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Old 07-27-2012, 10:51 PM
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Default No, Mom. Not without a treat.

Malyk, my Rhodesian Ridgeback, has always been like this, but I never thought or even cared enough to correct it.

If I don't have a treat, be refuses to listen to many commands. Sit, lay down, go in the bedroom, get off the bed...

He will jump to do commands when I have a treat. But without a treat? Nothing. Any tips on how to fix this? It's almost as if he doesn't really care if he amuses me or not. Lol.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:58 PM
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Reinforcement history. Look it up.
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Old 07-27-2012, 10:58 PM
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The idea you need to teach him is that even if you don't have a treat at the moment, you can always go and get a treat if he does something good. Or a toy, or play a game, whatever he likes.

So to teach this, start with capturing a simple behavior that he offers a lot anyway. Eye contact would be a good one. Just watch him, and when he gives you eye contact on his own without you cueing him, say "YES!" (or click) and then encourage him to run with you to get a treat out of the fridge, cabinet, whatever. Repeat a few times with capturing easy behaviors, then move to cueing a behavior when you think he's figured out that you don't have to have the treats on you for him to get one.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:02 AM
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Start keeping treats off you when you train and use other rewards as well if he will work for things other than food - that way he doesn't expect a treat every time; a reward can come from anywhere, at anytime, and be anything, so if he's wise he'll pay close attention whether or not you have a treat in your hand.
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Old 07-28-2012, 06:18 AM
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Don't have treats visible during training practice (put them on a counter/table/in pocket), carry some treats on you all the time and booby trap your house with them. I have some on the door of the refrigerator and some on the top of the entertainment center in a container. So if he listens I can quickly snatch one and give it to him (start praising the moment he follows the command and continue as you go get the treat so that you bridge the gap between behavior and reward), or else give him one out of my pocket. Also use life rewards. Ask for a command to be followed and reward by saying "want to go for a walk?", "want dinner?" or other fun invitations that he knows and then following through with it, or starting a game of tug all of a sudden.
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Old 07-28-2012, 09:44 AM
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Yup, agreed with all the others about not keeping the treats on you.

One other thing... do you use a marker of some sort (clicker or verbal)? If not, how I would start is this: Start using a marker (gazillions of resources everywhere for that so I'm not going to explain it here) while keeping the treats on you but not visible (in a pocket or pouch) so you can still give the treats quickly. Once he understands what the marker means, start pausing for a few seconds before giving the treat and gradually stretch that interval out. Then eliminate the treats from your person and keep them around the house as others have suggested, because at this stage a gap between the marker and going elsewhere to get the treat won't be a big deal to him.

If you're already using a marker it will be easier, because you can move the treats off your person and incorporate the time delay at the same time.
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:50 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions, guys. I did a little with him today and I rewarded him 5 times for a behavior, took a break, and took the treats off of me. I asked him for a behavior, and he did it the first couple times. That's definitely a improvement.
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"Only when the last tree is cut, only when the last river is polluted, only when the last fish is caught, will they realize that you can’t eat money." –Native American proverb
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