Training Without Treats? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Training Without Treats?

i want to teach my dog things like drop it and leave it but he really doesnt care about treats at all, never known a dog like him just isnt bothered by food
his favourite toy is a ball on string, but im not sure how to incorporate that into his training

do i give it to him or throw it for him, how long does he get it for? these sort of things i cant find out about
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 12:12 PM
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If your dog isn't caring for the treats he isn't hungry enough. Try not feeding him a meal and using that measured amount of kibble for training. Get him hungry enough....then try working with him.
How old is your puppy?

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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 12:21 PM Thread Starter
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He has just turned a year, he has some of the basics but I want to put him to work now properly

When I say he isn't interested in food, if he doesn't want to eat he has sometimes gone for 2 days or so without interest or if I give him something really tasty

He's very healthy and fit and very spoilt, which I'm beginning to think may be part of the problem, the vet said he will be harder to train as he was hand reared from birth as his mother was hit by a car and passed
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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 12:35 PM
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Have you tried yummier treats? Cheese, chicken, hot dogs?

If those aren't tasty enough for him, then use toys instead of treats.

For drop it, give his a toy and use his ball on the string as the reward for dropping the other toy. The reward can be a couple of seconds of play with the other toy.

Leave it is the same way. Hold his toy and tell him leave it. When he relaxes and stops trying to get at the toy then his reward is a some play time with the toy (or another toy).
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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 12:38 PM
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I would say use the ball the same was as you would a treat. You'll have to go a little longer in between trys probably, but it works the same. Does it well--reward with a tug session, get the toy from him (you can use two of the same toy for this so he'll give it up), and do it over.

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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by GSDElsa View Post
I would say use the ball the same was as you would a treat. You'll have to go a little longer in between trys probably, but it works the same. Does it well--reward with a tug session, get the toy from him (you can use two of the same toy for this so he'll give it up), and do it over.
Yes, this is exactly it.

All dogs are different. Some dogs just don’t respond to food. I have one of those in my house.

Basically what you are going to do is use the toy to motivate your dog. You’ll want to use what they call “motivational” training, not “reward” training. In your case, the ball is a toy you know your dog likes so I would use that.

I assume your dog plays catch.

Start with playing catch. Holding the ball in one hand, don’t hide it from the dog. Let him/her know you have it. Ask him to sit. He sits, you’ll throw the ball. When he brings the ball back, make him drop/release the ball so you can throw again. I make Dalton put the ball in my open hand (just hate the dog slobber mixed with dirt ). You don’t have to make him sit each time before throwing the ball. At first, I only throw the ball a few times. Maybe 3-4 times. When the dog listens to me, I throw the ball. When he doesn’t, I just stand there and wait. In the beginning I try to keep it short sessions.

Praising him when he plays a good game is also important. If he sits nice and drops the ball when asked – praise. When he gets these 2 steps and starts sitting faster and dropping the ball faster you can add in additional steps. Like down, stay, come, heel, etc. Start the play sessions somewhat short and build up to longer sessions. When he listens he gets to play

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 12:52 PM
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My dogs didn't care for most treats either...not hotdogs or even chicken but they did take to little smokies and they love the home made beef crunchies.
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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 03:59 PM
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Masi is much more motivated by a toy (frisbee/tuggy) than food. She'd pick the toy over the treat any day, (and believe me I've used some YUMMY stuff, but she just prefers her toys).

I am in agreement to use that ball on a string as a reward,,I'd tease him with it, get him revved up for WANTING THAT BALL,,give him a command as in "sit", he sits,,throw the toy,,that kind of thing..

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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 04:01 PM
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Stark is not toy or food motivated at all... sucks for training.

What I find works well for him is engagement. What I mean by this is pushing him back, letting him jump on me, running from him, jumping at him and just "wrestling" with him for lack of better words.

He really craves the interaction and it seems to work.

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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 10-21-2010, 04:08 PM
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Victor is not food motivated at all. I don't train with treats anyway. It might take a little longer to learn training but I want them to do the commands to please me not to get a treat. My male dog was kept treat hungry by the training facility he came from but I kept up his training by his tennis ball. He will do anything for his tennis ball. My little one will do her training with any she is playing with a the time.

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