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Old 04-09-2007, 10:23 AM
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Default How to train dog not motivated by food or praise

Our new dog Honey (will post pictures and info later) is now home with us. She knows no commands what so ever and is a year old. She is not food motivated at all and has no interest in treats or really even eating for that matter. Wrigley is absolutely food obsessed so it took us a day at most to teach him a new trick or command. He is also motivated by praise and loves to be petted and get praise. Honey however does not know her name or come or sit or like food or want pets or get waggly butt when we praise her. How do I even start the training?

Will clicker training help if praise and food do not matter to the dog?

With recall for Wrigley (the first thing I want to work on with her is come)--I tied a long line to him and did it that way with treats and praise and he got it pretty well right away. I quite frankly think with Honey this would probably traumatize her as she just wants to hide and cower when we go near here--and she is not used to a leash what so ever....

HELP!
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:33 AM
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you'll have to find something that motivates her, maybe she won't eat the food because she is not settled yet. try different treats maybe sliced hot dog or other meats. Clicker training works but the dog needs to be taught what the clicker means usually by clicking and giving a treat over and over until the clicker becomes a sign that a treat will be coming. The clicker is not a replacement for the treat, it just makes the reward more exact and on time so the dog knows it preformed the right behavior as soon as it is done (the dog does not have to wait for the person the pull the treat from his pocket, extend hand, get dogs attention to treat, then the dog sniffs treat and then takes it) the click is immediate letting the dog know he was right and a treat will be coming soon. Have you tried seeing if the dog is motivated by toys? you'll have to find something, Sorry i don't have many ideas, Max always loved food And Congratulations on the new dog! Can't wait to see pics
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Old 04-09-2007, 10:50 AM
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I know this is hard especially when you've seen the way a motivated dog responds to training. I went through this with Lola and my best advise is to give her some time.

You'll find that if you're just patient and work solely on building trust and a bond, you'll see more clearly what motivates her...and she does have a currency, she's just not sharing what it is just yet.

What you're seeing now is very, very common with a dog who's spent so long in another home. She's holding her cards tightly to her chest right now, as so many do. Once she relaxes and understands that you are as wonderful as she hopes and that she can totally trust and let her guard down, she'll start to show you what will work.

I would try many different rewards (toys, different treats) but don't be discouraged if nothing seems to click just yet.

Letting her watch the training and interaction between you and Wrigley will help to draw her in but again, I would let her sit a bit on the side lines and take her time....her confidence will come.

Congratulations - I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE PICTURES!!!!!!!
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Old 04-10-2007, 01:00 AM
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It sounds like she hasn't settled in just yet. Some dogs don't have much of an appetite the first few days they are in their new home. I would give her some time to adjust, then start the clicker training when she seems more relaxed and at home. I would start with treats like cut-up hot dogs, small slices of roast beef or chicken, peanut butter, or bits of cheese. If those don't work, try different toys. You still need to give a reward with clicker training. If she's afraid of the sound of the click, try using something that makes a softer click or a word marker. The clicker acts as an event marker, and you still need to "charge" it before you actually start clicker training.

Here are some good websites to help you get started:
Clicker Train USA
Clicker Lessons
Clicker Solutions
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:41 PM
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You gotta let her get used to you first. Right now she's scared. Once she settles in she'll be more motivated.
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Old 04-16-2007, 03:00 PM
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We had a similar situation when we got our coonhound, Uncle Fred. He didn't eat well, didn't respond to praise,didn't want treats, etc.

The key was patience, patience, patience. A dog isn't going to respond to your praise if she doesn't care about you, even less if she is afraid of you. Uncle Fred had reason to be afraid of everyone.

I have good luck with my homemade liver treats. I have yet to find the dog that doesn't find them motivating. Plus you can cut them up really small so they don't pack on the pounds.

I take beef or chicken liver and bake it in a slow oven until its cooked through. Then I cut it into small (pea size) pieces and put it back in the pan and back in the oven. I bake it at about 250' until its dry and crunchy, shaking the pan occassionally. They are way more fragrant than anything you can buy in the store. Cheaper too.

Uncle Fred now thrives on praise. I know several people whose dogs were trained to recall using shock collars, and their recall looks completely different than Uncle Fred's. He is proud and filled with joy when he comes flying to me, with his ears flopping everywhere. Every time I call himm, it warms my heart. He has learned to respond to praise and treats. I don't need to have the treats now to get him to respond, he likes being a good dog.

He was so stunted emotionally in the beginning that both my vet and the rescue thought he might have brain damage. Anyway, just be patient, loving, and lavish with the praise and she will come around.

Last edited by drmom777; 04-16-2007 at 03:01 PM. Reason: spelling
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