How to transition from treats to no treats? - Golden Retrievers : Golden Retriever Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 01:47 PM Thread Starter
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How to transition from treats to no treats?

When training my golden I first start using treats as a lure. I am having difficulty getting him to perform a command without treats. Sit was easy as he has to sit for his food, sit before going out the door, sit for passing cars and people, etc. he is learning leave it with 50/50 success rate and knows "no" for chewing. But other commands, like "down" he will only perform with treats and SOMETIMES gestures. But won't know what to do with just the word "down".

Suggestions on how to transition from treats to just words?


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 01:57 PM
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Great question. I'll be watching this thread to see what the experienced trainers have to say.

I've been keeping sliced up hot dogs in my mouth for training. Not only does it get her to focus on my face, but she doesn't know if there's a treat in there or not. Sometimes she gets one, sometime she doesn't. If we're working on something new, she gets one every time. For fronts and downs, I actually spit the hot dog piece at her and she usually catches it, depending on my aim. This is something I started recently. She loves it.

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 02:04 PM
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If he will go down with a gesture, it could be that he doesn't really know what "down" means yet. Dogs pick up body language faster than spoken language. I would practice with both the hand signal and the word until he understands what "down" means.

Once Molly understands a command I never have to use treats to lure or entice her to do something. At this point in our training I am using less small treats and more jackpot treats as a reward.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 02:51 PM
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If your pup will go down with a hand signal without food in that hand the pup doesn't understand the verbal. Say the verbal cue (wait) if the dog does the behavior then reward. If the dog doesn't do the behavior in one or two seconds use your hand signal when the dog does the cue/behavior then reward.

If you need the food in your hand in order for the dog to perform the cue then you have to fade the lure. Here are two articles that do discuss this. Once you have a dog that will do the cue/verbal and knows it then you can put the reward on an intermittent schedule.

Advanced Dog Training Methods: How to Fade Prompts and Lures - Whole Dog Journal Article

In early stages of training as described above, treats are lures; after a dog knows how to perform a behavior, when given after the fact to reinforce that behavior, treats are rewards.


Common Dog Training Mistakes - Whole Dog Journal Article

look at mistake number 2 and 3

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-06-2013, 08:57 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you! All wonderful suggestions! I will try incorporating them and report back!


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 10:30 AM
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I have never been a real big treat giver myself. I use treats minimal except for recalls. Mine get treats during potty training and when learning to come when called- Even as adults they still get treats after they potty outside and come when called just not everytime. I do have treats with me always though- Never know when they will see wildlife and need to be highly rewarded for coming when called.

When I train a new behavior I use hand signals and in the signal hand is the treat- So they are focused on me and not the actual cookie since most of the time there never is 1 but sometimes there.

Buddy has not idea what "cookie" or "treat" means but he does know "car" and "park" his 2 fave places!

My goldens have always been pleaser so while they like food they love attention more. Buddy gets regular kibble during training sessions otherwise he gets pushy and vocal.

Do what works best for you and best of lucK!

I do what I like and like what I do. Yorkies- Cozy (4/1/06), Roxy & Zoey (2/11/08), Lucy (4/6/09); Golden- Buddy (4/13/09- Rescued 12/11) Maine Coon cats- Mika (1998) and Tallulah (2000)
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2013, 06:01 PM
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I know Brooks, at age 7, knows the verbal command for down but he is REALLY slow about going into the down position unless there is food around. With food he drops like a soldier being shot at.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-13-2013, 12:53 PM
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To get Kiki off of food treats, I randomized her when I gave her a treat as a reward. Or sometimes I would give her a toy instead. So that she knew if she performed a trick she MIGHT get a treat and it was by the chance.
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