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  #11  
Old 10-25-2005, 02:17 PM
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DanL DanL is offline
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I think making them earn their food is important to reinforce you as the leader. Mine are so conditioned now, the GSD will run outside to the place where they get fed and is waiting in a down position by the time I walk over there.

One thing I don't agree with is taking their food away after you give it too them. I think that confuses them and could lead to them being aggressive towards you if you start a pattern of "let me show them who's boss" by continually proving to them you control the food. They already know that. What I'll do is talk softly to them as they eat and pet them, but I never take it away, though I could with no problem. There are plenty of training opportunities for our dogs, and I don't like using their food as one of those times. I mean, if someone tried taking my dinner away from me I'd be a little aggressive too!
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Old 10-25-2005, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Doberluv
Dog to dog aggression is a completely different thing that dog to human aggression. Your dogs, if they see you as their leader and provider, should not worry about you taking their food. You're the one who brings it to them, after all. How to prevent that is by showing the dog from the beginning that you are no threat and that it is on account of you, that he gets to eat at all. Condition your dogs gradually to your being around their food, if you haven't already. Have them sit first before you set their bowl down and wait for your release word. Pick up the bowl and don't let them eat if they break the sit/wait. Just have them wait for a few seconds. You can toss in a yummy treat (tastier than their kibble) while they're eating. You can move their bowl over a few feet one time here and there just so they see that your touching their bowl or food doesn't mean that it's being taken from them. Put your hand in and drop a piece of cheese in there. (don't harrass them during their meal, but one time here and there will show them)

You can also play games with toys to help. Give the dog a toy and trade him for a yummy treat. "Give" means he gives you the toy and then you give him a treat. Hand him back the toy again. Make it a fun game and advance to a retrieve game. Make it rewarding and fun, showing the dog that when you take something from him, it's no threat. He's going to get it back or get an even better treat. It's a game. He learns to trust you and will have no worries about you taking his stuff.

I did that with Yukon giving him his food and then picking it up again. That is how I trained him to stop his biting. Worked very well, also had the kids hand feed to help them establish their place above him. I do not do that with the food anymore because he knows I am higher up but still do it all the time with toys. Not just Yukon, we give and take toys with Hope, Storm and Yukon. I will do this throughtout Yukon and Hope's life to make sure I am always in the right family pack spot. Storm is being re homed so he is not an issue.
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Old 10-25-2005, 04:03 PM
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Doberluv Doberluv is offline
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When I talk about picking up the bowl, I'm talking about teaching the dog to sit/wait until released to eat his food. I insist on good manners and no lunging forward to get into the bowl while I'm still lowering it to the floor. If the dog breaks the stay (or wait) command, the food is picked up....the payoff is removed for breaking the stay. I replace the dog in the sit/wait and try again to put the food bowl on the floor. The dog soon learns that he must wait for my release word if he wants his food. I do the same thing with a dog who is rushing the door. I ask the dog to sit/wait and I open the door. The dog is not to go flying out the door until I give the release word. If he breaks it, the door closes quickly. I do not say, "NO!" I do not scold. I don't forceably hold the dog by the collar. The dog has a choice...either sit/wait until released and get the reward or don't. This is good manners. Manners are important to me.

When I say, scoot the bowl over a few feet while he's eating, (just once here and there) that is so he is conditioned to me handling his food and bowl. If I do need to pick up his food or take it from him for a medical reason or any other reason, I want to be assured that I can do so safely. I'm not talking about harassing the dog during his entire meal. That is why I stress here and there....a few times a week.

When I talk about giving me something from his mouth, a toy, a bone, something that he's picked up that could be dangerous to him, this too is an important lesson and that is why I practice this game of give and take from a very early age. He is not giving me an item without getting a reward. He is not losing out. The reward he gets is better than the thing I'm taking from him.

Good! I'm glad he's fine with people. Yep...the dog to dog things is another story. LOL.
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