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No treat on obedience?


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I never used treats with Mickey. I would for teaching her a new trick, or to impress my friends with all the neat stuff she can do, but that was about it. She was eager to please and probably would have been offended if I gave her a treat!

 

Fynne is becoming an eager to please dog. I am leaning towards the same concept with her as I had with Mickey.

 

Boy doesn't care about pleasing me! :rolleyes: He just wants the food! I've recently begun to phase out treats with him and adopt the "do it because I said so" approach. I've noticed that he's quick to obey when I have them and quick to blow me off when I don't.

 

They still get treats every day, but not for obeying a command. They get them during training sessions and as part of a game.

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I think it really depends on what kind of obedience you are doing. Most people that are training for competitive obedience (ie obedience competitions) tend to train with treats. It's very difficult to get a dog to do really nice attention type healing without using some form of treats.

 

A lot of people that do pet type obedience or obedience for Schutzhund/police type training do not use treats. Many are very against using treats at all.

 

I'm guessing the nationally known place you went to in Texas is a place that does a lot of Schutzhund training. I've only been to competitions there & haven't ever seen their training classes, but it would not suprise me if they did not use treats.

 

I think it just depends on what kind of work you want to do. There are plenty of obedience classes where people use treats & toys for motivation. I'm sure if you look around, you'll find one that might suit you better. Personally, I fall into the using treats & toys for training camp.

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A lot of people that do pet type obedience or obedience for Schutzhund/police type training do not use treats. Many are very against using treats at all.

 

This sounds like 2 very different types of obedience. Our local police trainers use tennis balls, not treats. I keep thinking that if I want to break the law, all I need to do is bring a tennis ball or two with me and I'll be home free.

Barb S

who actually believes treats and toys are variations of the same thing

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I use food quite a bit. I also very regularly will cue a dog to do something, and they get a quick butt scratch or the ball to chase. Rewards can be many different things, depending on what the individual dog finds rewarding.

 

Buzz's favorite thing is saying hi to people. So he gets that as a reward for good behavior around new folks, and it works great.

 

I quite agree that you don't want a dog who will work only it knows you have food, but I think of that as a fault in the trainer, and it's easy enough to fade out the food reward. But, I just don't get the "I want him to do what I say because I said so." In the first place, it's not like the dog can get his own meals or take himself out in the car for a ride - food, activity, shelter and affection only come thru the owner.

 

Secondly, my personal philosophy is that every living thing works for a living in someway. In so doing, they get rewarded, either by eating food they've caught or foraged, shelter from weather, access to reproduction, companionship, etc. Why the heck should domestic dogs be any different?

 

JMO,

 

Ruth n the BC3

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The place I went was for general dog owners. I saw similar methods used by Cesar Millan. Control the dogs by the attitude, not too much by PR (positive reinforcement).

 

I've used rewarding system in everything I did with Jazzy. She usually gets some type of 'pay' wether it is treat/toy/access to a location.

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I use treats (or a toy) to teach initial behaviors then a variable reward schedule to solidify the behavior- I then use the variable reward schedule to wean my dogs off the primary reinforcer (treats or a game of fetch). My dogs sit, lie down, and wait because I gave them the cue for it. I do still use R+ I suppose for those behaviors but on a random schedule and the might get rewarded now 1-5 times out of 100 times I cue the behavior.

 

This is for the BCs, the sheltie gets sloppy on responses to cues without a higher rate of reward- a much higher rate of reward of closer to about 25% of all the times I give a cue because even tho he is a very willing, sensitive dog on average, he is only half as biddable as either of my BCs.

 

So Inu, I say dominance and leadership still implies consequenses to me. In fact I'm training that way with my horse right now after I'd alerady started clicker training him. I'll be honest there are pros and cons to both but my horse is far more eager to work with me when using R+ and he only "submits" when we use "leadership" techniques. I think he actually "learns" the exercises faster and is more reliable with the R+. I think Jazzy is a dog with a solid recall and happier doing it because you used R+ to train it.

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I can't really remember the last time I used treats, I usually use a toy (for motivation) or nothing.

But, then again, I don't do any competitive obedience or the like. I just want to know that the dog is doing so and so command for 'me' and not for the treat. I'm not asking for fancy obedience, just that they comply to what I ask, and do it readily

I think it works for some dogs. Like Miztiki said, some dogs are eager to please (like my lab) and rub on tummy is enough.
I think that any dog can eventually get weaned off treats, toys, etc with a little work and time. Like Annette said, Jazzy is probably happier with the PR because its you and her. Not you, Jazzy, and the treat. Using PR makes me feel like my dog and I are more of a team, we work together to accomplish that bond, therefore I get a dog that is eager to please. If this makes any sense . . .
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Inu, I think of Dylan as my partner too, and we learn/practice things and work together as a team. I use treats a lot when training a new behaviour and then intermittently after that for most things. I want to write a fuller reply but I'd have to sort my thoughts out first ! I've been lucky enough to see you work with Jazzy and I think you are awesome. You are obviously doing what works best for you both and that is admirable

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When teaching new skills, I use a lot of treats. When my dog knows how to do what I ask him to, I don't use as many treats. With the puppy I am starting now, I plan on using toys as well as treats for motivation. Also, there will be more play breaks to relieve stress.

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As you can see, the techniques vary a lot and both sides have success. I think you're going to have to try what works best for you and your dog.

 

The obedience classes we have attended do not use treats/toys for motivation, only praise. That works for most of the things we have taught Allie. However, some things she just didn't seem to want to do (i.e. the "down", for instance). We did use treats at home while practicing to get her to learn the technique. It worked and she she doesn't expect treats for obeying the command - although she wouldn't say no if we offered them . . . :rolleyes:

 

I am told that when we start the agility classes in a couple months they do use some treat motivation as part of the class. I think I would use the technique which enables your pup to learn the best.

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Miz,

 

I think you mean exactly what you say - I what the dog to do what I say because I say it.

 

Absolutely, in order for our dogs to live in our world with us, they've got to do what we want. What I truly don't understand, is why it matters what motivates the dog to perform. If a dog is consistently and quickly doing what you ask, then why is this one specific motivation so important?

 

And I do know that motivation is important to the dog - whether it's food reward or a ball or getting to go outside, and that all depends on the dog and the situation - the dog has got to be motivated. Initially, so that the trainer can explain what is wanted, and in the long run because NILIF, especially from the dog's point of view. Not only does the dog have to 'perform' to get access to whatever, but the Human has to 'perform' as well, in order for the dog to keep 'performing. It's a 2 way street, if it weren't, dogs wouldn't be so good at it!

 

Discovering what motivation will work for a given dog in a given situation is very important also, otherwise, you're going to be uselessly tossing treats to a dog who really just wants to get out there with his sheep!

 

But, past the discovering what works and using it, I truly do not understand why it is so crucial for the dog to do as asked 'because the I said so.' particularly in the training phase.

 

I think we can all assume, in this discussion, that we're talking about a basically positive approach to training.

 

Miz, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. And, it just strikes me, maybe we should start another thread aobut this particular topic.

 

Ruth n the BC3

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I worked with shelter dogs on a pilot dog training program for a semester - treats were the primary reinforcer, but not a lure or bribe so they never seemed to require the food to be there to do a learned behavior.

 

There were a few dogs I used toys with, and one little beagle mix that would only work to run with me, nothing else! That dog was a smartie and learned fast when I figured out what she liked.

 

My BC is on a variable schedule of reinforcement for learned behaviors, with a higher rate for tougher situations or learning new tricks. She is primarily food motivated, but we do use life rewards like walks and sometimes toys depending on the situation.

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I'm not sure I understand what you are saying.

 

What I truly don't understand, is why it matters what motivates the dog to perform. If a dog is consistently and quickly doing what you ask, then why is this one specific motivation so important?
Do you mean generally, with other people and other dogs? Or specifically me and my dogs?

 

If the latter, then for me it doesn't matter what motivates the dog. If mine were more motivated by balls, or tugging, or attention, then that would be great too.

 

Mickey was motivated by my affection for her. She was an awesome dog. She did what I asked because I would tell her she's a good girl. The only time she really cared about treats was when we did the trick where she balanced one on her nose.

 

Fynne likes treats but she likes my attention a whole lot more. I tried using treats for teaching her a recall but she would never take them. She'll leave a skid mark to stop and run to me when I call her and she'll get a quick scratch on the butt or something. That's what she likes. Even with treats in my hand I would have to really encourage her to take them. She just wasn't interested. That's unusual for a dog but I'll accept that. I like the fact that she's more motivated by my attention so I use that as a primary reward most of the time.

 

Boy was not food motivated when I got him last year. Now he gets way too excited (anxious) about it. Because he has food aggression issues, and because I've noticed a reluctance to obey when no treat is forthcoming, I recently began to focus more on compliance because I said so, and rewarding with affection or access to something he wants, like going somewhere.

 

But, past the discovering what works and using it, I truly do not understand why it is so crucial for the dog to do as asked 'because the I said so.' particularly in the training phase.
In the training phase I think it's very important to make it 100% clear what you want the dog to do. Too many people think their dog knows a command when they really don't. For instance, I taught my dogs to sit. Now they will sit from a stand, sit from a down, and if they are already sitting and I tell them to sit, they will look at me funny. They know what sit means. Well, Fynne's not quite as clear on that (like if she's already sitting), but I haven't had her as long either. She's learning.

 

I don't expect my dogs to do what I say "because I said so" during the training phase. They are still learning. Fynne is learning to retrieve right now. She gets it wrong way more often then right. There are no repercussions if she does not retrieve the rope toy, just lots of encouragement to go get it, and lots of praise and rewards if she does.

 

I truly do not understand why it is so crucial for the dog to do as asked 'because the I said so.'
Surely you must? I don't understand why you said that. Don't you expect your dogs to obey you? Don't we all? If a dog does not obey a command because no treat (or ball, or whatever) is given (after the dog knows the command), then doesn't that say something isn't quite right?

 

I don't know if my post answered any questions or even had anything to do with what you were thinking because I'm not sure what you are saying/asking.

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Originally posted by urge to herd:

What I truly don't understand, is why it matters what motivates the dog to perform. If a dog is consistently and quickly doing what you ask, then why is this one specific motivation so important?

That's pretty much my philosophy. I don't especially care why my dogs obey so long as they do. Obedience trainer, Connie Cleveland says that dogs obey for 3 reasons -- 1. Because they are seeking to gain a reinforcer, 2. because they are seeking to avoid a punishment and 3. out of habit. She feels, and I agree, that the last reason is the most important. I work to get my dogs to the point that they obey out of habit. I did this when I used more traditional methods and I do it now when I use a more clicker based approach. It becomes second nature for them to do as they're told.

 

I use toys and food to motivate, as a reward, not as a bribe. The food or toy is not waved around in front of them, unless I'm luring and then the lure is faded almost immediately. This works well for me and my dogs in both competition training and daily life, we're happy and in the end that's what really matters for any of us.

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Yes and shaping and solidifying habits comes through either Liz' stated reasons numbers 1 or 2.

 

Edit: I teach the mechanics of sitting on cue by holding food over a dog's nose, others use a collar pop and a push down on the rump, others sweep and fold the rear legs underneath and yet others shape the behavior with a clicker. We all do this enough times so that a habit is created that when we give the cue for sit, the dog takes the desired position.

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Miz,

 

I think we're getting to the heart of my mis-understanding.

 

"because I've noticed a reluctance to obey when no treat is forthcoming, I recently began to focus more on compliance because I said so, and rewarding with affection or access to something he wants, like going somewhere."

 

From what I read in the above quote, you think he's doing something only because you said so. I think he's doing something because there's a reward attached to the action - affection or the other things you stated. You feel, if I'm understanding you correctly that the reward of affection or access, etc, is not his motivator. I think that reward is very much Boy's motivator.

 

We may be discussing purely a semantic question here. I did say, in my 1st response to your question about my statement, (feels like we need a map, huh?) that absolutlely positively dogs need to do what we want them to do. That is what allows them to live in our world, and allows them to be the most successfully domesticated/integrated species in our history.

 

And, the 3rd reason that Shetlander gave above for dogs obeying, out of habit, that's a great reason, probably the reason that most of us do what we do most of the time. I don't brush my teeth 2x/day because the dentist is going to be pleased with me. I do it because it's ingrained habit - I don't sleep well if I haven't brushed my teeth!

 

I see a direct correlation between Boy doing what you ask, and his getting whatever you chose to give him as a reward for that action. You state that there is an intermediate step - because you say so - maybe we're just circling the same issue of looking at things slightly differently.

 

But if it's true that Boy directly gets a reward, of whatever kind, from you when he does what you ask, then why would it make any difference to him that 'you say so.'

 

I guess my question (if I really have one) is that it seems on the one hand that you're saying that Boy must do certain things primarily because you ask him to. On the other hand, you state that he's rewarded, in any variety of ways, for so doing. I don't understand why the 'because I say so'is crucial.

 

Aaargh - not nearly enough caffeine yet. And, I just got back from the tax guy. He's a wonderful man, but I wish we somehow knew him other than as The Tax Guy. My head is pretty 'swimmy' right now, and I'll get another cup of tea and put my feet up for a few minutes.

 

Thanks for responding!

 

Ruth n the BC3, who are lucky that they don't have to figure all this tax stuff out.

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I guess the "because I said so" part is when obedience to a command happens because it is a habit, and I'm working back towards that goal with him. (Remember, alot of his training went out the window due to all that happened last fall.)

 

If I'm out with Boy and I see you while we're out walking, I'll go up to talk to you and tell him to sit. When he does, I'm mostly likely not going to tell him he's a good Boy or reward him in any way because I'll be asking you how the heck you've been doing. That is what I mean by doing what I ask because I say so. In that instance he would get no reward of any kind for sitting. I've told him to sit a million times and a million times he has done so. He just does it. It's become a habit.

 

If he does not sit then I would probably only have to point and snap my finger without even really looking at him. That would be his correction. If that didn't work then I would focus my attention on him (and away from you) and firmly tell him to sit, possibly touching his butt with my finger. If I had to do all that though, then that would tell me that I needed to spend more time with him on that command.

 

I do regular training sessions and refresher courses with him here at home and elsewhere. That's when I'll reward compliance.

 

Now, using the same scenario above where I run into you, if I put him into a down-stay while you and I walk 100 feet away to look at something, I will lavishly praise him (or better yet, reward him with food) because he has not done down-stays from that distance for long periods of time over and over and over. I would not expect him to stay just because I told him so. That wouldn't be fair.

 

If he was not ready for that long of a down-stay command then I obviously wouldn't give it.

 

He's to a point in his training right now that I would not give him that particular command unless I was able to watch him while we went to look at the thing (so that I could prevent him from breaking it by telling him "no"). Also, I'd make sure that it was a safe place to do it. Also, I'd really want treats for where he's at right now. If he had more practice with that command for so long and so far away, then generous praise alone would be ok, but right now a food reward would be more appropriate.

 

Getting back to what I described up above where I tell him to sit, eventually it will become so ingrained into him that he will automatically sit without me telling him to. If he did that then he would get all kinds of rewards. Then those would be phased out over time and many repetitions until he sits automatically with no reward whatsoever.

 

Like I said though, I regularly spend time training new things and going back over commands that are already known, rewarding for compliance and correcting for non-compliance. If I didn't do that then I doubt a dog would forever obey me "because I said so" because like you said, what's in it for him?

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Ah ha! So we get to something a little more interesting ( I love this stuff) What is the "snap and finger point" really? My theory is that it is simply a hand signal cue for the verbal cue "sit" We may emphasize it with mental attitude but regardless of our feeling of exasperation however minor (the reason you call it a correction)it is outwardly just another cue.

 

Technically in a clinical setting you would simply repeat the first cue you gave.

 

Think about it in terms of being unambiguous, since it is technically not a correction but an added cue you could unconsciously be teaching your dog to either ignore the verbal cue or recognize that the cuing sequence is not complete without the "snap and point".

 

If you are going to correct, give the cue you want and then correct.

 

The way I might do it would go as follows 1) Get dog's attention 2) give cue for sit then either praise or in the absence of the desired behavior, give the no reward marker (my version of correction)and give the cue again. My dogs do not require and hands on correction but I have had dogs that do. Generally tho I try not to ask for a behavior with such disctractions until the dog is ready for it and we have trained up to that point.

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