How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

I have an 80 lb 6 mos old male puppy (yes- 80 lbs already) who has very big and strong teeth. I want him to take his treats gently, and have tried, but I inevitably get bit in the process and it hurts!! I have tried using the words "ouch" and "gently" and not give him when he is not, so now he is very gently right up until the very last nanosecond, and then he chomps down on the treat AND my hand or my palm. He is a very intense dog. How do I teach him to take them gently?
Thank you!
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 02:01 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

I have heard about people using gloves to be able to control the treat up until the last second without the fear of being bitten. Then in time he will learn that if he doesn't take it softly he will not get it.

I like to put a slice of cheese between two fingers and make an angle with the fingers so and just give him a tiny bit at a time - not sure if I explained that very well but the idea is that he nips it with his front teeth and doesn't open his mounth very much (hence can't really bite). I also sometimes put treats in the back of my hand and the only way he can get it is to use his tongue to get it out.

My dog is the same age and size as yours so but I started really early training him for this. Even now when he gets exited it looks like he is going to eat your hand but in the last second he takes it really gently.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 02:08 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

Look up "Bite Inhibition" I think that will help you.

Here's a link concerning it on this board.
https://www.germanshepherds.com/forum...e=1#Post153716
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 02:25 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

This is what i do.
I hold the treat in my hand and start to put it in front of his nose,if he try to bite/eat i pull the treat away.
Then i try again,this time i say "nice" and put the treat in front of him slowly,if he takes it nicely then say "nice"(or you can say whatever you want),if not,take the treat away.Repeat again.
Also,it is easier to put him in a sit or down position,then you can give him the treat slowly and say"nice".
I had the same problem with Annie and now she is very gentle.I can hold a treat with my teeth and she just takes it very nicely.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 02:34 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

You may want to work on a "nice" or "easy" command with your pup first. When we say "easy", Elmo knows he has to be gentle. I'd start working on it with a toy first. Give him a toy while saying easy. If he takes it gently, praise him. If not, take it back and work on it again.

Then, move over to feeding treats by hand while saying easy. Until then, you may want to just drop the treat on the floor as you work with him so you don't get chomped!
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-11-2008, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

Great ideas everyone! Thanks!
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2008, 07:51 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

What I did with Mollie (though she's a beagle) was to hold the treat firmly so there's no way she could get it unless I wanted her to. Present it to her and as soon as her head moves towards it, yank my hand away, no treat! Sometimes a sharp "AH AH" helps As soon as she let me present the treat to her without her attempting to bite it, I'd give it to her really quickly (almost stuffing it in her mouth for her) before she could grab for it.

ETA: Now she will actually turn her head away from the treat like "Huh? what treat? I don't see a treat? I didn't even notice it...Oh for me why tha*gobble* ou"

It worked for me, but she is still grabby with everyone else on earth.

Brenna: GSD Born 7/16/06
Mollie: Beagle
Fezzik: GSD/Husky/Golden?
Chewy: Shih tzu/Yorkie
Crunchy: Pug/Schnauzer?
Monty: GSD born 5/24/14
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2008, 09:13 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

Instead of taking the treat away (which is exactly what the dog fears, or at least expects, and why they tend to be so grabby), I show the dog that he has to EARN the treat by being gentle.

Take a high value treat that you can cut into a strip. A piece of cheese, deli meat, or dehydrated meat snack. (I like Merrick lamb lung for this). Put most of it in your palm, close your palm, so that a teeny tiny bit of it is sticking out by your thumb and index finger. Show your hand to your dog. If he gently nuzzles your hand or does nothing, immediately give him the treat. If he mouths your hand, hold tight on to the treat, and tell him Gentle.

Let him work at it. At first, he'll probably be pretty assertive (and your hand will get banged up). Keep telling him Gentle. But he's aiming for such a tiny piece, that eventually, he'll just use his tongue or lips. When you get ONLY lips and tongue (no teeth or jaw), immediately hand him the snack. Repeat about 5 times. Then stop for that session.

Don't attach this to any other training. Just do it a couple times a day. Whenever you want to give him a treat otherwise, put it on a plate (or if you don't mind your dog eating off the floor, you can put it on the floor), make him wait, then release him to eat it. In other words, he doesn't eat unless he shows patience every time he gets a snack.

Yes, you're going to have to slow down on training sits/downs/etc for a day or so.

Within a few days, your dog will be taking treats gently out of your hand, because he knows that the ONLY way to get your hand to open is for him to gently take them. There is NO other way. (You can then start to refine his approach further. Smaller treats and treats from a more open hand or just your fingertips, whatever.)

You note I don't ever use the word "no." The pup just doesn't get what he wants. Our puppies are smart. They do what works for them. Every time. As long as we're consistent too.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2008, 09:30 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

3K is on the money. Even with Greedy Barker the Younger - a closed fist with a treat = gentle but persistent nuzzling. Did not have to train this at all.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-16-2008, 08:24 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog to take treats nicely?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: 3K9Mommost of it in your palm, close your palm, so that a teeny tiny bit of it is sticking out by your thumb and index finger. Show your hand to your dog. If he gently nuzzles your hand or does nothing, immediately give him the treat. If he mouths your hand, hold tight on to the treat, and tell him Gentle.
I was in my friend's store one Saturday and a couple came in with a darling Husky pup. I asked if I could give him a treat and they said sure, but he'll rip your hand off. So I asked if I could give him a few treats and try something.
3rd treat he used only his nose to nudge and lips to take. 4th treat was from my open hand with nothing but lips.

Of course the first 2 treats left my hand a bit marked but the delight in the owners eyes was worth the 'wounds'.

Our dogs are smart and will often work things out in their own way, if we can take the time and the wounds to let it happen

Dante - March 2004
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"Today is tomorrow's time machine" ~ Dr G ~
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