Using treats to train play (frisbee, toys, etc)

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by JacksonsMom, Jul 17, 2012.

  1. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Does anyone advise doing or not doing this?

    I'm REALLY hoping to teach Jackson how to catch a frisbee in mid-air.

    He's really developed a great drive for the frisbee over the past year. For the first year of his life, he wouldn't even really play fetch. So I had to teach him how fun THAT was (his favorites are Orbee balls). He'll play out back or in the house for a while down our long hallway, but I still can't get him too interested in fetching other places (i.e. the park, or anywhere with a lot of smells and more interesting things going on).

    But now, I have these little plastic discs from Petco and I LOVE when I see him just sooo excited when I pull them out. I'm just so thrilled to see him with so much drive for them. We get outside, he's on a long line that I let him drag, and he's jumping up and down focused on the frisbees when I am holding them.

    And he's chasing them longer than ever lately. He used to get bored with it after about 5-10 minutes - now he's usually going for 15-20 (and often uphill) and just loving chasing after them. Occasionally I have to give him the reminder to bring it all the way back with a slight tug on the leash, because sometimes he stops mid-way and begins to chew on the disc (he has a thing for plastic).

    As a reward for bringing it back, I've been using one of the chewed up ones as a tug toy. Which, again, I LOVE seeing his drive and how strong he's pulling as this is not a dog who is normally motivated by tug or toys (he's a food mongrel). In the beginning, I did use treats to reward him for bringing the frisbee back. I kind of phased those out. But I'm wondering if I should bring them back into the game so that hopefully if he does catch one in the air, I can reward him heavily with praise and treats, etc. OR... is that bad to use treats and will it turn into more of a "trick session" rather than playing a game? I'm just not sure. I know that food motivates him more than anything and I'm thinking it may help if we ever want to play with the disc somewhere else where he usually doesn't play like a park.

    So basically, right now, I can throw it directly at him from 1-2ft away and he can catch it. But HOW can I keep him to run and actually CATCH it from up in the air. He does mostly follow it with his eyes, but he lets it drop on the ground first.

    I also just purchased a Jawz Pup Disc from Skyhoundz because he enjoys chewing the plastic and it always amazes me how fast he gets pieces off and then the frisbees get destroyed quickly and don't fly right.
     
  2. Beanie

    Beanie Clicker Cult Coordinator

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    Training IS playing! And playing is training. So there's nothing wrong with using food to teach how to play with toys. People do it all the time to build value to toys for dogs who aren't toy motivated. Nope, not bad at all.

    I don't know the answer to the question about how to get him to snag it out of the air so I'll let somebody else address that one.
     
  3. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I taught Meg, the least motivated toy dog on the planet, to catch a frisbee in mid-air using treats. I'd do a bunch of rounds of me just holding the frisbee out, so she had to jump and grab it, and then treat her. Then I'd start with easy tosses. She always got a treat for getting the frisbee and bringing it back (like I said, zero natural toy drive) but I'd jackpot any catches in the air or really good attempts. She wasn't going to go win a frisbee competition, but she would frequently get catches.
     
  4. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Awesome! This is what I did earlier today and he was doing GREAT. I was moving the frisbee with my hands and encouraging him to grab it while in motion. I also had him grabbing it in his mouth while standing on my back (he already knows that trick :p) so I think it would be adorable to see him do a back stall.

    But I'm happy to hear you got a non toy motivating dog to catch a disc! Very encouraging. :)

    After today's little session, I feel really confident we can do this, especially since he *does* have some drive for it already.
     
  5. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Okay, good to know! :D
     
  6. AdrianneIsabel

    AdrianneIsabel Glutton for Crazy

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    Arnold thinks toys are dumb or just for destroying. I clicker trained him to play the game of flyball. It's definitely possible. :)
     
  7. Shai

    Shai & the Muttly Crew

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    Webster would just stare at me or off in the distance when I threw/rolled/twitched a toy. Zero interest. Absolutely zero.

    Add clicker, treats, and effort?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    lol
     
  8. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    That first picture of Webster cracks me up every time! What a great shot!

    Here's Meg, pretending she gives a crap about fetching.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I had to literally clicker train "touch the toy" as a start to teaching her fetch. She came a long way!

    I do want to start trying to teach Gusto to catch frisbees now that he's a bit older. Right now, he uses his feet to knock them out of the air.
     
  9. Laurelin

    Laurelin I'm All Ears

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    I'm working with Summer on playing right now. We've gone from 'touch the toy' to where if I hold the toy, she will bat at it with her paws and sometimes mouth it. It's definitely progress but it's SLOW.
     
  10. ihartgonzo

    ihartgonzo and Fozzie B!

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    I did the same thing as Boston did with Fozzie. It is HILARIOUS watching him catch a frisbee... he gets some air with those stubby legs. :)

    I finished by only rewarding him for catching the frisbee. Now, I'll still occasionally reward him for catching it, usually it's just with lots of "yayyyy good boyyyy!" though. The act of chasing and catching it has become rewarding to him, just by associating it with so many good things & getting him amped up.
     
  11. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    Yay! Well I'm feeling so much better now. Like it's completely possible. We're going to keep working on it! He's really really good at catching things already... if I throw anything directly at him, he almost always catches (a ball, a toy, the frisbee thrown directly at him) so I have faith he can do a long distance throw. He also has SOME drive for toys (he will always jump in the pool after a bumper) and he plays with me inside. So I know it's in him somewhere!

    I LOVE the first picture of Webster, hahaha. He's amazing. And Meg looks like a pro!
     
  12. JacksonsMom

    JacksonsMom Active Member

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    I'm so pumped, Jackson is doing great with the frisbee. I'm going to attempt to go to the dog park early in the morning so he can get some off leash practice, and in a place with lots of different smells, etc, but hopefully nobody else will be there.

    Also, I just saw some super drivey little Yorkies playing frisbee on YouTube and I just know Jackson can do this. :)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vx8DcNGVHGU

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMAb8H-uRCc

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fdPpN3b06yM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4ZFJgdq704
     

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