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Old April 27th, 2011, 02:03 PM
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always been curious about treat training and clicker training.

Okay, I have always wondered about these two methods of training. Have a few questions. And I don't want to start a bashing thread, I would just like some insight. I have a serious stubborn dog , Spitz X2 is all I need to say. Puppy training, she refused treats when the trainer tried, she has cautiously accepted treats with her little front teeth, just to put them down and pee on them as an adult. I have had trainers and a behaviourist drag her around the yard while she played "rock" for hours.
Yet if she does something good, she goes bananas for a verbal "goooood girl" and chest rub. You can see her puff up in proudness. One "HEY" and i can stop her in her tracks chasing anything. I know she is not one for strangers, while she sits at my feet I shake their hand and let her sniff, after that she is okay.
So that is a bit of a break down of how my dog works.
Now my questions, I was just thinking these while reading another post, didn't want to hi-jack, so started my own thread.

For treat training, how do you approach a situation when there are no treats? What do you do if the dog ONLY performs for treats? If you dog decides to turn and run after something, how do you stop them with a treat or a clicker? If you are treat training, and have to pull out a treat infront of another dog who may not be food friendly, what do you do?
Thank you for any information.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 02:24 PM
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Sorry DCH!! I'm just imagining Zoe taking the offered treat and then peeing on it!!! Like she's saying phhffffttt to you too!!! That's too funny!!
But seriously, I have nothing to offer. I've only ever used my voice to train my dogs. Guess that's scary enough.
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Old April 27th, 2011, 02:38 PM
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should have seen the trainer lady's face when Zoe did that. She said that is the ultimate FU she has ever seen from a dog.
I just wonder sometimes about different training. I was kinda lucky in a way to get Zoe when I did. I was able to spend 24/7 with her because I was on medical leave from life basically with my anxiety. her first 3 years I was with her constant, and that made one heck of a bond. Which I imagine has a lot to do with her training. We also got to experience different situations like bloody dog attacks, that hopefully most dog owners never experience. Spending that much time with her, I can tell immediately when something is going to go sour, it only takes a twitch of a hair with me now.....I know.
I am just curious really.......it's the cat in me coming out
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Old April 27th, 2011, 04:27 PM
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DCH clicker training is cool! Basically in a nutshell you teach the pet to react to the clicker. Usually treat motivated in the beginning. If you google clicker training made easy you will find all kinds of videos on how! Winston pops right up when he hears a clicker cause he knows its associated with a treat! its kinda funny...he can be sound asleep and hear a clicker and get up!
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Old April 27th, 2011, 07:16 PM
LynnI LynnI is offline
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Excellent post about clicker training and 'treat training' and I would love to add just a little.

A re-inforcement base trainer, doesn't always use food/treat rewards, it is the dog that determines what is reinforcing not the trainer. It is the goal of the trainer to find out what motivates a dog and a simple example is sniffing. Most dogs love to sniff and for good reason it tells them what is going on in their world, Facebook for dogs . So many people struggle to stop their dogs from sniffing, where they would have a great deal of success by expecting their dogs to give them a nice loose leash heel for a few steps (in the beginning only) and the give them a release cue to go sniff. Three rules apply for being allowed to sniff, 1) don't pull me 2) Stop when I ask 3) Wait for me to give you permission again without pulling. (and in the beginning of this training when the dog is told to 'off/leave it' to stop sniffing, they should be given another reward for doing so). Sniffing is highly rewarding to most dogs and you can use it to train your dog for the behaviours that you want i.e loose leash walking.

There is a huge difference between luring (bribing) and reward based training (toys/play too) With luring (bribing) the dog controls the behaviour and the consequences i.e they'll only sit or come when a treat is offered first. Where as in reward based training the dog controls the behaviour and we control the consequences. Meaning the dog does as we ask and they have a chance of earning a reward. At first there is a high rate of reinforcement and then we go to a variable reward system and the dog doesn't know when, what or where they are going to be rewarded. But keep in mind that with reward based training it increases the likely hood that the dog will want to offer the desired behaviour, therefore having a 100% success rate when trained correctly. Then the reward is faded and very seldom used, therefore we don't need treats or other rewards to get the dog to work for us

The cool thing about clicker training or marker training with rewards, is the countless and cool things you dog will offer to do. You can train them within minutes for a new behaviour and then the fun is just starting. However, dogs that have been trained with corrections are often reluctant to offer behaviours in fear of doing something wrong and then getting corrected. So they can take a bit longer to free shape behaviours with. But that is different than just using the clicker/marker word for the right behaviour given
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Old April 27th, 2011, 07:34 PM
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thank you for the info, very interesting to read. It still amazes me that some dogs do so good one way, and others different. But then that could also be the time and effort the owners put into it also for a high success. I am just baffled by the amount of dogs I see that don't even respond to their name, let alone a command.
is it clicker training that they use for the dogs in agility?
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Old April 27th, 2011, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnI View Post
A re-inforcement base trainer, doesn't always use food/treat rewards, it is the dog that determines what is reinforcing not the trainer. It is the goal of the trainer to find out what motivates a dog and a simple example is sniffing.
WIN!
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Old April 27th, 2011, 04:26 PM
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millitntanimist millitntanimist is offline
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Here I go

What is clicker training/treat training?

These are really the same method. They are both part of positive reinforcement training. Positive reinforcement (adding a positive stimulus) is one of the 4 quadrants of learning along with; negative reinforcement (removing a negative stimulus); negative punishment (the removal of a positive stimulus) and positive punishment (adding a negative stimulus). For positive reinforcement training, in order to increase the frequency of a behavior we want we add a positive stimulus. This usually starts as food (later I will explain why food is so important here) but it evolves into privileges, toys, play etc.
We teach the dog a marker (that is the clicker, but it can also be a word or another sound or signal) so that the dog understands exactly what behavior we are reinforcing. Dogs live in the moment. It is very easy to reinforce/extinguish the wrong behavior (positively or through punishment) with poor timing. By marking the behavior, we give the dog a clear understanding of what we are asking. We create communication.

A word on reinforcement

As a positive trainer, I utilize food in training for 3 reasons.

#1 Food is a primary reinforcer:
A primary reinforcer is any stimulus that a being (this applies cross-species) needs no conditioning to find rewarding. Mainely: food, water, air and sex. Needless to say, food is the easiest of these for us to manipulate . The right food will be rewarding to any dog (if your dog is not taking food in a given situation, either the food item is not of high enough value, or the dog's sympathetic nervous system has kicked in and it is too stressed to eat).
You use primary reinforcers to build the value of secondary reinforcers (e.g. toys) - things that the dog may not instinctively find valuable but may come to enjoy even more that the primary reinforcer you started with.

#2 Food is highly rewarding, or rather the smell of it is:
It's really not so much about eating the food as it is the emotional response the food engenders. A dog's sense of smell is many times more powerful than ours. Smell is processed in a very primitive part of the brain called the Limbic System - which is the brain's pleasure center. When you pair the performance of a behavior with food, you are powerfully influencing a dog's emotional response towards that action.
With any kind of behavior modification food is an excellent resource because it allows you to change that dog's emotional response (rather than forcing them to mask their anxiety) to what frightens or intimidates them.

#3 It's fast
Positive reinforcement training and/or clicker training started in a scientific experiment to find the fastest and most effective way to train animals. Training animals with food and markers required the fewest repetitions for them to understand the new behavior and produced the fewest signs of stress in those being tested.

A word on treats

The "treats" my dogs get for training are pieces of dehydrated meat about the size of the head of a thumbtack and part of their daily diet. The amount earmarked for an entire training session would fit in the palm of my hand (remember, its about smell - if your dog has to chew it slows down training).
I think where training with food rewards gets a bad rap is the misconception that it somehow involves pumping your dog full of large sugar/grain laidened garbage the size of a small child's hand for each and evey success. No reward based trainer that I know of actually trains this way

The rundown

Perhaps the biggest misconception of positive training is that the dog will become dependent on food for performance. This is untrue (if done properly). In the initial stage of training we do heavily use food rewards because there are so many different new things to teach and behaviors to capture and reinforce (I usually instruct clients to stop feeding their dog from a bowl and instead have their dog work for their entire daily ration). Part of this training will also be conditioning those secondary reinforcers we talked about as well as fading the use of food as a lure for behavior. As training progresses we move rewards onto a random schedule (this is the most reinforcing way to hone behavior) and decrease the use of food in favor of life rewards.

Now, for your questions (almost done, I swear )

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogcatharmony View Post
For treat training, how do you approach a situation when there are no treats?
To teach a new behavior you use rewards. Once the dog has learned the behavior this way, the dog's emotional response to that behavior is set. Therefore, I can ask my dog to sit anywhere (once they have been conditioned to multiple environments) and know that they will do so because they have a strong positive emotional response to performing that behavior.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dogcatharmony View Post
What do you do if the dog ONLY performs for treats?
You have not faded the rewards properly. Part of training with rewards is having them appear from nowhere and not holding them out in front of your dog's face. Dogs are smart. If you don't make yourself unpredictable and the dog always knows when you have food, it won't work for you - it knows for sure that there's no payout (maybe you love your job and your boss, but would you honestly keep coming to work if you knew for sure you would never get paid?). You probably also failed to build those secondary reinforcers we talked about. Back to training with you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogcatharmony View Post
If you dog decides to turn and run after something, how do you stop them with a treat or a clicker?
You don't. If you have trained them properly you have conditioned their emotional response to their recall command to be more powerful than the stimulus in front of them. Food itself probably won't be any help to you, especially if they are already off and running. But the hours you have put into making their recall mean "awesome things are about to happen" should be more than enough.
Just for the sake of conversation, here is a list of things we have called Moro (our semi-feral asian spitz/malinois) off of in the last year.
- many squirrels
- one very unhappy rabbit (his burrow is on one of our walking routes, the first time she had him in her mouth and released on command)
- a deer
- a bear
She did this all for a toss of her frisbee.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dogcatharmony View Post
If you are treat training, and have to pull out a treat infront of another dog who may not be food friendly, what do you do?
If you are in a training situation you shouldn't be around strange dogs (unless that is part of the training) and food reactive dogs should never be out of their person's control. Regardless, you can fall back on simple behaviors and other reinforcers. Remove yourself and your dog to a safe place to resume training.


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