Food drive - too high? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 03:54 PM Thread Starter
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Food drive - too high?

I'm hoping to get into some classes in the new year. In the meantime, I want to do some tricks and practice Sprocket's OB. He's generally well behaved, and learned well using a clicker... but I've noticed that as he got older, his food drive grew and he has almost no attention for ME if there are treats out. At the dog park, he identifies humans with treats and begs incessantly (worse if they're "nice" and give him any), and it's the only time he ever ignores MY commands (down, come, etc.)

I've struggled to shape or even lure more complicated tricks with him - he seems so focused on the food (even low value kibble or similar) that he has no idea where is body is. I gave up trying to teach "bow" when I couldn't even shape/lure a nod of his head. Typically if there are treats in my hands or he knows we're "working", he starts offering all his behaviours (sit, down, roll either direction, eye contact, shake either front paw), and ends with sitting and intense focus on me (I try not to wear a treat pouch, as he focuses entirely on that instead).

If I, for example, ask for a down (even with a hand signal as well as the verbal), he downs and then rolls - when I say 'oops' (his no-reward marker), he rolls the other way and sits up, paws at me... On the other hand, if we're not working/there are no treats, he will down pretty quickly on just the verbal command. I recognize that means I need to proof these commands, but I guess I need suggestions?

He's not particularly interested in a ball or tug - not enough for it to be a reward. Is there a way to actually lower his food drive? Do I just need to be more patient? I try to be calm and quiet during training, as he gets frenetic - should I be more energetic instead?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-06-2011, 04:01 PM
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I don't think you need to lower it. Are you sure the click is maker? Possible you're moving your hand to treat before or at the click? Timing is critical in marker training. The treats should be out of the picture until a second or so after the mark

To lower his food drive, just feed him and then train. I don't think this is needed though

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 12-07-2011, 01:37 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunterisgreat View Post
I don't think you need to lower it. Are you sure the click is maker? Possible you're moving your hand to treat before or at the click? Timing is critical in marker training. The treats should be out of the picture until a second or so after the mark
Thanks Hunter. I've recently started trying to leave the treats completely off my person - they sit in a bowl on the bookshelf, and I don't hold any in my hand. After clicking, we go together to the treats (which are like 2 steps away - tiny apartment ). If I'm not luring him, I try to keep my hands behind my back.

So... it's possible that I'm moving. I'm not 100% good about hands behind back. Moving for the treats before the click was a side effect of having a bait bag on, another good reason not to wear it. I think I'm doing much better without treats in my hands at all, though I suppose I could still be starting to shift my weight toward the bookcase? I'll try to watch myself.

I've watched a bunch of YouTube videos. For example, this one:

The dog in the video is pretty calm - standing still, watching trainer and the object. If I were to do that, Sprocket would be jumping and bouncing all over the place - back and forth between on the couch, nose in my hand/lap/pocket... I might be lucky to get him to even look at the object, let alone nose it! If I touch it, or point to it, he follows my hand with no regard for anything else, and he desperately searches for the treat he's sure is hidden between my fingers.

Is there something I can/should be doing to help him focus less on the fact that there IS food, and more on how to GET it?
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