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Thread: Training with a Food Obsessed Dog

  1. #1
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    Default Training with a Food Obsessed Dog

    so curious if any of you guys have had experience with especially food obsessive dogs. I mean when trying to train they are barely learning because all they are focussing on and getting worked up about is the treats that you have in your hand/pocket.

    what solution would you use? is some compulsion training the way to go? (i.e. putting them in a drop/sit etc then rewarding) or something I haven't quite thought of yet?

    I have tried to get my boy to focus on me (by teaching him the focus exercise i.e. looking at me rather than the treat when I call his name) but the second I move my hands he is searching for the treats. and if I accidently drop one he will be focussed on getting all the crumbs before listening to me again.

    It can get tiring and frustrating and I am usually a very patient person. I'm just not sure whether there is another training method that would work better.

    .... I'm doing clicker training at the moment which worked beautifully with my other two girls but my boy is just a little different.

    any help would be great thanks guys
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

  2. #2
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    Have you tried "its yer choice" training game yet?

    I posted how to do it in here somewhere. And if you google - there's quite a few references and maybe even some youtube.

    You may also need to grade the food from totally distractingly yummy, to boring old dinner kibble. So work with boring food until your dog shows a little more self control. And then reward with the really special food when there are other really big distractions around like possums running across the training ground. Or if the dog does something mindblowingly awesome in their training ie recalls off a pack of playing or fighting dogs or away from a live snake...

    Google its yer choice training game

    PS it's the "bit speshul" dogs that make us better trainers...
    Last edited by Hyacinth; 10-11-2011 at 10:26 PM.

  3. #3

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    I agree with Hya. Find a treat for him that is not as high as what you are using. Or change your reward to praise or toys or something along those lines.

  4. #4

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    IMO this is a quality problem to have!

    I wouldn't be trying to decrease his drive but I'd be teaching him self control and what earns him drive rewards. Ultimately IMO, we never get the most out of dogs with useable drive by trying to squash it. I don't think it's the best way to use their drive or the most reliable.

    I would definitely look at training him in food drive! He sounds super fun!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    PS it's the "bit speshul" dogs that make us better trainers...
    So true.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    You may also need to grade the food from totally distractingly yummy, to boring old dinner kibble. So work with boring food until your dog shows a little more self control. And then reward with the really special food when there are other really big distractions around like possums running across the training ground. Or if the dog does something mindblowingly awesome in their training ie recalls off a pack of playing or fighting dogs or away from a live snake...
    There are no boring foods to him I had thought of that but he gets just as excited over boring kibble as he does with roast beef.

    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    PS it's the "bit speshul" dogs that make us better trainers...
    Thinking positive! haha, I had thought that too and it is making me even more determined to find the best way to train him

    that game looks interesting and I will be giving that a try, I do hope it works, if not perhaps I could look at that "triangle of temptation" any of you had experience with that?
    Last edited by Kaz Tarja; 10-12-2011 at 11:14 AM.
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

  7. #7

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    TOT is excellent for teaching self control while the dog is in drive, I'd definitely give it a go as a starting point

  8. #8
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    but has anyone ever had actual experience/gotten far in training that way? and will I have to move the boy away from girls while starting it (i.e. the tieing out) they won't touch his food but would they just be a distraction?
    "In order to really enjoy a dog, one doesn't merely try to train him to be semihuman. The point of it is to open oneself to the possibility of becoming partly a dog." - Edward Hoagland

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kaz Tarja View Post
    but has anyone ever had actual experience/gotten far in training that way? and will I have to move the boy away from girls while starting it (i.e. the tieing out) they won't touch his food but would they just be a distraction?
    If you mean with TOT specifically, then IMO it's a good basis and a good place to start but I would seriously look further into drive training if I had a dog that had food "obsession" and food drive so high they had no control around food.

    If you mean do people get far training dogs in drive work (TOT is a drive program) then yes - definitely. Top competitors use drive work because it gets the best results and the most reliable dogs. If I had a dog with any decent drive I would not train any other way IMO.

    With TOT and any training I do to start with I would have the dog separated from the others to minimise distractions

    TOT is not all I would do with a dog like yours but it is a start...

    A couple of articles for you to read to give you a general idea of what I'm talking about:

    http://www.k9pro.com.au/pages.php?pageid=55

    http://www.k9pro.com.au/pages.php?pageid=79
    Last edited by Bec; 10-12-2011 at 10:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    I wish you'd been around when I had my old dog, smeagle. She had a very strong prey drive and all I ever tried to do was to suppress it. I did try to use it at one stage, but could not get her to show an interest in any toy, so gave up.

    I think it is why I went for the dog I have now. Who has no obvious strong drives... Easier in some ways, but still hard to train when there are many distractions.

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