Catching something off her nose - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Catching something off her nose

In the past, I would put a treat on the dogs nose and they would start by leaning their head forward and letting it slide off. The dogs always just started to flip it up in the air and catch it getting praise and we went from there.

What happens when I try to put a treat (or hot dog, or cheese, etc) on Mandi's nose? She lays down and pulls away. She does not want me to lay the treat on her nose. I was holding her head still under her chin, but she still pulls away, lays down on her side, and refuses to do this.

Ideas or suggestions?

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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 02:43 PM
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Re: Catching something off her nose

If it were me I'd probably just leave it for now and try again when she's older.
I'm of the mind that if Dante really doesn't want to do a trick I just leave it (for him it's roll-over, it's obvious he really doesn't like to do it)

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-17-2009, 06:31 PM
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Re: Catching something off her nose

You could start by teaching her that a treat near her nose is a GOOD thing - right now it sounds like she's seeing it as something to be avoided (laying down and pulling away).

So you break down the behavior into tiny steps. Step one would probably be just bringing the treat to her nose and maybe lightly touching her nose with the treat - when you do that immediately say "yess!!" in a happy voice and then toss the treat for her. If you toss it slightly upwards, she will have to grab upwards for it (which helps develop the movement she will eventually need for flipping it off her nose).

Once she's eager about you bringing the treat to her nose, you want to increase the time you touch her nose by a second or so. Keep the increase in time very short at first! Smile as you're doing this, tell her she's a good girl and if she does pull her nose away, then you're probably asking for too long and you need to go back to the first step for a while. If you can touch the treat to her nose for one second, say "YESS!" and toss the treat again. Continue to build the time the treat is at her nose - maybe up to five seconds or so.

Separately you should teach her "stay" or "wait" (whatever you use that means "don't move"). This has always helped me with dogs that I'm teaching the nose/biscuit trick to. When you get to the point where you want to set the treat on her nose and remove your fingers, telling her "stay" is going to really help her understand that she's not to move. When you do remove your fingers, keep your hand right near her nose (if you try to move your hand away too quickly, she will probably get confused). Gradually work the behavior until you can take your hand all the way away.

You might need to keep one hand under her chin to keep her from just dropping the treat, but again if that makes her want to pull away you need to gradually train her to accept your hand without moving. Do this separately and do it just like you did with the touching of the nose - bring your hand under her chin slightly and then say "YEss!" when she doesn't move and reward with a treat. Gradually build it up until you can put your hand firmly under her chin and she just stays there and lets you hold her chin.

Almost all behaviors can be taught if they're broken down into little steps and each step rewarded. It helps the dogs understand what you want when you do it tiny bit by tiny bit - kind of like teaching a child what 1, 2 and 3 mean before expecting them to add the numbers together.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-18-2009, 09:35 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Catching something off her nose

Wow, Melanie. I never thought of doing it like that. It is going to take some time, but I think I'll try it that way. Thanks!

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-20-2009, 01:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Catching something off her nose

Well, last night I cut up a block of cheese and stood in front of Mandi. I poked her in the nose with the cheese and then gave it to her.

She looked confused. So I did it a few more times. After about 10 pieces or so she started to open her mouth after I'd touch her nose with the cheese.

Hmmm. Not what I was going for so I started to touch her nose with the cheese, WHILE putting my hand on her chin. She stopped opening her mouth but seemed confused again as she was taking the cheese very cautiously, like I was going to take it away or something.

After about 10 minutes I stopped and started to put it all away. She came over and something told me she was not done with this training session yet so I started up again. This time I would touch the cheese to the top of her nose and leave it there for a second before handing it to her, all the while leaving my hand under her chin.

Then, for giggles, I decided to put the cheese on her nose and take my hand away, leaving the cheese there. She almost took my hand off!! She flipped her head and chomped her mouth so fast I barely got my fingers away in time. BUT....she caught the cheese!! So I got all excited and yayed her hugged her.

She looked at me emotionless like I was a freaking moron. I think she actually wrinkled her eyebrows at me wondering what the heck I was up to.

Anyway. After about 20 minutes or so she had the idea. In a few days, after I am positive that she has this down, I am going to work on the wait command with it so she understands she does not have to be the cheese catching version of a quickshooter.

Thanks for your help!!

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-21-2009, 02:30 AM
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Re: Catching something off her nose

Wow, sounds like Mandi really figured it out fast! You'll probably see some wavering in what she does for a while as I'm sure she doesn't have it down yet, but that's great advancement for a short training session.

You may also find that when you add in the "wait" she may start acting like she's unhappy - stopping or holding a behavior is difficult for many dogs. It may help to use something else on her nose for the "wait", like a little block of wood, and then give her the treat separately. Once she will hold the block of wood consistently (for a few seconds or so) you can transfer back to using the cheese on her nose. That will help take the temptation of grabbing the item on her nose at first so you can actually get some "wait" training done.

Dogs are pretty basic animals and can learn SO many things if we stop to break them down into tiny steps and work on the steps. Once you got Mandi past the worry stage (worrying about putting something on her nose) and she discovered that the treat was there, she did really well. You can think of this when you go to teach her anything else. If she acts reluctant, you break down the behavior into tiny steps (even to the point of rewarding when she looks in the right direction for some behaviors) and then gradually build until you have the behavior you want.

Understanding dog training is an art .. *L* .. like learning a different language!

Melanie and the gang in Alaska

Positive 1ST! More reward, less correction makes a GREAT trainer.
Chows: Khana CD RE SD & Dora NA NAJ GSD: Tazer SDIT
RIP *Trick*Kylee*Dawson*Lady*
Total of 2UDs 3CDXs 12CDs 2REs 8AgilityTitles 1BH Chow!
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