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Old 08-24-2011, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Nosework: No Interest in Reward

I started a K9 Nosework class with Jazz and when I'm done that we are going to get started on tracking since there are way more tracking classes offered in my area with different skill levels.

In my Nosework class, the instructor told us to find a high value toy that our dogs get excited about as a reward for locating the item/person etc.... My problem is that Jazz doesn't get excited about any toys. He does have toys he plays with at home but only on his terms. If I try and engage him in play with the toy, he's not very interested most of the time. The only thing that gets him excited is playing with me. I'll shove him around and he loves it! The instructor really pushed finding a toy though. What are your thoughts? Why can't playing with me be the reward if that is what he loves? I bought a squeaker toy that I can put treats in hoping the the smell of the dried liver might excited him more so we'll see.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:07 AM   #2 (permalink)
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My thought is that you should use whatever is rewarding for your dog. If for her the highest reward is playing with you, then that is what I would use.

All dogs are different, hate to see this kind of rigid thinking. Some dogs are motivated to work for a toy, some for your attention, some for food rewards. I think almost anyone else here would love to have a dog like Jazz, where YOU are the highest value reward and will work for to please you!

You can keep looking for a toy that she would like if you want, but I'd stick with what works for Jazz, and sounds like you already know what that is.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Lucia, that's what I was thinking too but I didn't understand why the toy was being pushed so much. What I ended up doing in class last week was hold the toy but shove him around and rile him up so the instructor thought he was getting excited for the toy, lol.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with Lucia that you need to use the reward that works.

I'm wondering why your instructor is putting so much emphasis on a toy reward when everything I've read (and our instructor) advocates rewarding directly at the source which would be hard to do with a toy.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:34 AM   #5 (permalink)
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You might ask your instructor why she is pushing for a toy reward. That would be the best place to get your answer. You might now agree with her and might have to find an alternative, but at least you would better understand her reasons.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gsdraven View Post
I agree with Lucia that you need to use the reward that works.

I'm wondering why your instructor is putting so much emphasis on a toy reward when everything I've read (and our instructor) advocates rewarding directly at the source which would be hard to do with a toy.
I did ask the instructor but he was a little difficult to understand. I think his thinking though was that the reward should be special so a toy that only makes an appearance when doing nosework. I don't think the playing was perceived as being special because we can play anytime. That's what I believe he was getting at, but like I said, I was having trouble understanding him because he was rambling and I was having difficulty disecting the info.
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Old 08-24-2011, 09:49 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I would imagine many of these folks come from training detection dogs (history) and a toy driven dog is generally considered preferable and has a higher drive.

Food is problematic in that it "contaminates" the source more than a toy and is hard to dispense from a distance etc. Some argue a food driven dog does not have as much drive - but not even going there right now as this is a fun sport not a working venue.

I was actually going to suggest getting him excited about playing with a toy filled tug (they sell them at agility supply sites and elite k9 to get a food driven dog into the tug) - you play with tug at the aid, and mutually tear it open to get at the food (away from the training aid) to reward the dog.....we are trying that with a young dog on our team who is extremely food driven.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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For dogs that will work better for food rewards, we're using these: Clean Run: Food Tubes

They can be bounced off where the odor source is, right in front of the dog's nose, which is how our trainer (former military detection dog trainer) likes to reward. Then he picks it up and dispenses some treats out of it for the dog.



You can buy these at Home Depot or any other hardware store.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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We have a shiloh on our team - excellent trailing dog - handler who is very good realizes we need something "different" for cadaver work and even air scent. Actually she is training a second shiloh in trailing. Both do very well.
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:22 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
For dogs that will work better for food rewards, we're using these: Clean Run: Food Tubes

They can be bounced off where the odor source is, right in front of the dog's nose, which is how our trainer (former military detection dog trainer) likes to reward. Then he picks it up and dispenses some treats out of it for the dog.



You can buy these at Home Depot or any other hardware store.
Those look cool. I'll check it out for sure.

I'm curious to see how he does with the Nosework and tracking. He has a lot of energy so I'm trying to focus that energy into both a physical and mental activity. I'm enjoying it so far as well which is good.

In the achievement section of the ISSDC website, there's not a lot of Shilohs listed in Tracking and Agility. Folks seem to stick to herding and therapy. I'd like to see more Shiloh folks get their dogs titled in these sports so I'm going to enroll Jazz and see how he does. I think he'd do great at Agility. It's too soon to tell yet with the Nosework.
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Last edited by fuzzybunny; 08-24-2011 at 10:27 AM.
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