Not very food motivated

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by LostAndConfused, Feb 28, 2013.

  1. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,557
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Hudson Valley
    Home Page:
    Anyone else have a dog that isn't super food motivated? Hudson will eat his food and take treats (usually) but generally believes there is too much going on to worry about food. We did a puppy kindergarten class and a basic, beginner obedience class but we are taking a break because it feels like a battle the entire class to get him to focus on me. We also got to listen to 12 weeks of, "Well you aren't using a high enough value treat. We use Natural Balance, here try it" though Ben was pretty amused when they try to give him treats and he turns his nose up at it.

    I've tried:
    hot dogs
    cheese
    dehydrated liver
    freeze dried liver
    various rolls of dog food (Ya know, the ones that kind of look like sausage
    left over venison sausage
    bits of left over meat (pork, beef, chicken)
    cat treats (blue buffalo salmon & tuna)
    various bil-jac treats (liver, peanut butter, a banana something or another)

    I'm not sure he is super toy/tug motivated either. I just want some way to make training FUN for him. He will do it for a little bit, but then gets bored and walks off to terrorize the cat.
     
  2. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2010
    Messages:
    8,893
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    2 Pit bulls and 2 Malinois, We like to stay busy.
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Home Page:
    Have you tried withholding breakfast and working for lunch? It's not ideal as a puppy but an old go-to.

    I like to make treats fun. It seems odd but a couple things can help. When you feed grab a hand full and get on the floor. Shake and pounce your closed fist until he shows some interest. When he's engaged show him the food, give him one kibble, and then start chase again. It's important you're having a praise party when he wins, think OMG new title praise. :p

    Another is throwing a party, toss treats on the floor and race around like an idiot picking them up. When he beats you to any. you want him to, party! Praise verbally and then start over by racing him again and again. This works very well if you have another dog who is food motivated but not food aggressive to help you play, it instantly builds healthy monkey see, monkey do.

    Some dogs need to be taught food isn't boring. Some dogs are just not foodies. It's hard to gauge from the post but start playing and see where it goes. It took a ton of games and 2 years of maturity to get backup to work for food and he still thinks its kind of boring but I tapped into his possession and that helped a bit for sure.
     
  3. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Twin Citay!
    I would say, especially at home, shorter sessions. Start with only 15 treats so he doesn't have time to get bored. Also, start training where there aren't any distractions, like in a bathroom.

    Maybe if you took some video of your training session we could help more. I know Frodo gets frustrated and leaves if I am not givin him enough reinforcement. I will video Megan next time she works with Siri, her ROR is crazy high and Siri loves working with her!
     
  4. milos_mommy

    milos_mommy Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2006
    Messages:
    15,346
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Milo's not very food motivated or tug motivated, but I just use a Cuz (he likes the squeakiness).

    When we were doing more serious training, I withheld squeaky toys at home and the cuz was only a training toy.
     
  5. Raegan

    Raegan Member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2011
    Messages:
    493
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    16
    Occupation:
    Giant Miniature Schnauzer & International Toller o
    Location:
    Fond du Lac, WI
    Denise Fenzi talked about Lyra's lack of food drive on her blog. Would have been last year, and spread out across a couple posts.

    You can also Premack eating! Want to go say hi to those people? Eat this.
     
  6. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Twin Citay!
    Great point!!
    I have a friend who Premacked her dog to eat food so he could have his tug.
     
  7. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Keegan's not super food motivated either.

    What we've done is on class days he gets smaller meals. Then I use a large variety of treats during class. Last week I had in my treat bag:

    Hotdogs
    Mozzarella cheese
    Pet Botanics roll
    snausages
    pupperoni
    sliced turkey
    sliced ham
    bologna
    Cap'n Crunch Peanut Butter Cereal
    Mini Zuke's Biscuits
    some random kibble free sample, can't recall what it was
    Old turkey burgers I found in the back of my freezer

    (Training Day = Clean Out the Fridge/Freezer/Pantry Day ;))

    On top of that I had a toy we used a few times, a bully stick, and I used a lot of petting and praise as rewards; twice I also used getting to go outside (and mark EVERYTHING!) as a reward too. All this in a one-hour agility class. We only went through about 1.5-2 cups of treats, but the idea is that he doesn't know what is coming next: which treat OR which other reward. I think THAT kept him interested more than the rewards themselves.

    (Still, by the end of class I was really starting to loose him. I really think one-hour agility classes are too long for him, 45 minutes is probably better for his attention span.)

    Anyway, my point is: Make sure you do have good treats, and a large variety. But also make sure you're doing a good variety of other reinforcement too. At home when we train I actually only use treats occasionally, surely less than half the time.
     
  8. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,557
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Hudson Valley
    Home Page:
    Thanks guys, definitely some things to think about & look into.

    I have tried giving him less food on class days, but since he is in a crate all day and a growing puppy, I didn't want to remove all food. That didn't seem to help.

    I have used a bully stick once (working on loose leash walking because treats were NOT cutting it) and that seemed to hold his attention at least long enough to get to one end of the room and back.

    LizzyBeth, your treat bag sounds like mine. I usually have a ton of different things (cheese, dehydrated liver, left over meats, peanut butter flavored treats, sausage, pet botantical or authority food roll, etc)


    I definitely will try to use food more as play and see if that'll help.
     
  9. SpringerLover

    SpringerLover Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2006
    Messages:
    3,415
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    fiver
    Location:
    B-ville
    Home Page:
    Premacking eating is one of those things that just bewilders me, still!

    Can you premack resources for him? Like access to sniffing things?
     
  10. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Twin Citay!
    Yup, if the cat walks by (since he seems to like tormenting the cat :p) ask him for something and if he does it, he gets to go bother the cat! :) Make sure he's on leash though so he can't just go bother the cat without doing what you asked.
     
  11. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,089
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    I have a few questions, if ya don't mind :)

    -In training class, how is the class run?
    -All dogs/pups out and working at the same time?
    -How much down (not the position down but on their own time and not working) time in the class per dog?
    -Where are they when not working?
    -Where is your dog/pup when the instructor is speaking and the owners have to focus on the instructor?


    When training at home:

    How long are the sessions?
    What do you work on in one session?
    Any play during the session?
    When the dog becomes distracted, not interested/bored/stress etc what does he do?
    What do you do?
    Where is your other dog during training sessions?
     
  12. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,557
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Hudson Valley
    Home Page:
    I don't really know much about premack thing you guys are talking about. I'll have to look it up tonight or over the weekend.

    Don't mind at all!

    -In training class, how is the class run? - Not entirely sure what you mean by this. There is an instructor and 2 or so helpers. The instructor demonstrates what we will be doing with her dog (eg. sit) and then the instructor & helpers go around the room and help the people who are struggling.
    -All dogs/pups out and working at the same time? Yes, we are in a medium sized room in a circle. Dogs are out and, in theory, focusing on their owners. They are all doing the exercises at the same time.
    -How much down (not the position down but on their own time and not working) time in the class per dog? I think this one is a hard one to answer because it depends on what we are working on and if anyone is having issues. Example, when we first started 'down' a few dogs had issues with it, so it took a bit of time for the instructors to demonstrate luring the dog under someone's leg to have them lay down.
    -Where are they when not working? in theory, we are all doing the exercises together so there isn't a time when we are not working.
    -Where is your dog/pup when the instructor is speaking and the owners have to focus on the instructor? Normally? barking at the other dogs. I know that some of this could be a symptom of not enough exercise, but I also know that if I play with him too hard before class, about half way through he gets tired and quits on me.


    When training at home:

    How long are the sessions?
    Short. Very short because I can't hold his attention very long
    What do you work on in one session? whatever. Down, stay, settle on your blanket,
    Any play during the session? no, not really. I try to be up beat and happy, but no real play. Definitely not something I thought of early and will definitely work on adding it to our sessions
    When the dog becomes distracted, not interested/bored/stress etc what does he do? He finds his favorite toy, the cat. Or he'll just wander off
    What do you do?I try to bring him back a few times, and it'll work for a minute or two, and then he'll wander off again.
    Where is your other dog during training sessions? No other dog. just him
     
  13. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Twin Citay!
    Please do! It's seriously like miracle work :p It's the only way I was able to teach Frodo a recall. I worked with him for 6 1/2 years and he wouldn't even flick an ear when I called his name. Started Premacking, and after about a month he would recall off just about anything, turning on a dime. It's the awesome.

    I'm sure there are some great videos on YouTube, and if you have any more questions about it, please ask!
     
  14. PWCorgi

    PWCorgi Priscilla Winifred Corgi

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    14,854
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    1
    Location:
    Twin Citay!
  15. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,089
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Training class: First I wouldn't train anyplace that expected me and my dogs to work for an entire hour in a group class. ESPECIALLY if I was having focus issues, that alone is setting up you and your dog to fail. Take a crate with you, reward quiet but don't expect him to do anything else. Instructor is demo'ing? your dog in a crate. Instructor talking.........dog in crate. Then you bring him out, do a 10 second micro session, of play, get 1 behaviour (i.e eye contact, hand target, sit (if you can get it without luring) play and then send back into crate. You need to raise the time limits slowly, make training sessions, less than 30 seconds long at first, make them exciting and fun. It would also be a good idea to get the dvd Crate Games, so he isn't stressed by going in and out of crate. The crate is just used for him to relax/break and not be on your time. Do this for training sessions only, crating when you are gone is different.
    You can be ping ponging him in and out of the crate, 30 second out to work, back in for a couple of minutes or so. You can also reward focus on you when he is in the crate. Leave his leash on, easy to pick up and control him. Would be best if he knew, not to come out of his crate unless given permission too, then you can leave the door open with the leash on. (crate games dvd.

    Have him on leash, so he CAN'T leave. But you have to keep the session short, training sessions should be a max of 3 mins long (if that long). You'll get more out of him with a dozen 10 second sessions with breaks in between than any session that is minutes long where he gets bored and leaves. Also be clear when the session is over, give him permission to 'go play' or 'done'. That means he is on his time and not yours. Take up ALL toys except for chewies and bones. All play and fun comes from you and only you.

    You said that the owners are suppose to be getting focus from their dogs? How? Is the dog expected to stare at the handler for a hour?

    In home, look for opportunities to train, all meals should be earned. So have his meals in your pocket or in containers around the house up high. He makes eye contact with you, 'Yes!' produce a kibble toss at him and go back to what you were doing. See him sitting? YES! toss him a kibble. Walking towards you? Yes!!!!, recall word, toss the kibble, run away. Want to see how fast he starts paying attention to you, do all that. The timing of the Yes, is more important than how fast they get the reward, so a delay of a few seconds while you get a reward is no big deal.

    Forget about duration work at this stage, there is no way when he can't focus on you to get it for any length of time.
     
  16. release the hounds

    release the hounds Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    Messages:
    4,381
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Midwest
    premack, it's the same as any other "dog training" you pair a reward with a behavior, except instead of food which may or may not be rewarding to the dog, or a tug, (the most commonly thought of "rewards" you use a behavior that the dog really likes to do.

    It's like everything else with a neat name. I really want that food, ok, heel next to me, then release for food in hand. I really want to bite that guy in the suit, ok, heel, down, sit in motion, recall etc, OK, release to go bite the guy. I really wanna chase squirrels, come here, sit, look at me, OK, you can go chase squirrels. by doing the behavior you want, they earn the right to do what they want to do and that is their reward.

    Dogs really decide what is rewarding to them. Sometimes it's food, sometimes it chasing, sometimes it's biting, sometimes it's jumping up in your face, sometimes it's swimming, sometimes its rolling in poop. Behavior, reward, pair it and put it on que.
     
  17. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,557
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Hudson Valley
    Home Page:
    Thanks. I haven't looked at it yet, but will definitely bookmark once I am on my computer instead of my work machine.

    Thanks. We are currently taking a break from training classes because they were just too much of a battle. When I'm ready to try again there are a few other places in the area that I would like to try. I picked these guys because they are close & their puppy kindergarten class worked out well with us.

    Until then, you've definitely given me lots to work on. But, the problem with using kibble for rewards is that he doesn't....like kibble. Like, if I try to use it as a reward for something he will push my hand away with his nose.
     
  18. adojrts

    adojrts New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2006
    Messages:
    4,089
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    7
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    What does he eat? use it, no meals in bowls, make him earn it and if he turns his nose up at it, missing a meal tends to fix that.
     
  19. LostAndConfused

    LostAndConfused Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2011
    Messages:
    3,557
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    2
    Location:
    Hudson Valley
    Home Page:
    Usually Fromm's Large Breed Puppy, but I don't understand how forcing him to work for food will make him food motivated and not resent training sessions.
     
  20. Kimbers

    Kimbers New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2011
    Messages:
    337
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Schaffer- fluffy GSD thing, Kailey- ACD mix, Crick
    Location:
    Denver
    You're right, you definitely don't want to "force" him to work. But if he doesn't get a meal, he should be hungry. I'd almost carry his food around in a treat bag and when he starts bugging you for it, have him do something simple like sit or a hand touch, then praise praise praise as you reward him with the food. I don't know if this has been said yet (not sure if I've read all of the comments or not) but start in a distraction-free environment and then work your way up to bigger and bigger distractions.
     

Share This Page