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  #21  
Old 05-25-2008, 06:40 PM
mjb mjb is offline
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Just a little update.....

We've had a very good couple of weeks. Spanky has gotten no more little tidbits or left-overs from what we're eating. I purchased a 'treat' jar that his treats are in, and those are the ones he gets. They are some low-fat doggy treats and some Cheerios.

He might tell you he's not as pleased with the treat situation and how it's changed, but he seems to be a very happy dog, nonetheless.

Someone who hadn't seen him in a few weeks mentioned yesterday that he seems to have lost a little weight, so we might be getting that side benefit, too.

He only gets treats from his jar, and he has to do some obedience like sit, down, or look. Or he gets one for getting in his crate when told.

He sometimes barks at things when he's outside, people walking their dogs or skaters and bikers. He sometimes gets a treat when he comes to me when I call and he's outside. Lately, he's even turned away from the distraction and come. I was using higher value treats for this. Right now, I'm not. We'll see how it goes.

I know we are being diligent about not introducing the trigger for his bad behavior, but things are just going so well.

The only thing that could have been a problem was when we came in and found him eating something and didn't know what it was. I was going to get something to 'trade' him so as not to cause a problem. In the meantime, my husband just reached down and took it. He said he was afraid it was something that could hurt him. It happened to be a pit from a piece of fruit one of the kids' friends had been eating. Spanky gave it up easily, so we got by that one. Not exactly how I had hoped to do it, though!! For 4 years, that's how we got stuff away from him, so my husband's a little bit slower in the learning department.

We are having a great time with Spanky, and we're all finding it's a lot easier for us all not to snack than to have to always eat at the table or put Spanky in his crate for a few minutes. That's even helping us slow down on snacking and only eating when we really want something!! This could be a great thing for everyone!
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  #22  
Old 05-25-2008, 08:49 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Glad to hear it's going so well!

I don't see any problem with using higher value treats for more difficult behaviors (like coming when called away from a big distraction), I don' tknow if you're thinking that's a bad thing to do, but it's not. In fact, that's usually what I suggest - the reward has to be better than the distraction, or he'll decide to do what works best for him.

Of course what your husband did grabbing the food away wasn't very good, but I do hope you remembered to reward Spanky anyway! So it'd be like, take the item away, cheer/clap/tell him how good he is while running to the treat jar for several good treats. You want Spanky not only ok with you grabbing things, but EXCITED about it!
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  #23  
Old 05-26-2008, 09:14 AM
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I did give him a treat and praised him, but I don't know if it was close enough to the event that he saw the connection. I was getting the treat in the kitchen as he was grabbing the peach pit in the living room! It was close, and Spanky came running excitedly because I was telling him treat in an excited voice, but whether or not he connected the two?

I did know that when we worked on clicker training, a higher value treat was good for some situations. I wasn't sure about right now when we're trying to get him to understand he gets no human food (and that's usually the higher value treat----meat, cheese, hot dog). I do think to work with him in distractions it might take more than Cheerios, though.

Although, I want to get him where he does things, treat or not, and I'm not absolutely sure how to wean him off the treat. I mean, he will sit/down, etc., now without a treat, but he's looking for one because he gets one a lot of the time....just not every time. I guess we just give them farther and farther apart?
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  #24  
Old 05-26-2008, 11:26 AM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Dog's don't know the difference between "human food" - like hotdogs, chicken, cheese, peanut butter, etc. - and "dog treats" - like biscuits, liver treats, etc. When a trainer talks about not giving your dog people's food, he means that you should not feed your dog your food for doing something he's not supposed to do - like jumping on the couch and stealing your food. It wouldn't matter if you're holding an ice cream cone or a bag of dog biscuits, your dog is learning the same bad behavior.

I mean, when you think about it, "dog food" is really human's food, too - it belongs to you up until the point where you actually give it to him.

The secret to weaning off the training treats is this: Don't have the treats visible when you ask your dog to do a behavior. When he does the behavior, mark it (with a clicker, or just a word like "yes" or "good") to let him know that's what you're looking for, then get a treat and give it to him. Make sure that none of your "getting a treat" behaviors happen until after you mark your dog's behavior - so don't reach for the treat, or walk toward the treat, until after you clicked.
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  #25  
Old 05-26-2008, 12:20 PM
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Thanks. All that makes sense. Yes, that would be right....he might know the so-called human food tastes better, but he doesn't know the difference. What we're ultimately trying to do is get him to act politely when we're eating!!
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  #26  
Old 05-26-2008, 03:12 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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....not all human food even tastes better than dog treats - think spinach.
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  #27  
Old 07-14-2008, 08:42 PM
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Update:

All is going well. No more incidents at all to date. And in the most trying time as far as having food around him.....a college son home for the summer which is NON STOP eating, and my school-age son home with friends over and snacking. They have been pretty good about propping a gate up when they just HAVE to eat in front of the TV which keeps Spanks in the kitchen.

The only person besides me that he showed bad behavior to was my son-in-law, and he hasn't been over all that much at meal time, but when he has, that has gone well, too. He is probably Spanky's favorite person in the entire world anyway!! Well, his favorite playmate!

Spanky is getting more accustomed to the fact that he's not included where our meal and snacktimes are involved, and he goes and lays down somewhere.

The behaviorist said it would take a long time for me to regain my trust in Spanky. He's right, but that's probably good because, as wonderful as he's been, I remember, and I've been vigilant about going with our new program.
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  #28  
Old 07-14-2008, 10:34 PM
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lizzybeth727 lizzybeth727 is offline
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Glad to hear it's going well so far. Do keep us posted!
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