Snatching Treats

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by Lexy88, May 3, 2011.

  1. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    So Blade my GSD isnt particularly food oriented. Hes very ho-hum about eating his meals and would rather be looking about than concentrating on me with the treats when training in areas with distractions. In normal situations, I can hand him food and he will take it very gently, even if I make him sit, down, shake etc to 'work' for it. But during an actual training session, at home, out and about, at club training, he snatches and knaws on my hand and constantly tries to grab the treats so he can then carry on looking about or doing whatever. If I ask him to do something, he does it and then is like 'right gime gime I'm actually busy' and chews on my hand. I have sore fingers and knuckles and wrists after training. I have tried with holding the treat, ie in a fist until he stops chewing my hand and just nudges and licks it. Sometimes he just doesnt even bother trying to lick though, thinking 'oh well, if I dont get the treat, then whatever, Im going over here...'. And even though I've tried being consistent and always with holding til he just licks for it, he still always starts with a big chomp. And when I with hold it - will the treat reward then be too late to have been a reinforcement for his work?
    What can I do?
    new bear likes this.

  2. Pei Pei Active Member


    I think you have two things going on at once and the pooch is getting confused as to what it is you want. if you ask him to do something and he does it he needs to get the treat immediately and not have to also work for the treat. If he is chewing on you i might try throwing the treat to the ground for him so he may be rewarded immediately.

    Then totally separate from the first trick he needs to work on a soft mouth in taking treats from you so instead of holding the treat in front of him and trying to wait until he just licks it instead of biting, I would take it away completely saying eh, eh and then reintroduce and again take it away if he is biting. and you can do this until he is just sitting and waiting for the treat. I think he should get to a point of being able to take it gently from an open hand. as to your last sentance, I believe it is too late for the reinforcement of what you had initially asked him to do. I f you liked what he did he should get the treat right away and work on the biting in a separate session.

    sandy Pei pei(y)
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  3. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    my dog started doing same thing!! (cuz my guy kept holding onto pieces of steak "to make him taste it"...facepalm!) so now Buddy got idea he has to work hard to get treats....yes, yes, i've begun training on my guy, ha ha!!

    Pei Pet has good advice.
    I had to teach Buddy (after my guy got him messed up) to have soft mouth all over again, i held treats in closed hand, and he only got it when he QUIT trying to be grabby.

    Have you tried my recipe for treats yet? i promise, your dog will like it.
  4. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    Hey - I have put the ingredients on my next shopping list to give it a whirl =)

    The problem is, he WILL take food very gently, always, when we are not training. As soon he realises we are 'learning' something, he just snatches. He just goes into over drive, if you know what I mean, brain working like crazy.

    Its actually saveloy, not sausage to be totally correct, so not spicey at all =) Nice and greasy and smelly. The treats are about 1cm cubed?
  5. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I think Sandy has given you great advice. I agree that you have two separate issues going on. When Blade does what you ask of him, he needs his reward immediately - if you withhold, what will he learn from that? He'll get frustrated, and figure why bother?? Until he's developed a 'soft' mouth, I'd reward him every single time by tossing his reward on the floor - that will give him a moment to 'reset', and he won't be able to practice his snatchy grabbing. In separate sessions, work with him on taking treats gently. That's it - that's the lesson. Taking treats gently. No treat until he takes it gently - then loads and loads of praise. Make that a whole separate session, just like you were training a trick. He'll get it. Does he know "leave it/take it" (from your hand)? You might start there - and if you use a clicker, maybe if you 'click' when he's gently taking a treat from you (when you're only working on him taking treats), he'll more quickly understand the concept. Try different things, and see what he responds to. Again, just like any other session, keep it short. You want to give him time to think about it - think about what's getting him that treat.
    Dodge, sara and tigerlily46514 like this.
  6. sara Moderator

    Oliver can get a bit this way, not as bad as Blade, but my fingers do feel a tad raw after a training session. To combat this, I usually just toss the treat on the floor, or at him to catch... unless we're doing an exercise like heeling, where it needs to be delivered to mouth, at that point, I do not correct the snatching, but do my best to minimize contact with teeth. I cup my fingers instead of pinch the treat. He otherwise takes treats very gently.
  7. Pei Pei Active Member

    Tiger Lily

    What recipe are you talking about ???:rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes: I have one from the site but not sure who put it out there with chicken liver, yellow and green veggies. Sounds like your are talking about one with sausage here. I LOVE :) making training treat for that the dogs.

    My two now don't grab, but I have had them be grabby in the past only I didn't know what to do with them and I agree that using a clicker would be the most effective way and tossing them on the ground. But last weekend I taught my daughter Rhodesian to stop being grabby and he got it just like that. I held my hand closed and if he started to grab I took it away and said eh eh and did it again and again until he just stopped and I opened my hand and gave it to him and pretty much then I could just let him have it out of my open hand.

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  8. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    Great advice from everyone!!

    The treats i am talking about ARE the 3 ingredient treats that you mention, so far, i have not yet had ANY dog refuse them or dislike them, in fact, most dogs go nutters for them:

    see, i used to use store bought dog treats, til i learned more. shiver! now i cringe at what i fed my dog....but, I'M LEARNING!!! Thanks to eveyrone here!!
  9. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    Hello - just a quick update. Currently I am dropping Blade's treats onto the ground straight away as a reward while we are training, and as a seperate session, asking him to take treats gently. He IS taking them gently no probs. So my hands/wrists are feeling fine at the moment! :)
    abby_someone, Dodge and Pei Pei like this.
  10. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Good job, keep up the good work!! Clicks and chocolate to you!! :p
  11. mewzard Experienced Member

    I swear thats a GSD trait - "yeah mum, blah blah blah, ok sit, gimme gimme, blaah blah, oh bird..."

    Oka can be grabby too I just feed her like a horse during those times (flat hand), I like her excited to work so give way to the grabbiness a little - generally i throw the treats to her and she catches them.
    She can be hard to excite, she is always checking the area so i like when she is excited and concentrating on me. She also does the "give it! i was looking at something!" and snatches - i like to yelp and pull my hand away and offer it again - often Oka is more gentle the 2nd time - maybe Blade doesn't realise he's hurting you? He obviously can have a soft mouth so maybe he's not cottoned on that it hurts.

    Glad that you've got something thats working for you at the moment.:)
    Dodge and Lexy88 like this.
  12. lyka_01 Well-Known Member

    Your dog just love his treats so much it makes him too excited to eat it! I say give him lots and lots of treats! :p

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  13. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    Update time :)

    With seperate 'no snatching' sessions, during other training sessions, Blade is being much much more gentle with taking treats. Hooray! He might be a bit grabby 20% of the time? when he gets a bit carried away. Otherwise, we are doing ok! (y)
    Dodge likes this.
  14. sara Moderator

    Sounds like you're doing FANTASTIC! and well on your way to having a dog with a nice gentle mouth... now if I could just stop Mouse from chomping down on fingers of everyone but me, we'll be happy! (I tell people who want to give her a treat that she's a shark, and to toss the treat on the floor if they dont want to have her "shark attack" their fingers! LOL
    Dodge likes this.
  15. Lexy88 Well-Known Member

    I always say, its people training! not dog training! I am in the process of training my boyfriend lol not to wind Blade up and let him snatch/run about inside/generally be a big doofus.

    Slightly off topic, got Blade and mum's dogs some lamb hearts in the groceries today, as a treat. Mum's labs inhaled theirs. Blade took his and then was like "pah! Yuck! What the HECK is THAT! Ew ew ew ewwwwww". And wanted to pick it up and eat it just because Mum's dogs were hovering about but everytime he did, he was all grossed out. I had to hand it to him a few times to encourage him and he finally...slowly...ate it. Haha pathetic.:LOL:
    Dodge likes this.
  16. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Glad to hear the "no snatching" sessions are going so well - it's nice to have fingers left at the end of the day, isn't it? :p Keep up the good work!

    So funny about the lamb hearts -- I love your description "Ew ew ew ewwwwww" :LOL: I sat here and cracked up!! Well, ya know, we're like that too. Someone's treat is another one's EWWWW!!!! He was probably thinkin', well, ok, I guess I'll eat this cuz she looks so proud of it and I do love her and I don't want to hurt her feelings, but I sure hope she never brings this junk home again - EWWW! So cute. I hope you gave him a few brownie points for trying!!
    Dodge likes this.
  17. Dodge Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm,just thinking whether using treats that are of low interest during training sessions would make him less likely to snatch,not everytime you give him a treat,maybe every other time,so he wont know when the good stuff is coming ;)
    Mind you,it sounds like you ve come a long way and he s getting sooo much better,well done you (y)

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