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  #21  
Old 07-08-2012, 10:12 AM
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Easier said than done!

I'm working stage 1 right now with Mia and she's spinning and barking between every rep, then biting the wires then sitting again. I'm trying to be patient with her and let her settle before I feed her. Slow progress.
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  #22  
Old 07-08-2012, 11:15 AM
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Retrain a start line stay into something else perhaps?
I do a wait at the line with Kiba. Kiba would get frustrated if asked to stay (stay = stay put until I come back to you) because she wanted to go go go. I switched it up to asking her to wait (wait = wait there before I call you). I don't release them from stays, so this worked wonders for Kiba. In a non-agility setting I can get at least a 50 yard stay from her.
Tsuki on the other hand, I just drop her and run. lol
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Old 07-08-2012, 11:17 AM
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Oops, double post!
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  #24  
Old 07-08-2012, 10:15 PM
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I can't comment on the stays, except is there any way you can get through to Mia that if she stays, then she can be active? No stay, no running. Like Premack?

But I can tell you that YES you absolutely can teach a dog with no toy drive to play. It takes a long time and a lot of patience, though. I've been going through that exact thing with Sienna. When I first got her she had no interest in toys at all. Well, except for one toy, which was a screaming stuffed monkey that had elastic arms, and you kind of sling-shot him across the room/yard. LOL. When I slingshot the monkey it fairly often caused Sienna to do crazy zoomies. She didn't interact with the toy at all, but she was clearly having a blast. But if I threw a ball or anything, she just looked at me like I was an idiot.

I've been meaning to write a blog post about all of the things I've tried when teaching her to fetch (and enjoy it). I wrote one about tug and things I learned at a Denise Fenzi seminar recently, which might have some insight for you: http://thediydog.com/the-zen-of-tug/

To long story short it, I've spent literally 3 years working on a retrieve with Sienna. I've used every retrieve method, game, etc. that I could find. She now has a really high value for her dumbbell, but toys are still pretty meh. She gets excited when I bring one on a walk, but when I throw it she kind of runs in a circle and would rather play with ME than the toy. Finally, a few weeks ago, she chased a thrown toy for FUN. Like a *normal dog*! I was ecstatic. What finally made it click for her and for me, aside from the hours spent building reinforcement history for putting her mouth on things, was realizing what drive she's strongest in. What part of the prey sequence is strongest for her.

This blog post helped me see that: http://exercisefinished.blogspot.com...i-tugging.html It's also about a Denise Fenzi seminar. Seeing a theme here?

Sienna loves to chase. Once I realized that, I tried throwing a Kong for her. The weird bouncing got her interested, and I found that throwing it really, really far was actually more interesting for her - she's more likely to chase it if she can RUN a long distance out to the toy, vs. it's just near me. So figure out what Summer likes to do best and then think about how you can incorporate that into play with her toys.

I'm still working on the very beginning of tug, using a fox tail on a rope from Clean Run. If I drag it behind me while running, Sienna will try to pounce on it. (Which still amazes me.) And that's a starting point.

Another thing I learned was don't use food. I tried to shape Sienna to tug, and it was kind of working, but she was clearly only doing it to get a treat. Play for its own sake has to be self-reinforcing. One of the things Denise said was that you can actually kill play drive by reinforcing it with food. I'm not sure why that works, but possibly for the same reason that the Look At That game works - a behavior that was reinforcing becomes just another way to earn a click.

That's for tug, though. For retrieving/chasing, I did pretty much what you mentioned, reinforcing for any interaction with the toy. It does work, but it takes a long time.

Oh, I also used the "give me a break" game from Control Unleashed for this. I'd click for interaction with the dumbbell for about a minute, then told her "OK, take a break!" and I'd go read or something. Pretty quickly, I had a dog harassing me with a dumbbell in her mouth. (Quit laughing, retriever owners. Yeah I had to train my dog to be pushy with a toy. LOL.) GMAB works really well for teaching play, especially to a soft dog that's sensitive to pressure.
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  #25  
Old 07-08-2012, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilter View Post
As for toys it's a tough one, try different ones but some dogs just don't like toys and it's hard to motivate them towards it. Unless it's a toy with food in it....
Good point! I forgot to mention food toys were one of the things that I think really helped Sienna figure out that toys are kind of cool after all. Lots of different food toys, with varying levels of difficulty, and she eventually realized that mouthing things pays off. Once she got the hang of Kongs, and had the basic idea of a retrieve, I'd have her bring me a Kong and then I'd put some treats in it and let her have it. I did this 3-4 times in a row and then let her keep it.

I will also make a food toy out of anything. Frugal food toys but it also teaches the dog that any object is potentially a gateway to treats. I've used paper towel tubes, empty kleenex boxes, almost empty yogurt cups. Of course, don't do this with a dog that would eat the paper But for my totally non-chewing, non-mouthing dog, shredding a paper towel tube gives her some confidence about and interest in inatimate objects.

Make the toys yummy. And make the food a toy! I've done games where I throw treats and Sienna chases them. It seems to help make the connection between chasing & pouncing, and yummy things. Food can be a great beginner toy!
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  #26  
Old 07-12-2012, 11:32 PM
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We are actually getting somewhere with Summer and one specific tug toy! I'm really pleased she will mouth it every time now and today I got one solid tug out of her with it. I have been treating it though because honestly she won't even do anything with it if you don't treat her for it.

I'm doing running starts with Mia now for class and working the stays at home. It's.... interesting. I really need a lead out on her, she's just too fast. It's definitely an issue of having an obstacle in front of her, not a problem with the stay. Before class I practiced some regular stays and then some table stays and she did GREAT. Put a jump in front of her and creeper dog comes out again.
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