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Oh man, I am so sorry Serena, I feel awful!!!!!

 

Honestly, all I did was Google image search border collie avatars and yours was one of the first few that I really liked! It's such a professional looking picture that I thought it was from an advertisement or just a common avatar that many people used.

 

Yes, I'm very bad with computers and this is my first forum site! Thanks for saying something and I hope I don't look too much like a fool now. It just goes to show that Eluane is a very beautiful dog!

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Hey, Dogger Woggers, no problem at all :) If you have any favorite photos of yours that you have I'd be more than happy to help you convert them into an avatar. I'm real good with computers, so I can help at any time. Just attach a favorite photo when you email me and I'll help convert it to an avatar. Hey, I noticed even for computer long-timers like myself, I changed my profile settings and I noticed everything!!! about me popped up on my I.D, lol! so now I have to go back and hide out all that info to make sure it's only in my member setting and not for the entire public to see, haha! Sheesh! so everyone sometimes has a hoop/or in my world- an agility tire to go through, hehe!

 

Oh, forgot to say congrats for getting a real good topic started! Dogger Woggers, Eluane is my first pet as an adult, and my first dog that I trained, and my first B.C. and I am sooo glad I got her as a pup too. She was also apartment-raised at the time, a small one-bedroom apartment which is a huge no-no, but she turned out wonderfully. All it takes is time, time, time and love, love, love. Full-time attention with the B.C. is the most crucial. I will never again own any other dog save a border collie...Treats are probably my least favorite reward....I avoid treats whenever I can. Playtime is the BEST REWARD OF ALL because it engages you as a handler with the dog and it involves a real relationship I feel. I don't want my relationship based on food. And you have to train for this as soon as you get the dog. Older dogs/rescue dogs, patterns are already pre-set. Pups you have more options of how you train. Fun and excitement for the B.C. is what is the most joyful. And yeaaaaah, the ball and tuggy are many B.C.'s favorite reward too...It is for Eluane!

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I think beware of the "no treats trainers" I think a lot of the people who are hardcore, no treats people, also use more methods having to do with punishment or correction to get the dog to do things— like leash corrections to get the dog to heal instead of giving treats to the dog for healing.

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Hmmm...and where do E-collar trainers fall on that continuum? Hard core? Correction/punishment based? Certainly not treat trainers, and therefore someone you would caution against?

 

I can't speak for anyone else, but one hallmark of a well-bred border collie is that the dog usually *wants* to work with the human and do what the human asks. They are probably one of the easiest dogs to train without treats because they are smart and will offer behaviors (and will learn any behavior in a snap). In fact they have been bred for that willingness to partner with a human. So while a person might choose to train with treats, it's not absolutely necessary to do so, and not doing so doesn't automatically make one a correction/punishment-based trainer.

 

J.

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Rewards in training are a must, but what the reward is depends on your dog. think about it this way, if Your boss asked you to work overtime, but wasn't willing to pay you for it, would you really want to do it or would you just say heck with you? But if you boss said, if you do this, you will not only get overtime pay, but I'll also give you a big bonus, you might just want to do it again and again. That is how it is with your dog. So don't listen to the folks that say don't use treats.

 

With thatvsaid,

it is good to have a dog that finds value in food, toys and other things as well. When it comes to working stock, treats and toys don't matter,because working stock is the best reward.Having lots of things to use as rewards is best. It is best to pay attention to what your dog finds rewarding, but do a balance of rewards. when you need your dog to be more thoughtful, food rewards may be better, bur if you need to make something more fun, a tug is better. If your dog likes to sniff, put that on cue and use sniffing as a reward. When your dog gets to be about 90% successful with the behavior, put the behavior on cue and start varying the rate of reinforcement, not a reward every time , so they cannot predict, but never fade the reward completely so the behavior maintains value. have fun with it and focus on making everything fun with your dog, he will learn faster and really want to work with you.

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Rewards in training are a must, but what the reward is depends on your dog. think about it this way, if Your boss asked you to work overtime, but wasn't willing to pay you for it, would you really want to do it or would you just say heck with you? But if you boss said, if you do this, you will not only get overtime pay, but I'll also give you a big bonus, you might just want to do it again and again. That is how it is with your dog. So don't listen to the folks that say don't use treats.

 

That depends on whether I enjoyed the work or not. If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it without being paid. If I really didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it without a big bonus. But if I did enjoy it, I'd only be hurting myself if I refused to do it because I wasn't getting paid.

 

You will probably be able to tell whether your dog enjoys the work you are doing together or not.

 

Thanks everyone! You're opinions are lovely to read.

 

Personally I love food. Not giving the dog treats feels like you're denying it one of the better experiences in life.

 

Just to be clear, when I said I don't use treats in training, I didn't mean I never give my dogs treats. I do give them treats from time to time, usually for no reason except, well, to give them a treat.

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Rewards in training are a must, but what the reward is depends on your dog. think about it this way, if Your boss asked you to work overtime, but wasn't willing to pay you for it, would you really want to do it or would you just say heck with you? But if you boss said, if you do this, you will not only get overtime pay, but I'll also give you a big bonus, you might just want to do it again and again. That is how it is with your dog. So don't listen to the folks that say don't use treats.

 

Hmm. I am doing a bunch of volunteering for the National Sheepdog Finals this year, as it is being held in my area and being organized by friends of mine. It is a lot of work, and I am not being paid one red cent for any of it. Yet I am happily doing it, as I enjoy both the work I'm doing on behalf of the Finals as well as the satisfaction I feel each time I complete a task for what I consider to be a worthy cause. I also enjoy working with my friends. I think my dogs work for me in much the same way that I work for the Finals. They seem to enjoy the work itself, they seem to find satisfaction in a job done well, and they seem to quite enjoy working with me.

 

So your analogy doesn't quite hold, at least as far as border collies and their trainers go. Frankly, it's also a little surprising to see you advise the OP that people who don't agree with you aren't worth listening to.

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Volunteering to do a job with out pay is more than likely an internally reinforced activity i.e. the pleasure is derived from within. This would equate to dog activities that have been bred for specifically such as herding or hunting and also includes normal dog activities like running, sniffing, chasing. It does not take much to get our dogs to "volunteer" to do internally reinforced activities.

 

Obedience, agility, rally are not usually internally reinforced from the start. They can however, become much more of an internally reinforced activity for some dogs if taught using the proper form, timing and use of external reinforcement. My young dog is starting to like doing weave poles for the sheer pleasure that she gets in doing them. I have been working for the same people for 26 years and enjoy my job enough that I have gone to work on my days off...just to work.

 

Now that I typed that last line....there must be something really wrong with me :blink:

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Even as a reinforcement trainer who primarily uses treats, I actually have a problem with the whole comparison between using treats in training and getting a paycheck. In this I differ from a lot of reinforcement trainers. The comparison does have uses, especially with those who are new to using food in training and need an initial justification to take the plunge and try it. But it breaks down quickly when you really take a close look at the role of food as a reinforcer in training.

 

With a dog who lacks motivation, lacks confidence, or needs a reason to get started in the first place before he or she even understands what training or a task is all about., the paycheck analogy works well. In those cases, a high enough value food reward does serve as motivation.

 

However, most dogs who are trained with treats get beyond needing food in the picture to be motivated. That's why those of us who use treats to train for sports know that when we are eventually in the ring without food, everything is not just going to fall apart because there is no food there. Yes, things can fall apart for a myriad of reasons (but that is the case no matter how you train), but used properly, food reinforcers are used to get concepts across, to get behaviors fluently on cue, to give more information about a particular task, etc. and the dog eventually knows what is being taught and food is no longer necessary for those particular behaviors since the dog knows what is desired.

 

For instance, I am teaching Speedy to back around me, starting on my right side and ending there. He doesn't need food to want to be there learning. He is at the ready, willing and able. The food is used to communicate what I want him to be doing, and as he begins to master the behavior, which is something completely and totally unnatural to most dogs, the treats show him that he is on the right track. Eventually, I will use the food to put the behavior on cue and to let him know he is right when we start to use it in different environments. And at some point, he will know the behavior and he won't need food to be able to do it on cue anymore. I will still use a food reinforcer from time to time to refresh the behavior (just as one might re-read instructions to do something that he or she has not done in a long time), but eventually I will have a reasonable expectation that he knows the behavior and I'll go on to use the food to teach him something else.

 

I think that most people do quite a lot of things without getting paid. Honestly, if I had enough money without it, I would do my current job without pay. And dogs do quite a lot of things for us without any kind of pay. But when it comes to teaching them behaviors that aren't natural, or that go against their natural instincts altogether, being able to use food to train is, in my experience, like gold. It is something I can easily obtain and have on my person, it is something that the dog clearly understands, and it can be used to do the actual teaching in countless ways.

 

I can't say I really use food because I see it as a paycheck, although I will use it as a motivator when that is necessary. I see it much more as a tool. It is a tool that I would not choose to do without, but I consider it a tool all the same.

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Ms/Mr Jasper writes:

 

"I think beware of the "no treats trainers" I think a lot of the people who are hardcore, no treats people, also use more methods having to do with punishment or correction to get the dog to do things— like leash corrections to get the dog to heal instead of giving treats to the dog for healing.'

 

My favorite leash has clips on both ends and if I need a leash I can hook up two dogs at once. It's easier than two separate leashes. Stagecoach drivers could control six horses - all needing slightly different instructions - by reins clamped between each finger in the left hand. I'm no "jehu" but I'm getting better at it.

 

I don't teach my dogs to heel, much less "heal" - I often walk four, five, six dogs off lead so heeling is inappropriate. When they are on lead, I expect a slack lead - I don't remember "training" it. Sometimes pupils will arrive with a dog strangling itself pulling on a leash and I'll take that leash get slack and pop it with a verbal "aah". The purpose of the pop is to break the dog's focus. I suppose it's a correction; it certainly isn't a punishment. I couldn't pop the leash harder than the dog is already strangling himself. Usually once is enough - afterwards the "aah" is sufficient.

 

I suppose I could break that unthinking, inattentive focus by other means - bang a rattle paddle, shout, throw a water balloon but since the leash is ready to hand, why not? I suppose I could teach a slack lead with treats but life is short, training time is precious, a leash pop doesn't hurt the dog and shifts some of his focus onto the trainer.

 

And, in my experience, the dog is immensely relieved. It would rather be with someone who knows dogs and his work than pull on a stupid old leash anyway.

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The only time my dogs get treats for training is when they are pups and it is to teach them to "here" when I call them. Jackson was trained on stock and was never given anything but a "good boy" when he did good. He got some "come to Jesus" lectures when he ignored me or plucked wool. I have found that lectures, on, at least mine, work pretty well. Treats are given because I am cleaning out the fridge or just because. I was reading once about all these folks on here that had dogs that did all sorts of tricks. I tried to teach Jackson some and he acted like me teaching him the trick was some sort of punishment! :P Skip, well, he will do anything Jackson does, except work sheep, or chickens. But, we all know Skip is a weird little guy. I also taught them to heel using the method described of the leash pop. And a rake! ;)

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Jasper writes: I think beware of the "no treats trainers"

 

Lol, no one is saying never treat a dog! It's just for a champion dog, treats are not needed. I love giving Eluane treats from time-to-time "just because" and while she is forced to wait and watch all the other dogs while waiting her turn during trials. But you will never! get a champion or outstanding sheepherding dog from treat-based dependent rewards with the actual performance. Treats are also very effective if there is a serious fear issue for example! But that should be gradually eased off once the dog overcomes its issue (with the exception of such things as toothbrushing, lol! Eluane will forever get treats for putting up with that ordeal). As for treats for training in the field (agility, flyball, obedience, sheepherding)it all depends on the level of excellence you are striving for. All champion dogs do it out of drive and that relationship and excitement of being with their owner. Playtime I believe is still the most rewarding for a B.C. Time, time, time, side-by-side relationship is the most precious and beautiful thing to see between B.C. and owner. They want to work with you and be with you. That is the most rewarding thing for Dog and owner. The Tuggy is a fantastic way of working and playing with one's B.C.

 

For agility dogs, Border Collies love speeeeeeeed!!! Ummmm, at least the champion quality dogs do, hehe! So the reward is going fast and working with the owner. And for sheepherding champion dogs, it's an even finer skill of that handler and dog and knowing how to hold the stay, waits and positioning. Sheesh if every sheepherder had to reward their dog EVERY SINGLE TIME by walking the entire distance of the field just to reward with treats, ugh! Treats are just a fun thing to give to a dog from time-to-time and for a fun "surprise", but when it comes to work, the beauty of the work is between dog and owner, the praise the pat on the head, the playtime and attention. Why we own B.C.s in the first place is because of that loyalty and challenge factor. Border Collies love challenges, new things to learn, and are constantly curious. If you don't have such B.C.s then ummmm?? something's amiss with either the training techniques or perhaps the genes of where that dog originated from. Now be warned every B.C has unique personalities. It's honing in on what they love to do...Not all B.Cs are meant to do agility, etc. but we need to hone in on their interests so they can also keep physically fit, active and happy. If a B.C. is not enjoying their interaction with you, for Heaven's sake STOP! there is something very wrong and you will need objective advice/guidance from others to deal with that issue.

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