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I have a question regarding training. With out 2 yo GSD, we hired a trainer to come to our home, train her and teach us how to train her. He didn't use treats as motivation, only praise. She does well and would probably do even better if I worked with her more often. Sometimes she won't obey a command if she's outside and seems to be excited. However, if her e collar is on, she does excellent.

Now to the question. I'm starting to train our new girl. I admit, even though we've had a trainer in here, I just don't seem to really have the knack for training. Some people seem to have the golden touch, but I don't feel like I do. :) I've looked at you tube vidoes and of course they make it look so easy. You never seem to see a video of a beginning puppy. In your opinion, does it help to use treats? Do you find you get better results? If you use treats, then do you always have to use them? I guess I have the mindset that once you use them, you'll always have to or the dog won't obey. Will the dog not obey if they eventually don't get treats? When teaching them to do fun tricks, do you always have to use treats? I would appreciate any feedback.

Thanks!!:p
 

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I think treats are great for pups, especially if they are food motivated. Luring them into the positions you want and marking it(clicker or a key word), then treating works very well for the young ones. I like to mix up the treats with a bit of tug to keep the pup engaged and don't spend more than 5 minutes training sessions for the little ones.
You can fade them out eventually.
 

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In your opinion, does it help to use treats? Do you find you get better results? If you use treats, then do you always have to use them? I guess I have the mindset that once you use them, you'll always have to or the dog won't obey. Will the dog not obey if they eventually don't get treats? When teaching them to do fun tricks, do you always have to use treats?
Yes! Motivational training is great for young puppies, and there are plenty of videos online showing puppies trained with treats. And your other questions have been asked and answered numerous times in clicker training threads, one of them was active within the last day or two. Try doing using the search feature for clicker training and you'll get tons of information. You don't have to actually use a clicker, you can use a verbal marker such as "yes!", but the general concept is the same. The recent thread had a couple of video links with young puppies if I remember correctly.
 

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I think treats are great for pups, especially if they are food motivated. Luring them into the positions you want and marking it(clicker or a key word), then treating works very well for the young ones. I like to mix up the treats with a bit of tug to keep the pup engaged and don't spend more than 5 minutes training sessions for the little ones.
You can fade them out eventually.
And for me, this is the key sentence. IF they are food motivated.

Usually, treats work great for most puppies but occasionally you come across that one puppy who could care less about food/treats. I think if you find what motivates your puppy - that's what you should use.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks to everyone for the input, I appreciate it. Yeah, I've seen a lot of videos online showing the training with treats so I'll go back to those. If she's not motivated by treats, I'll look for what motivates her. And I'll look for that recent thread. :)
 

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there you go, work with her more often. there's no
tricks or being a whisper'er to dog training and
socializing. you have to do it daily and several
times a day. work in sessions. each session should last
5 or 10 minutes. you should have many sessions during
a day.

there's no knack of training. you have to put the time in.
when your dog is doing something wrong it's your fault.
train, train, train and socialize, socialize and socialize.
don't blame the dog.

if you don't know how to train why don't you
find a private trainer or a class????

She does well and would probably do even better if I worked with her more often. Sometimes she won't obey a command if she's outside and seems to be excited. However, if her e collar is on, she does excellent.

Now to the question. I'm starting to train our new girl. I admit, even though we've had a trainer in here, I just don't seem to really have the knack for training.

Thanks!!:p
 

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Employing a clicker with treats is also really helpful. Using only compulsion methods like a shock collar usually backfire because the dog gets used to it and stops obeying....as in their not really learning to obey just being made to. If their not food motivated toys, jogging, or other desired play work as well:)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Doggiedad, when she was younger I worked with her more often than now. But our trainer taught without treats, so that's why I was asking about that now that we have a new puppy and it seems like the experts use treats. So you're 100% correct that I need to work with her more. Guilty!! :blush: I've started that again lately.

Zoeys mom, thanks for the input. The biggest reason we got the shock collar was because although she knew the commands and would follow them most of the time, sometimes when we were out playing fetch, she would get distracted and take off on me and not respond to the commands. We're on three acres of land that is not completely fenced in, so that scared me. I have to say that when I put her collar on her now, I don't even have to actually use it. She'll follow the commands without me pushing the button. She knows what drawer of my desk it's kept in, so when I open the drawer, she gets all excited and runs over for it to be put on because she knows that means we're going out to play. More times than not now, I don't even put it on her. Since she's getting older, she doesn't take off like she used to. Thank you for educating me on this though. We try to do the right thing with our gsd's and this site has been tremendous in helping us. I believe I'm going to start using treats as well as keep praising them when they do the right thing.
 

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Like I said compulsion is not necessarily a bad thing, but I've seen many people like yourself use them for off leash recall and when the time came and that recall was really needed all the shocks in the world wouldn't stop the dog- they were used to it. Try a really long line instead and food to solidify the recall:)
 

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Food is a very strong primary reinforcer, so personally I don't understand why anyone would want to NOT use such a great motivator?
I use treats when training something new, in the early steps, and then I fade them out once the dog understands the cue.
 

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Food is a very strong primary reinforcer, so personally I don't understand why anyone would want to NOT use such a great motivator?
Food is a "very strong primary reinforcer" for some (not all) dogs. If the dog at hand does not care about them, they're useless for training purposes. Much the same thing can be said for many other primary reinforcers as well as many secondary reinforcers too.

I've never seen a dog that did not want to avoid punishment. Both reinforcement and punishment have a place in training dogs. It's impossible to train a dog without using both.
 

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As someone who has trained several working dogs ( cattle / sheep ) previously with verbal praise only and is now training a GSD with a clicker and hot-dog bits after researching the method.....I can say that the clicker and treats are way ahead of the former method. I am lucky in that I have an incredibly smart,food motivated pup who LOVES training sessions and is a responsive in the extreme and I am with her almost 24/7. I honestly cannot tell having never owned a GSD before whether it is the breed that gives me a head start but I believe any smart dog will respond to the clickers and rewards. Last night I taught Karma to "shake" and "roll over" in about 15 minutes. I really should make a video of her "stay" . It is insane. I can down her, stay her and then walk out of the house, open the large steel front gates ( very noisy and signify me leaving ), start my car to warm it up and then return to release her. She is 17 weeks old ! :p Last night I had my friend over and they have a little Khmer mutt that is just sitting.....at 20 weeks :rolleyes:. I gave his daughter a clicker weeks ago and when I showed her what commands Karma was now obeying including "leave it" with a hot dog piece on each paw, she was " oh my god I am going home to start clicker training right now ! ".
 

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I use treats as young puppies. However, I have had a lab and my Dutch that both LOVE and have huge toy drive - so I used toys for them as well. With Madix, I've phased to mostly praise and surprise treats/toys thrown in on occasion.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks to everyone that responded. I believe clicker training with treats will be starting up pretty quickly here, lol! Have a great weekend!
 

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I dogs are SO motivated by treats that I have to keep the treats to the side and treat them after the training. If there's a treat in my hand, they don't pay attention to anything. They'd walk right off a cliff.
 
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