This has worked when I want him to come back but he's fixated on something else.
As for his treats, I always have it in a bag either on my side or behind my back.
Other than just giving sporadic treats, do you always alternate the hand that you use to give him the treats? I notice that when I do hide the treats, he's always watching my right hand because I treat him with it 90% of the time.
Thanks again for all the advice! I will definitely be putting it to use tonight
train teh command "look". it mean you want them to look at your face. it's one way to get them to stop looking at the food
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
I was taught the click means the dog did it correctly, the lesson is over, so if he wants to go to the treats it's OK. The trick is in phasing out the treats which a good trainer should be able to show you. What we did was first, treats in hand, then in pocket, then over on countertop, then still on countertop but now we are not in that room. Can you see how this subtly delays the treat for greater and greater times? By nano seconds to start with.
Then we would start to ask for two things before the click. SIT, DOWN, C/T. That's how we started to phase out the treat for the SIT, but I'll still throw in a few treats for a measley sit once in a while just to keep things snappy. STAY really helped delay the timing of the reward too.