Welcome to December’s Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Cascadian Nomads, Dachshund Nola & Tenacious Little Terrier. Our December theme is rewards but any posts about positive training are welcome.
Every dog has their own hierarchy of rewards. The majority of dogs find food enticing but there’s also toys, petting and praise, and life rewards (being allowed to sniff, play with other dogs, going outside etc).
Mr. N has a lot of prey drive. When we do lure coursing, there’s no need to reward him for a successful run. He finds chasing after the bag itself highly satisfying. Usually the problem is getting dogs to leave the lure! For dogs who are highly prey motivated, they make fur tugs. Sometimes if Mr. N is being good and if I’m in a situation to do so, I’ll let him go chase squirrels/rabbits/birds.
When I trained Mr. N to walk on a loose leash when we first adopted him, I trained him using the “be a tree” method. We would just stop whenever he pulled and sometimes walk in the opposite direction. I didn’t train him to walk nicely on a leash using food because he would have eaten his weight in food (we stopped… a lot!) and I didn’t want to be bending down every five seconds. Instead, he was rewarded with being able to walk forward and sniff.
It took two frustrating weeks but now he walks very nicely. He still sometimes has trouble controlling himself around horses though. But we see horses so rarely, it’s not worth trying to train separately.
Some dogs really love toys but Mr. N has never had that much toy drive. He likes to play with toys on his terms on his time. He enjoys trying to steal Sage’s toys though. I’d like to try training him with a food jackpot toy sometime.
We mainly train using food because it’s easy and reliable. Mr. N has high standards and will only work for at least medium value treats. He will not work for kibble or biscuits or fruits/vegetables reliably. He gets small, soft treats (like Cloud Star, Real Meat, or think!dog) for clicker training and freeze-dried treats, cheese, liver and various meats for more difficult tasks like recall and ignoring other dogs.
|I hate bending down umpteenth times so I’ve trained Mr. N to lean on me/or other people for treat delivery|
When you train your dog with rewards, they love to work. I was clicker training Mr. N in the living room, and the boyfriend interrupted to ask a question. I turned towards him and was answering when Mr. N picks up the clicker and slams it in my hand. And looks at me as if to say, “this is my training time and you should only be paying attention to me!”
I guess when we expect our dogs to solely concentrate on us during training and ignore distractions, they expect the same courtesy!
Next month will be the one year anniversary of our positive pet training hop. Please join us on January 5th to share training ideas and goals as well as entering to win an anniversary giveaway.