Loose leash walking (Kikopup) - When to start giving less treats? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 08:34 AM Thread Starter
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Loose leash walking (Kikopup) - When to start giving less treats?

I recently started doing the loose leash walking method that Kikopup shows in videos on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?featur...&v=sFgtqgiAKoQ):
rewarding with treats when dog is walking on a loose leash, somewhat heeling, and doing rewarding often (as in video). I also say "let´s go" and that means we go with a loose leash and no stopping and sniffing. On command I allow her stop and sniff, then I stop and let her go and sniff as she pleases and I just follow.

This is actually going very well on regular walks but I am giving her a big amount of food when doing this (got the whole pocket full of food). I have done this only a few days now and I wonder when you should start giving less and less food? How long does it take? I dont want to be a food-machine but I also want her to learn this once and for all. I did this once before, last summer maybe, but then I guess I stopped giving her treats too soon for behaving, because it obviously didnt work out for us back then.

Anyone done this method with success? When did you start giving less and less food for right/good behaviour?

(Didnt find any good answer about this when searching, and didnt also find any email to kikopup herself, but I bet I wouldnt get an answer anyway.)
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 09:52 AM
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There have been some good discussions in here relating to the question you pose....one that comes to mind was one debating whether or not the human becoming a
" Pez dispenser" is productive over the long haul. I am now of the mindset that teaching and using a food treat has merit in the beginning or for teaching new behaviors....once they know the behavior, one needs to move on and either be more sporadic with the food rewards or better yet replace the reward with something else. This forum and some members helped me out in this department significantly as I was basically creating a pup which would work for food and not for me. I'm probably going to state this wrong and hopefully the shrewd handlers and trainers will explain the process better than I will.

IMO, the process of fading a food reward and moving on so one doesn't have to have a pocket full of raw beef all the time to have a dog which abides, is indulging the dog in other fashions which captures the dog's focus as attention is directed toward you. The process I used, started replacing food rewards with forms of engagement which the dog thoroughly enjoyed....such as a simple game of tug. Then it grew into this process of using the dog's anticipation as well as heightening it. This probably created the biggest step away from the use of food treats to get results....wish I had known this earlier in the process. Today I just say " you wanna train?" and the dog is on line in a heartbeat...because the dog knows where this verbal cue is going to end up...granted it's not instant gratification for the dog but that's fine by me as I get such better results from the dog's anticipation of what "you wanna train " translates to the dog.

I'll bring a tug toy or tennis ball with me sometimes when we go for a bike ride most everyday....weather and street conditions ( ice/snow ) permitting. We will train off leash at a park sometimes during our bike ride trek and I swear the potential promise of this training session with some tug play or other engagement as her reward is more potent than any food scrap I have ever used.

It takes some time but once you start to dial in on what makes your dog tick and you create this synergy between you and the dog, obedience, engagement, reward and corrections along with the dog's anticipation...you'll have a dog which does it by the numbers so much more effectively and reliably than a dog which simply works for food.


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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:00 AM
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Wean off give on a variable schedule. -3 steps then 5 then 2 then 7 then then 1 then 4 then 5 then 6 then 2 then 1 then 1 then 5 then 6 then 2 then 3 then 1 ect ect ect

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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:29 AM Thread Starter
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There have been some good discussions in here relating to the question you pose....one that comes to mind was one debating whether or not the human becoming a
" Pez dispenser" is productive over the long haul. I am now of the mindset that teaching and using a food treat has merit in the beginning or for teaching new behaviors....once they know the behavior, one needs to move on and either be more sporadic with the food rewards or better yet replace the reward with something else. This forum and some members helped me out in this department significantly as I was basically creating a pup which would work for food and not for me. I'm probably going to state this wrong and hopefully the shrewd handlers and trainers will explain the process better than I will.

IMO, the process of fading a food reward and moving on so one doesn't have to have a pocket full of raw beef all the time to have a dog which abides, is indulging the dog in other fashions which captures the dog's focus as attention is directed toward you.

The process I used, started replacing food rewards with forms of engagement which the dog thoroughly enjoyed....such as a simple game of tug. Then it grew into this process of using the dog's anticipation as well as heightening it. This probably created the biggest step away from the use of food treats to get results....wish I had known this earlier in the process. Today I just say " you wanna train?" and the dog is on line in a heartbeat...because the dog knows where this verbal cue is going to end up...granted it's not instant gratification for the dog but that's fine by me as I get such better results from the dog's anticipation of what "you wanna train " translates to the dog.

I'll bring a tug toy or tennis ball with me sometimes when we go for a bike ride most everyday....weather and street conditions ( ice/snow ) permitting. We will train off leash at a park sometimes during our bike ride trek and I swear the potential promise of this training session with some tug play or other engagement as her reward is more potent than any food scrap I have ever used.

It takes some time but once you start to dial in on what makes your dog tick and you create this synergy between you and the dog, obedience, engagement, reward and corrections along with the dog's anticipation...you'll have a dog which does it by the numbers so much more effectively and reliably than a dog which simply works for food.


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Thanks. You dont, by any chance, remember in what threads these things were discussed?

Otherwise I tug with my dog as an reward. Tugs and balls means everything for her. I also use a word like "ready!?" when we start training obedience for example. I also always have a toy with me in my other pocket which I use if we stop to do some obedience. I also let her carry toy the whole walk sometime (started another thread some time ago about this).

I have difficulties atm to connect these two kinds of training though, because the dog doesnt have to be in drive and all ready to work when doing regular walks, I just want her to walk with loose leash without stopping every 5 metres to sniff and not pulling (shes not a heavy puller in normal walk situations though)/not keeping the leash straight when walking. I think I undestand what you meant though. Perhaps in the very end when I have gotten off the treats (with method as the member above posted?) I can simply give the tug as an reward, but that doesnt mean she can suddenly break the behaviour the rest of the walk..

Last edited by Factor; 03-02-2016 at 10:33 AM.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:32 AM Thread Starter
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Wean off give on a variable schedule. -3 steps then 5 then 2 then 7 then then 1 then 4 then 5 then 6 then 2 then 1 then 1 then 5 then 6 then 2 then 3 then 1 ect ect ect
Thanks, feeling somewhat stupid of not thinking about this. Different variables and sometime many steps between and sometimes less. Later on just increasing the steps and less and less treat-reward. (y) But I guess I start doing this when I notice she gets what I want and offers it..
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 10:53 AM
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Thanks, feeling somewhat stupid of not thinking about this. Different variables and sometime many steps between and sometimes less. Later on just increasing the steps and less and less treat-reward. (y) But I guess I start doing this when I notice she gets what I want and offers it..
Yes slowly stretch it out and sessions do not have to be long.

Another thought depending on what you're feeding you can also use her meals as reward --so not feeding her out of the bowl she gets some parts of a dinner during training. Harder if you're doing raw I understand...

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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 11:27 AM Thread Starter
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Yes slowly stretch it out and sessions do not have to be long.

Another thought depending on what you're feeding you can also use her meals as reward --so not feeding her out of the bowl she gets some parts of a dinner during training. Harder if you're doing raw I understand...
Maybe better to do more walks but in shorter period of time then? Otherwise I usually do two longer walks and training (obedience, tracking, schutzhund, silly tricks)/play in between depending on what kind of day we have.

I do use her meals as reward, mixed with some treats to up the value and variation. In daily walks and new training with low distractions her own meals as reward is working, with more distractions the value of the food usually have to be better.
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-02-2016, 01:47 PM
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I have difficulties atm to connect these two kinds of training though, because the dog doesnt have to be in drive and all ready to work when doing regular walks, I just want her to walk with loose leash without stopping every 5 metres to sniff and not pulling (shes not a heavy puller in normal walk situations though)/not keeping the leash straight when walking. .
From your original post... " On command I allow her stop and sniff, then I stop and let her go and sniff as she pleases and I just follow."

It might be that you are training the dog to do exactly what it is doing...as you are allowing the dog to sniff as you follow the dog as an intended reward but perhaps the frequency of allowing the dog to follow its nose as the intended reward is gumming up the works. I believe that a simple walk ( no pulling or scent tracking ) needs to be treated as an obedience skill in the beginning. I somewhat did what you are describing but from the way you describe it " without stopping every 5 metres to sniff " was where my approach was different. My dog has a heck of a nose and it used to get in the way of our basic "walk" as she wanted to do what your dog is doing. But, I just didn't allow it during the structured part of our walk. If she fell out of the heel position she was given a freebie via a heel command...if she didn't comply, she was corrected back into the heel slot. I just didn't allow her to follow her nose during our structured "walk"...I guess I was setting precedent...and she figured it out. At that phase, I clearly remember per the advice of some forum members, that the entire walk does not need to be so rigorous especially if the dog minds its manners during the structured portion of the walk. So, the reward for my dog staying in proper heel position was a session at a field, where I allowed my dog to follow her nose....I did make corrections for any excessive pulling but never for the direction she chose. I think my dog learned that if she maintained a proper heel position for 10-15 minutes, she would be allowed to follow her nose eventually. I also remember ....when we would get closer to this field, she knew what was most likely going to happen and this is when she would be most apt to break from the heel position...those last 20 yards, sometimes took an incredibly long time to travel because of her "desire" to get to the field and be released to follow her nose. But, the more she acted up, the longer it took....she figured it out but it took a lot of patience on my behalf...which I don't have a surplus of.

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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-03-2016, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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From your original post... " On command I allow her stop and sniff, then I stop and let her go and sniff as she pleases and I just follow."

It might be that you are training the dog to do exactly what it is doing...as you are allowing the dog to sniff as you follow the dog as an intended reward but perhaps the frequency of allowing the dog to follow its nose as the intended reward is gumming up the works. I believe that a simple walk ( no pulling or scent tracking ) needs to be treated as an obedience skill in the beginning. I somewhat did what you are describing but from the way you describe it " without stopping every 5 metres to sniff " was where my approach was different. My dog has a heck of a nose and it used to get in the way of our basic "walk" as she wanted to do what your dog is doing. But, I just didn't allow it during the structured part of our walk. If she fell out of the heel position she was given a freebie via a heel command...if she didn't comply, she was corrected back into the heel slot. I just didn't allow her to follow her nose during our structured "walk"...I guess I was setting precedent...and she figured it out. At that phase, I clearly remember per the advice of some forum members, that the entire walk does not need to be so rigorous especially if the dog minds its manners during the structured portion of the walk. So, the reward for my dog staying in proper heel position was a session at a field, where I allowed my dog to follow her nose....I did make corrections for any excessive pulling but never for the direction she chose. I think my dog learned that if she maintained a proper heel position for 10-15 minutes, she would be allowed to follow her nose eventually. I also remember ....when we would get closer to this field, she knew what was most likely going to happen and this is when she would be most apt to break from the heel position...those last 20 yards, sometimes took an incredibly long time to travel because of her "desire" to get to the field and be released to follow her nose. But, the more she acted up, the longer it took....she figured it out but it took a lot of patience on my behalf...which I don't have a surplus of.

SuperG
Thanks. This makes sense. I will try to lower the frequency of allowing the dog to go sniff and more strict "obedience" walk. Its really annoying when her nose is on the ground everywhere (great dog in tracking ) or stops the every 5 metres, even if I "drag" her to follow me, she gets the few seconds of chance to sniff the spot and that seem to be rewarding. I also want her to know when its ok and not, that is something that probably has been confusing for her I think.

Do you remember how long it took for you to achieve all this? Did you do long walks? And did you use the same command as in competition heeling obedience (dont know if your are competing but..)?

In training sessions (not regular walks) in obedience I am training on strict heeling but gotta be very carefully when to reward so it doesnt blow the correct position, still a work in progress. I would like to use a completely different word for walking heeling so that I dont have to check her if she is in correct position and not rewarding anything bad at this point. I dont even need her to be in a super correct position when walking as I need her to be in this competing ob training. For some its maybe stupid to have two different words, but does anyone actually have it? I think even the "let´s go" should do it?
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 03-03-2016, 09:24 AM
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[QUOTE=Factor;7695746]

Do you remember how long it took for you to achieve all this? We achieved this over a span of time, probably close to a few months because it all started with a forging dog that was dog reactive besides wanting to follow her nose.

Did you do long walks? LOL, if my memory serves, some of our "walks" barely made it to the end of the street I live on in the beginning because of my ineptness coupled with the distractions of life outside the house/backyard. Those "walks" lasted an eternity it seemed like because it tested my patience but I was determined to not cave in and just accept an unruly dog while on a walk. I'm pretty sure some of my neighbors thought I was the neighborhood drunk as I rarely walked a straight course during this period as I was constantly changing direction, starting and stopping, left leg step- aways and right leg step-aways and doing many an about face when she hinted she was about to follow her nose. Our "walks" during that phase were entirely an exercise in obedience and patience but most always culminated with that nose session/play at the field or park.

And did you use the same command as in competition heeling obedience (dont know if your are competing but..)? Not a competitor but as I have said in here before...I have a backyard competition dog and mimicked some of the disciplines involved in IPO amongst other competitive events ....we have pursued this for numerous reasons as the time spent training together has wonderful benefits for both the dog and me.

I started with a simple "heel" command but as time went by, I became more particular of her performance in our "backyard IPO" disciplines, I did incorporate an additional command to the heel skill set and that was " tight" which required my dog to be in a very particular spot coupled with that almost prancing gait unlike a normal walk through the neighborhood. I reserve the "tight" command for our off leash pseudo IPO/obedience sessions. As long as my dog is in a basic heel position with a loose leash on our walks, I am satisfied because what started off as an obedience skill has become a simple relaxed walk...the two of us just out and about..nothing more.

One other thought, once her desire to follow her nose all the time was tempered, I started using a long line and used your "let's go" and some directing leash pressure to keep her traveling with me on our treks. I didn't care if she was in a heel position but simply that she kept the long line loose and kept the proper pace but most importantly that I dictate the stopping and starting.

I currently have the best trained and performing companion dog I have ever had ( thanks to some members in this forum)....so, my advice is based solely on exactly that...she is not a competition dog therefore the people in her that have competition dogs, certainly can offer better advice in regards to your pursuits than I am able to offer. Hopefully, some of these skilled handlers will give you some solid advice to further your dog's performance for the goals desired.

SuperG

Last edited by SuperG; 03-03-2016 at 09:28 AM.
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