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Siberian Woes - Not Food Driven

March 29th, 2005, 06:36 PM
My neighbour Jen has adopted a 15 month old (female)Siberian Husky that was going to be put to sleep for no other reason than the owner didn't like it anymore. This is a beautiful dog folks, pure bred, has the red color in it. her name is Meka.

The problem is that, Meka was always on a lead in the backyard at her former owners house, where she never had attention. She had another dog to play with, that was left on a lead as well. The other dog was given more attention then she (and this is why they were going to put her to sleep, just didn't like her anymore)

Jen is having problems training her. Walking her, Meka does not pull on the leash, she will walk a safe distance in front without pulling. However, sit, stay, lay, drop, come ... those are questionable.

I was outside today, and switched her to my lead and started trying to work with her. I was surprised to find that, she was not food driven. She didn't care if I was holding a peice of food, just looked away from me (literally) and didn't seem to care if I hadfood. All the dogs that have attempted otrain in the past have been very food driven, and therefore, it made training easy.

How do you train a dog that is sorta 'so-so' about food? Eventually, she started to do some things to get the food, but, she was not as attentive as others have been.
Just wondering if someone has any basic obedience suggestions that are not food driven.

I also want to note, this dog does not appear to have any aggression issues. ( i thought she might from the stiuation she came from) She is well behaved around people, does not jump up, she gets along with my Dog just fine, they play together great.

March 29th, 2005, 08:58 PM
My fiance's brother has a husky and he is super picky!!! He will not eat certain foods or treats. I don't know if this is with all huskies but I thought I'd let ya know about this one! Maybe try different treats?? like steak?? lol

March 29th, 2005, 09:39 PM
Maybe this dog will be motivated by praise and affection?? Seeing as though it didn't get any before, it may respond to this. Or how about a toy instead of treats??

Sorry, don't know about the barking problem! I always thought some dogs were born to bark and others weren't!

March 29th, 2005, 09:55 PM
the first thing that stands out to me is that she looks away from you. Are you making or attempting to make eye contact with her when you offer treats?? She may be very uncomfortable with that type of direct contact with people. She has experienced a total lack of training and attention, Start with her like she was a very young, submissive puppy. Baby steps :D I think you'll find the food rewards will work once she realizes that you aren't a threat to her.
It might help to work her prior to her dinner time feeding ;) hungry puppies are always interested in food.
Good Luck and tell your friend she's an angel for rescueing that poor little girl :D :thumbs up

March 30th, 2005, 02:06 AM
How long has she had this doggy?

I've always felt that doggies from homes of neglect or abuse need a bit of time to adjust before you start training. You just have to build up a bit of trust and friendship. I would treat the doggy like an shy cat-- let the doggy come to you for affection for a while, without seeking it out. It can be overwhelming for some dogs who were in bad situations early on to move into a loving home with tons of attention. Plus this dog has probably not been too human socialized and all of a sudden it's being asked to perform? Eeek.

Just my opinion. Doggies have a very complex psyche and even if you move them into the home of their dreams when all they've known is abuse, they need time to figure it all out.

March 30th, 2005, 11:22 AM
She's had the dog for about 6 weeks now.
Thanks for the advice

March 30th, 2005, 06:54 PM
Sibes are really really headstrong dogs and at 15 months maybe this one's decided she doesn't want to learn anything else?!?!?

A sibe should always be food driven though. Maybe she's being fed to much?

Maybe a session or two with a pro trainer might be a good idea?

March 30th, 2005, 09:13 PM
By the way, if it's not food, the doggie could work for affection or a toy or maybe a tiny piece of meat? Even really sick dogs don't refuse some meat...

March 31st, 2005, 08:06 AM
You mentioned the dog walks in front of your friend, when on a leash. A respectable distance in front is still disrespectful. The dog must walk beside the owner, not lead the way.

It sounds to me that this dog isn't properly socialized and doesn't know how to be 2nd banana. This dog must be treated like a young pup and taught as such. Find a food this dog will do back-flips for and use that as the training treats. You could try small bits of low fat cheese, if you're worried about weight.

As far as being "so-so" for food, try doing your training sessions just before the dog eats. If it's hungry it may pay attention more. Not looking at you, or paying attention to you, is another sign of a dog who doesn't see you, or your friend if she's doing the training, as the top dog.

On a side note, if your dog is fairly well trained, use it as an example. Train the two together. Have the dogs beside each other, call your dog's name, give your dog a command it knows and give it a treat. Call the other dog's name and give it the same command. Maybe it'll learn by example. It's worth a try.

March 31st, 2005, 10:33 AM
Try training her before she eats a meal.

My dog isn't big on biscuits either but will do anything for a carrot, potato, or any other fruit or vegtable.

March 31st, 2005, 10:46 AM
Trinite - That last part is a great suggestion, thatnks for that.
When Meka starts to behave off lead, we can certainly use Justice to hep her.

I live in a Co-op, so no one has fenced backyards, the area is completely open. Justice listens better off lead than she does on lead (anyone have any idea why?) but Meka can't be let off lead. Being a siberian, she just wants to run like the wind. lol

I realize that the dog is supposed to walk beside you. I can get Meka to walk right beside ME, but jen, she leads. Jen doesn't see it as a problem though, she is usualyl walking with her 3 yr old as well.

Thats the other thing, single mother, with a child, how do you keep the dog behaving on walks? You gotta make sure the kid isn't running ahead and what not.. and tryingt o control the dog. Who has done this? Any suggestions?

April 3rd, 2005, 04:42 PM
A dog that looks away is being submissive and exhibiting a "calming signal".

Turid Rugaas philosophy is great but take it with a grain of salt since sometimes a calming signal like a yawn is actually just a yawn and not neccesarily something the dog is trying to calm.

Dominant dogs usually stare and will not blink or look away. That's why it is dangerous to stare at strange dogs--especially one that is growling--it thinks you are challenging him/her.

However, dogs are very adept at learning the human body language and eventually learn that eye contact is actually good because it means they are paying attention.

Since your dog isn't socialised with humans all that well, perhaps Turid Rugaas methods will work because it is a very gentle and slow approach to training.

April 3rd, 2005, 05:10 PM
Did she try with food or was that just you that tried?My Husky was not food motivated in any way either, but also would never dream of taking food from anyone other than me.Had nothing to do with when he ate or how well fed he was,he skipped alot of meals and was underweight,it was all about trust.They are a bit more of independant thinkers than several other breeds as well,which can make things more interesting and challenging lol.For now I would work on the bonding,and trust and household roles and routines.My boy also was more play motivated so making things fun was really key to training,no boring routines for him,lots of silly games and praise and mixing things up.

April 3rd, 2005, 07:30 PM
It was me that was offering the food to Meka. Jen feels that forceful traning methods are better. it is how she trained her dogs in the past, and since they behaved well, she thinks they will work with Meka as well.
Thanks for all the suggestions, I love Siberians, but never ocnsidered getting one so neverl ooked into training one.