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Michelle, M & M's mommy
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I posted this on the training board too.

Molly is just about 18 months old and been through 1 obedience class already, barely. She is a very good little girl and we adore her completely. However, she is difficult to motivate to learn new things or go new places as she is timid and not food motivated. Took her to the vet yesterday for her check up and shots and it was horrible. First have to force her into the van (which I hate doing but I can't figure out how to convince her it's okay). She is sweet as pie to everyone at the vets office but I can never get her to walk on the floors (she has fear of floors without carpet.) I was really hoping that she would train to be a therapy dog but now know she is just too timid to ever be able to do it. I've accepted that, I love her still. ;-) However, I would love to train her to do more than basic commands, does anyone have any ideas on how to motivate her? Or thoughts on how to get her over her timidness? We are considering a brother for her, an older rescue who would already have a confident personality.
 

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chew chew chew
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3,571 Posts
What treats have you tried? How often is she fed? When is she fed and when do you try to train her? Does she like toys? Have you tried clicker training?

Also, try to be very confidant yourself, pretend not to notice when she's acting unsure or fearful so she doesn't get praised for doing so (even if you are trying to help her along, if you are being positive some dogs love that too).

Using really high value treats (like cooked liver bits), feeding the dog once a day (instead of several times or leaving food out), feeding right before dinnertime and even holding dinner for an hour if needed can help with motivation. Clicker training sometimes helps too. If you get a second dog, you can do things like take both to class and rotate, if she's not wanting to work put her in a crate to watch you train the other one for a while.

I've also read about having a special toy to motivate, removing all other toys and then once or twice a day for a while taking out the special toy to play with - without the dog, but with the dog watching. Then offering the toy here and there...

Lana
 

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We had the same issue with Tucker on walks. He was not interested in food, so we were having a hard time training him to walk nicely on a leash. This is what was recommended by our trainer and it worked for us- Try making Molly earn every morsel of her food. Say you give her 3 cups of food a day, 1/2 in the morning, 1/2 in the evening. Instead of 1-1/2 cups in the morning only give her 3/4 to 1 cup. Use the other 2 to 2-1/4 for hand feeding thruout the day, but only when she does what you ask her to do. It could be for sitting, doing a down stay, playing fetch and dropping the ball nicely, walking nicely on a leash, anything. But, if she does not do what you ask, put the kibble you were going to give her back in the bag for tomorrow. She will find if she does not listen and pay attention to you, she won't eat. I guarantee she will get the idea. We did this with Tucker, where he would only eat his kibble on our walk. It did not take long for him to learn that he better listen on the walk or he doesn't eat. It took him only one day to figure it out. I am sure Molly will be the same. Hope this helps-
 
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