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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:13 AM
P-L P-L is offline
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Types of training phylosophie.

Good day all,

First off thanks for this great forum. I've been looking around for a while and this is my first post.

I recently adopted a Westie from a local breeder. He is adorable and registered.

Its my first puppy, or dog, and i've read ''Before and after getting your puppy'' and been operating along its precepts (Kong and hand feedings only, positive re-enforcement etc..).

After one single day at home, he was sitting, staying, lying on command. He even asked for the door!

Now im facing a training dilema. I've notice that the pop has grown very exited. ITs particulary true about food. Im scared that the positive re-enforcement method might have gave him the wrong message. I've noticed (thanks to snow) that he is even faking peiing to get food. He gets very anxious when im stuffing his kongs, and Im scared he could become aggresive over food. I can imagine him trying to steel peanut butter from my kid-to-be...

Should I start training him with a more tradional methode? I've called two trainers, one using the food-and-lure, the other collars. Im very hesitant to collar and ''abuse'' my dog thought...

Any thoughts?
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:19 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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HI and welcome. This is a problem that people are currently having and for this reason I never give food as a reward (unless with submissive or abused dogs...all depending again of course).

If you like the PR method then continue. Trade the food for a favourite toy instead..in other words make a game out of it. Keep the praising to a minimum, meaning don't go over board.

Is this pup starting to guard his meal? When you go to the food bowl can you touch him without reaction? Does he freeze when you are close to his food or treat that he is eating?
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:25 AM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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There is a place for treat training, IMO, especially when you are teaching a young pup new commands (sit, down, "go pee" etc.). Now that your pup has learned the meaning of the commands and performs them reliably, it's time to wean him off the treats. Start giving treat rewards less often, maybe half the time. Give praise/pats as a reward the rest of the time. Gradually reduce the treat rewards to maybe 1/10th the time, and keep it very random, so pup never knows when to expect a treat. But ALWAYS praise/pat for good behaviour. Ultimately, YOU should be the reward/positive reinforcement for a job well done.

I have a dog who will "fake pee" in order to get what she wants sometimes too (usually a car ride)...it's pretty funny, actually. To me, that screams intelligence, but it also tells me that you've got a smart young dog who has the potential to manipulate IF you let him get away with it. Consistency, praise, and firm but fair expectations will help you with your little one.

Excitement over food isn't necessarily a cause for concern. I have 5 critters bouncing and leaping and acting like buffoons every meal time...they're excited!!! Is the pup GUARDING food - can you take his kong from him without him snapping/growling/tensing? Or is he just happy to eat? If he's just through the moon about food, there's nothing to worry about.

As for collars, I'm a firm beleiver that they can be a wonderful tool for SOME dogs to correct/teach SOME behaviours/commands, as long as they are used properly. If you are "abusing" a dog with a collar, you're not using it correctly.
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  #4  
Old December 16th, 2008, 10:50 AM
P-L P-L is offline
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Thnaks for the fantastic answers.

My puppy is being hand fed all meal, expet 5 kongs a day for when we are away at work (we have a kong distrobutor, pretty neat).

He dosent guard his food at all. He gets actually pretty exited when I remove his kong, because it usually means that I will help him get that litle last kibble out of it (wich I do).

When hand fed, he will sit and stay on command, and give back his half eaten kibble when prompted to back off (you have to understand that I was originally holding the kibble).

I will start introducing food reward and clicker, and slowly remove the food to use the clicker as a positive reward. Will see how it goes

Thanks alot!
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:55 AM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Welcome to pets.ca P-L .

Quote:
Originally Posted by P-L View Post
After one single day at home, he was sitting, staying, lying on command. He even asked for the door!
Isn't it wonderful ? Sounds like you've got one smart pup on your hands.

I agree with Bendyfoot by starting to wean your pup off treats. Positive reinforcement training doesn't mean you have to reinforce with a treat each and every time. The treat is teach a new trick, command, behavior. Once the dog has learned it, then treats should only be given every now and then to reinforce the desired behavior. You should also be using a verbal marker such as, "yes" or "good job" and eventually replace the times you would treat with this marker.

But giving a treat to reinforce occasionally is important with positive training. You can compare it to playing the lotto (desired behavior). If you win the jackpot every now and then, you will most likely continue to play. The "winning" is your reinforcement.

But if you stop giving a treat altogether, it can be compared to popping money into a coke machine (desired behavior) and never getting a can out of it (no reinforcement). Chances are you'll not put any more money into it. You can also see how this would work for eliminating unwanted behaviors as well.

Sounds to me like your pup is very food motivated. That's great for both of you. Use this to both your advantage. Depending on his age, I'd recommend participating in classes and eventually clubs such as obedience and agility.

Along with positive reinforcement training, have you looked into clicker training http://www.clickertraining.com/what_is_clicker_training ?

Btw, pics of your pup is a must at pets.ca .
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Old December 16th, 2008, 10:58 AM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Originally Posted by P-L View Post

I will start introducing food reward and clicker, and slowly remove the food to use the clicker as a positive reward. Will see how it goes
Oops, I didn't see that .

Sounds to me like you're doing a fantastic job .
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Old December 16th, 2008, 11:11 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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[QUOTE=luckypenny;713830]Welcome to pets.ca P-L .




But giving a treat to reinforce occasionally is important with positive training. You can compare it to playing the lotto (desired behavior). If you win the jackpot every now and then, you will most likely continue to play. The "winning" is your reinforcement.

But if you stop giving a treat altogether, it can be compared to popping money into a coke machine (desired behavior) and never getting a can out of it (no reinforcement). Chances are you'll not put any more money into it. You can also see how this would work for eliminating unwanted behaviors as well.

Along with positive reinforcement training, have you looked into clicker training http://www.clickertraining.com/what_is_clicker_training ?


QUOTE]

I agree with you LuckyPenny in your first para

Second para I do not however. If this dog is equally or even almost interested in a toy that it will also do the trick.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 11:19 AM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BenMax View Post
I agree with you LuckyPenny in your first para

Second para I do not however. If this dog is equally or even almost interested in a toy that it will also do the trick.
Treat doesn't necessarily = food, you're correct. The quickest/easiest way is to use whatever reward motivates a dog most.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 11:23 AM
BenMax BenMax is offline
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Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
Treat doesn't necessarily = food, you're correct. The quickest/easiest way is to use whatever reward motivates a dog most.
True enough LP. Personally I am anal about using treats as I am tainted with all the rescues I have had that are food aggressive. But that's just me.
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Old December 16th, 2008, 11:41 AM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Perhaps one of the main reasons I'm all for treat training or positive reinforcement is because it's the only method that has helped us with Penny in regards to any kind of aggression, including her once-upon-a-time food guarding issues. Like any training method, it has to be done properly in order to be effective. Passing out treats like it's Halloween on a daily basis obviously will not work .
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Old December 16th, 2008, 11:41 AM
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bendyfoot bendyfoot is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
Treat doesn't necessarily = food, you're correct. The quickest/easiest way is to use whatever reward motivates a dog most.
P-L...sounds to me like you have a smart, eager, puppy who's willing to learn and respond. It doesn't sound like you have any food aggression/guarding issues at all, so I wouldn't be concerned about it one bit. Your main goal now will be to work together with the pup to develop a good relationship where a "treat" is not expected every time a command is performed.

I personally like ME to be the best reward and work towards that. My dogs work to make me happy, and it pleases them to please me. The DO get treats, but usually just for being cute or for doing silly tricks like "sitting pretty"...it's just fun stuff, not important command work. We do all our OB training with only verbal/touch praise/reward once the dog has learned the desired behaviour and understands the command.
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Owned by:
Solomon - black DSH - king of kitchen raids (11)
Gracie - Mutterooski X - scary smart (9)
Jaida - GSD - tripod trainwreck and gentle soul (4)
Heidi - mugsly Boston Terrier X - she is in BIG trouble!!! (3)
Audrey - torbie - sweet as pie (11 months)
Patrick - blue - a little turd (but we like him anyways) (6 months)
__________
Boo, our Matriarch (August 1 1992 - March 29 2011)
Riley and Molly
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  #12  
Old December 16th, 2008, 08:25 PM
P-L P-L is offline
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Thanks folks!

I will post a picture this week-end. He is a very pretty Westie I must say!
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