training without treats - resources? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 10:14 PM Thread Starter
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training without treats - resources?

Hi all, I am wondering if anyone has any resources/books to recommend regarding dog training without treats but without strong arm tactics.

I have collected several dog training books on clicker training, and also the Koheler book, but would like to find a happy medium where praise and voice variations are used in training rather than treats or force.

Any books, website links etc. would be great, thanks..

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 10:21 PM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

Have you looked through any of Patricia McConnell's books?

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 10:48 PM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

i did a lot of training without treats. i gave my dog lots of praise
and petting. i just recently taught my dog to heel. i didn't use a lot of treats. he learned to heel just as easily without treats
as did other things with treats. my dog is 22 months old so
that might have something to do with him learning without treats.

i also just taught him within the last two weeks
to take the mail from the mail man and bring it to the house. there were no treats use in teaching him this. he learned to bring
the mail to the house in what seemed like a couple of tries.

i think praise and petting goes a long way.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 11:01 PM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

Treats are used in training because food is a very strong primary reinforcer so food works well and works with the vast majority of animals.

Some other reinforcers are play/toys, chasing prey, and touch (petting.)


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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 11:07 PM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

I start with a lot of treats and end up with none at the end of training. Call it clicker with my voice.
I continually taper treats until I don't need them.
My youngest foster, Tasha, is completely unmotivated by food. She responds best by excited voice reward, and by allowing her to move on to a new task. She is very "busy"

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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-25-2009, 11:38 PM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: UcdcrushHi all, I am wondering if anyone has any resources/books to recommend regarding dog training without treats ....
why no treats? what are you going to use for a reward?

you can click, you can use your voice, you can do all sorts of things in place of treats, but much of it will depend on what motivates your dog. So take those clicker books, and use those, just don't use the treats. And when you find that you aren't getting the results as quick as you want and as stable as you would like, then reevaluate your reward system.


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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 12:49 AM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

i know treats work well with training. i also know you can do some
or lots of training without treats. i agree with your list of reinforcers. praise and petting works well also.

you said "food works well and works with the vast
majority of animals". what do you think
of just praise and petting?? in the begining of training
i always use treats, praise and petting. after the dog learns some things i find it easy to train them a certain thing without treats.

i guess it's different for all dogs. stepping away from
the norm in training methods can work (sometimes).
Quote:
Originally Posted By: ChicagocanineTreats are used in training because food is a very strong primary reinforcer so food works well and works with the vast majority of animals.

Some other reinforcers are play/toys, chasing prey, and touch (petting.)
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 03:56 AM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

You can modify the clicker methods to work with whatever motivates your dog - food is not absolutely necessary, it is just a high motivator to many dogs and therefore is a great reward (and quick and easy for us humans).

The idea behind rewarding is to give your dog something they want - something THEY find rewarding. The majority of dogs like food, especially really good treats. Some dogs work very well for a chance to chase a ball or a game of tug. Some will work for praise and petting. But in my experience, the value of the reward can make a big difference in the overall enthusiasm of the dog and also in long-term continuance of a behavior. Those of us who compete have found that dogs who are primarily trained with a lower level of rewards tend to be less consistent long-term in the competition ring.

You can also substitute your voice for the clicker. I use a specific word said in a specific way (ALWAYS the same) as my reward marker (in place of a click). I say "YESSS!" in an excited voice. If your timing is good, the vocal reward marker can work every bit as good as a clicker. And then that reward marker is always followed by a reward (whatever is appropriate for the dog I'm working with).

Good luck with whatever method you choose. Personally I think that the Koehler book is only good as toilet paper .. *L*

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 12:36 PM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: UcdcrushHi all, I am wondering if anyone has any resources/books to recommend regarding dog training without treats but without strong arm tactics.
toy

steve

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-26-2009, 04:55 PM
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Re: training without treats - resources?

Aloha, for me, it seems there are two activites here:
1: assigning a word for a behavior. For Rasa that comes through repetition. Once you know the dog knows the word/behavior I move to----

2: Getting the dog to obey and do the behavior. That will come with the treats, bribes, cohersion, etc. as described above. I generally do a praise and petting after a successful obedience and never a treat. I set myself up for a success when I know Rasa will obey the command, (such as "stay"), then release her by "ok" when I see she is squirming a bit. (release is very important as I think you can teach almost anything to the dog as long as they know it is not forever and a bummer). I vary the locations and lengths of commands, (so she does not associate for example "stay", with stopping and waiting when next to my car or steps or fridge, etc. I basically have done NO formal obedience sessions and have the results I want. And I am a newbie, and not anyway the professional caliber of many members on this board. And I use positive only and can count on my one hand the number of times I have had to use the word "NO".


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