How to transition from food to toy reward? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 03:45 AM Thread Starter
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How to transition from food to toy reward?

Neo is 4 months and he's a great dog. He's very food motivated (as it seems normal at that age) so I train him with food.

Today I was planning tug with him and started teaching him the out command however when I said the "magic" word for him to bite again he seemed all confused as he was looking for a treat.

I had treats with me, as I was expecting that, and gave him so not to confuse him and stopped the session.

Should I go for another word for toys or is there a better way to explain to him that the toy is also a reward without confusing him?

Thanks
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 10:15 AM
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If as you said he is food driven, the switch to toy play drive takes time. He may not be toy driven. You have to find the one that works through substitution until you find what turns his drive on. My girl is very food driven, but while training I switch up from treats, praise, or toys so she knows all those things are rewards.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 10:20 AM
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I use toys AND treats!

Toys, whether you tug them or throw them, make a significant break in the training session. Whereas a quick teeny yummy treat makes it clear that was BRILLIANT and we can quickly continue.

So the toys are (for me) more of a jackpot with a break in the session and reward for good series of behaviors. And/or a great way to motive and get my dog excited about starting the training by beginning with the tugging, then train/treat/train/treat/train/treat TUG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies, I understand I should have used both. But can I add toys now? (this is what I am trying to do) or it will confuse him if I start now to tell him the marker word and not giving him treats
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-12-2014, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChouMaKen View Post
Thanks for the replies, I understand I should have used both. But can I add toys now? (this is what I am trying to do) or it will confuse him if I start now to tell him the marker word and not giving him treats
It depends on whether or not he thinks the toy is a reward. If he's not that that into tug yet, I think I'd work on that separately rather than try to integrate it into your training sessions as a reward. Once he's really into tugging you should be able to either use that or a food reward. The whole point of reward based training is to use things that the dog finds reinforcing.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 04:45 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cassidy's Mom View Post
It depends on whether or not he thinks the toy is a reward. If he's not that that into tug yet, I think I'd work on that separately rather than try to integrate it into your training sessions as a reward. Once he's really into tugging you should be able to either use that or a food reward. The whole point of reward based training is to use things that the dog finds reinforcing.

That's the main reason why I have never included toys as a reward until now since he was never toy motivated and I am working on the ball/tug separately to get him interested. But the day when he will see them as rewards wouldn't it just be confusing to him to hear the marker word and see a toy appearing instead of food ?
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-13-2014, 10:23 AM
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I'm not an expert, but here is my recent experience with my eight month old. I started out with clicker and treat to teach commands. I played tug and fetch during play time. Once my pup understood what the command was, I phased out treats and started playing mini games of tug instead. She figured it out that it was a reward. If it's something new I want to teach I use treats. If we are proofing or reinforcing we tug. In class I use both. Anything to keep her attention on me. Hope that helps. Oh and we started at 12 weeks.
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