Food Glorious Food ..

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by yvonne, Jan 13, 2009.

  1. yvonne Well-Known Member

    I have always used food when training my Labradoodle puppy Dude, but am now finding it difficult to overcome some of the problems I am faced with. He has a tendancy to bounce along when doing heelwork and mouthing my hand all the time. A bit like Jaws .. I have tried holding my hand away from his nose, but as long as he knows there is a treat in my hand he will just jump and skip higher. He doesnt hurt me anymore, but it isnt helping with him leaping along beside me as I have already had a fall because he tripped me up. I really dont want to repeat it. I have tried training without food but he just isnt interested. Basically he wont do anything unless he smells a treat. Just to add, toys dont work as a training aid for Dude either .. he is just so greedy!

    He is doing really well at school and has already moved up a class, but I really need to stop all this silly behaviour before he gets any bigger. He is 5 months old and growing fast. His mum is an average size standard poodle, but his dad is just HUGE!

    I am also having trouble with getting a reliable recall. He once ran from me when I called him so I tried using a long line but he just saw this as another way to trip me up. In the end I bought a flexi line and started right at the beginning again. This seemed to work and he is getting the message once again. Now my main problem is getting a recall at training as they use long lines. One look at the extra long lead and its playtime .. I fear I will never progress unless I can stop him associating the long line as a toy. I have asked the trainer if I can do the recall off lead but she says it is against club rules. Its so frustrating as this behaviour is the only thing that prevents him going up another class :dogunsure:

  2. snooks Experienced Member

    To move along in training you need to switch from lure to reward training it sounds like. Luring is great until the dog learns then you need to ask him to think about things a bit and reward him for correct thinking. That means getting a training pouch, usually a fanny pack like thing, some are very nice with pockets and zipper or treat compartments. I like outward hound's bags. Walking faster too and changing directions a lot helps occupy his mind also to keep up and change with you and to actively think.

    My dogs know how to do quite a few things but when I put a treat in my hand and signal them they don't really think. They are so distracted by the treat that the brain turns off. Ideally both hands should be still when training with food hidden either in the bag (unless you're giving hand signals and the treats should be in the other hand, out of sight on the counter, in a treat bag at your waist, or hidden in your mouth to spit at the dog to catch or spit into your hand and dispense.

    With clicker training or just treat training it's ideal to have both clicker and treat hand (or just the treat hand) behind your back so the dog is focused on you and not your hands. If you're moving hands or displaying food he's not really paying attention to what you say and many of your signaling gestures. I bet this will stop your jumping problem. The idea is to be tricky, he may know you have treats but when does he get them??? If you ignore this treat seeking behavior and reward for staying on the ground you can train not to bounce. Try just standing still and showing him the treat. If he jumps pull your hand back or just close your fist and say whoops or leave it. When all four are on the floor you can mark with a clicker or word cue like yesss and give the treat. Be consistent and he'll get that jumping means no treat and 4 on floor means treats. I train focus by holding a treat at arm’s length and marking when the dog looks from the treat to me. When she makes eye contact she gets a click or verbal cue yess and the treat. Otherwise the treats are out of sight.

    Not having food in your hand all the time will also teach the dog that you don't have to have a treat in your hand for him to mind. If you always give treats then the dog will eventually stop listening b/c he knows he always gets a treat regardless of what he does. It is actually best fade the treats after the behavior is very solid in an ideal world. If you don't all dogs actually quit complying as much. In all the studies on dogs training for treats the best results happen when you slow down to every other time, then every third time, then random and unpredictable. Eventually for the best compliance you fade to random/seldom so that the dog is guessing NOW THIS TIME NOW??!?!!? If compliance goes down then you went too fast so up the treats a little and fade them again. Good luck with your little bouncer. :dogbiggrin:
  3. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Hi Snooks!

    This is such a wonderfully detailed reply to my question :dogbiggrin:

    I am definitely going to try to wean Dude away from the lure. It may take me a little while, but he is only just 5 months so I have a lot of time to work through the problem. I think youre right, he has been switching off to everything but treats so I have to try and make his lessons a whole lot of fun to he concentrates on me more.

    Thanks for your reply
  4. snooks Experienced Member

    You can start today by doing every other time. Your pup may surprise you. Give a shot and let us know. I would love to hear. :dogcool:

    great tawzer Kathy Sdao video for advanced clicker training on how to fade lure

    Lots of stuff to ponder. Hope it helps. I would start today. Slowly isn't the best way according to these folks. Decrease your dependence and make it easier for both of you. It's counter intuitive because humans will work continually for rewards b/c we can talk. Dogs actually work better for fewer rewards. They've studied and graphed it all up and it does work, just have to look from the dog's point of view not human's. :dogtongue2:
  5. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Oh Snooks youre an Angel. Thanks so much for all the wonderful links, I really do appreciate all the time and effort you are putting into helping me. I will of course be only too happy to let you know how I progress.

    I had a bad experience today :( Dude ran away from me and to another man who was just going through an open gate. He wouldn't come back to me no matter how enthusiastic I made my call. He ignored me running in the opposite direction too. It seems the 'Doodle Dash' is something a lot of owners experience. I have always had dogs but not one of them has ever ignored me the way Dude does. It made me feel like a complete failure and even made me doubt how much he thinks of me (which I know is silly) I just dont know how to cope with a dog who comes back to me unless someone else or another dog is in the vicinity. Any tips would be gratefully recieved.
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Don't fret. ^^ He's a five month old labradoodle, he's bound to be easily distracted!! :) Keep working on his recall---I wouldn't trust him off-leash just yet. Add distractions slowly rather than having to test him in this kind of environment. Since he wasn't paying attention to you anyway, the better thing to do would've been to run past him(if you had the room to without looking like you were chasing him) so that he saw you and you enticed a "chase." Try not to be mad when you get him, because if you even have an angry facial expression he's going to think he wasn't supposed to come back to you.

    Does he know come already? If he's solid with it at home with little/no distractions, then perhaps bring a dog or person to the house. Work on it here with this new distraction, but be sure he's gone for a good long jog beforehand or gets to wear a little energy out with the dog. Start with the dog/person fairly far away--wherever you can get him to listen. Eventually, a good test to do is put Dude in a sit stay and go a medium distance away. Off to the side, but about halfway between the two of you, have a friend and dog stand stationary. This way he has to keep focused on you while passing the dog and person. When he really gets good at the stay, you can add more dogs and people and distance. Hope this helps! Good luck!

    And really, don't feel bad. He's a pup---and a labradoodle at that! :)
  7. stormi Well-Known Member

    I agree with tx_cowgirl. Dude is still very young.

    I didn't let Breeze have total freedom on walks till she was nearly 1 year old. It took me that long to really trust that she would come away from anything if I called her (and also to have an instant down as a back-up). I ran her on a flexi and in enclosed areas with increasing distraction to build up the reliability of her recall and did lots of calling her away from something really exciting/interesting and she always got a huge reward when she returned (for her this was a tennis ball/squeaky toy) and I then let her go again.

    Just take it very slowly and try not to let him get into situations where he is able to ignore you (and have fun whilst doing so). I am sure you will get there in the my experience it is well worth putting the time and effort into training this.
  8. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Dear Tx_Cowgirl and Stormi,

    Thanks so much for your replies. I feel so much more confident after reading everything you both wrote. I know it is early days for Dude so I will try not to hurry him along so much.

    I normally use a flexi line but as I had access to some enclosed private land I decided to make the most of it. I didnt realize a footpath ran straight through the field so the last think I was expecting was a jogger to open the gate and run through :dogohmy:

    I wish I had a longer flexi line actually, Dude sees an ordinary long line as a toy and is so fast before I know whats happened I am tied up and falling over lol I am going to have to hunt around and see what is available.

    Once again thanks for the advice and confidence building .. I am so lucky to have found this site :)
  9. snooks Experienced Member

    The trainers i work with generally don't trust a dog younger than 2 yrs off leash in an unfenced area. with a wilderness area i don't trust any of my dogs off leash b/c we have lions and coyotes. i think 5mo is way too young to expect reliability yet but you have a good start it sounds like. this is still such a puppy!! esp LD's seem to have loonnnnng puppyhoods so enjoy it amidst the temporary deafness. :dogbiggrin:

    you can work on your recall by doing little practices when you're at home or low distraction. call the puppy when you will bet $100 or pounds that he'll come. give a reward as you grab his collar gently and say gottcha, goood pup and release to go play!! this teaches that come doesn't always mean the fun ends and leashes go on and you leave. It also teaches when you come you must get close enough so I can take your collar and that reaching for the collar is no big deal. If he doesn’t like it go from the side instead of straight over the head and squat some.

    Run away or make silly high pitched noises and you may find someone chasing after you, reward with treat and release. A squeaky toy is often magic too. Make it sort of random with many more call/releases than call and go's. if i can get away without saying come i will because i don't want to over use the cue or use it when i know my pup won't come. i may say let's go (loose leash command), go to the house, let's go get a treat which she knows and save come for the times i can set up success. i always use food for come which is to die for to really imprint on the puppy.

    my older dog was so bad at 2 years with not coming that i had to use a drag line and step on it and walk down the line to her when i wanted to get her. Goldens have 3years or so in puppy hood. oy! you could practice in open areas with a drag line to have a safe and calm time of getting your dog back. no reeling in just calmly walk down it and try a down or sit.

    i trained my younger dog with more better food and more gottcha's and more set up for success and she's eons better than my 4yo then was at her age. at about 2.5 years old the adult brain turned on in the older dog and she's perfect on come now. remember your pup will go through adolescence too and will forget everything in his head anywhere between 6 mos to 1.5 years. you'll have to step it up and be more patient then. don't worry they grow out of it and it will pass.

    just start low distraction and go higher as you succeed. remember too that it takes a while for some dogs to generalize that come in the kitchen means come in the grass or the park. much luck!!
  10. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Some more great advice and remarks that make me feel I am lucky to have my puppy come to me at all, rather than expecting a recall to be 100% at 5 months!

    Thanks Snooks, your wisdom once again saves me from deep depression lol :)

    Oh I took Dude to class yesterday and he was just FABULOUS! I have already began to phase out the food in everything but heelwork and its working! I even had him off leash in a crowded little hall doing the perfect send away and that for me is such a thrill. I was almost dancing around the room with Dude, shrieking and screeching like a banshee :dogbiggrin:

    Thanks again, you inspire me so much!
  11. stormi Well-Known Member

    I'm so pleased to hear Dude's training is coming on so well at class. It's a great feeling when they do an exercise perfectly isn't it :dogbiggrin:

    Good Luck with the recall training :dogsmile:
  12. dilkara New Member

    Hiya, :D
    Regarding the recall, have you considered using a whistle? The puppy class we went to got us all to get a whistle, mine's only a cheap single noise one. It works wonders I find, even if you're trying to be really jolly I think a little bit of panic can slip into the voice, but the whistle never changes and is consistent. Ludo's the first dog I've had whistle trained and it's just lovely that whatever he's doing he'll hear the whistle and run towards it. He is voice recall trained but if there's something interesting he'll ignore my voice and he hasn't once ignored the whistle yet. *touch wood*

    We were also taught to train a finish, where the dog goes round behind you and ends in a sit in front facing you because then they can't come running up to you and then start a game of keep away. lol!
  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Glad to hear your spirits are up. My Zekers was one of those weird pups who did a perfect off-leash heel(untrained), never disobeyed, 3 months old. I did looooots of work utilizing his eagerness to please and attempting to capture and hang onto as much of this as possible....but alas, he is a BC/ACD cross. And at 6 months, my laid back, perfect puppy became the normal puppy, only with 15x the energy. Not at all surprising, and I wasn't even able to make a whole lot of progress until a year or so ago(he's 3 yrs now). He knew several commands as a pup, but he hasn't been anywhere near solid and reliable until recently.

    I got lucky with Mud...I adopted her at 3 yrs old, but she learned sooo quickly and after teaching her "come" command she's always been flawless. I trust her off-leash in Petsmart, at parks, course, I let her drag the leash so that I can still grab hold should another dog cause problems or anything else that may arise. Most of the time in Petsmart, I still keep hold of the leash because very few dogs there are well-behaved and don't start tiffs. At the park it's very easy to avoid untrained or unruly dogs and owners.

    Anywho.....keep it up and don't worry too much about the puppy attention span. He's still learning. :) Good luck.
  14. yvonne Well-Known Member

    I am always so excited when I get a positive response from everyone on here. It really lifts my spirits. Everyone here has been so kind in offering me hope and advice. I find myself counting my blessings at finding you all :)

    Thanks so much xx
  15. snooks Experienced Member

    Honestly if he's doing off leash stuff in class at 5 mos I would say Dude is doing exceptionally well. It sounds like for his age he is achieving perfection as a puppy. Sometimes they can be little goofy or distracted but creative attention getters and changing things up a bit works well to re-interest them.

    Adolescence is coming so don't get freaked if he temporarily becomes a teenager. This is normal and some dogs don't really do it much esp with the great training you're doing. Around a year they all get mature enough to start testing boundaries and feeling a little full of themselves. It is temporary and you can train through it and try new training tricks to help work through it.

    My pup is in the adolescent bark to get attention phase. OY! We're working on training around it in class with success so I can see the light. She is also starting to really love cuddling though so I'll take it. :dogcool:
  16. yvonne Well-Known Member

    Hello Snooks

    Yes he is puppy perfection. I have never had a puppy quite like him.

    He is so eager to please too.

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