Dog advice please...

Prairie Rose

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oooo, thank you amKuska. I will definitely look into that one; half the reason our training progress is so slow is because he has to sit and think about every command. A commercially bought dog treat is not enough of a reward for him to want to please me that badly. He will take them, but he makes it very clear that this is not a reward for his actions. It's kind of hilarious, actually.

I would try toys and other interactions because he really likes to be loved on, but I'm not sure anyone has ever taught him how to play. Balls, squeaky toys, stuffed animals, chewing ropes? Blank stare and a sniff only for him to ignore them, despite my efforts at making them interesting. Even a bully stick just gets laid out in the yard somewhere so he can watch it and nothing else until it gets rained on and I throw it away. Same thing with a stuffed kong, I tried giving him one at night for weeks to help him settle and have something to do besides pacing the floor. He likes the peanut butter seal, but that's the only thing that interests him about it, no matter how high value the food packed inside is.

I have noticed on our walks he is really scent driven, will stop and sniff and try to chase trails multiple times on our trips through the cornfield. I have a couple of books on scent-work in my amazon cart, but I need to get the basics down with him first. I will definitely be reading that book!
 

Ridgerunner

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Isn't it interesting how different dogs are. I have one that is highly food motivated. She will do anything for a small treat. Very easy to train but also hard-headed. You have to constantly reinforce her training with a treat or she will regress but as long as you are consistent with that treat she stays trained.

Our other dog has little interest in treats, they are not much of a reinforcement to training. Sometimes she will ignore treats. She is a Velcro dog, has to be stuck on someone at all times and very hard to train other than sit and come. Sit is limited and forget stay. Any time you praise her she loses it, has to be with you. She's also extremely nervous, not just from storms. She's been this way for 12 years and I don't anticipate any changes for the better in the future.

Prairie Rose, I wish you luck in finding the right motivation to train that dog. Some of them are a lot more challenging than others.
 

baymule

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My livestock guard dogs don't play with toys. Right now, the puppy will play stick with Carson, our black Lab/Great Dane goofball. Toys aren't their thing. Treats are bones and bread. They don't really do anything to "earn" treats, just give up the treats and they will disappear until the bones are chewed to nothing or the bread is gulped down. Our female Great Pyrenees will not take anything from our hand except bread. Everything else, set it down, back off and if she wants it, she'll take it. Maybe-maybe not. But BREAD! She will actually sit (of her own accord), smile, look very, very happy and beg with her eyes for bread, then will take it gently from our fingers.

Do "this" and get a reward doesn't interest them. Pet me! Praise me! and help me celebrate the neighbor's cat/possum/snake I just killed is more like it.
 

Prairie Rose

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My livestock guard dogs don't play with toys. Right now, the puppy will play stick with Carson, our black Lab/Great Dane goofball. Toys aren't their thing. Treats are bones and bread. They don't really do anything to "earn" treats, just give up the treats and they will disappear until the bones are chewed to nothing or the bread is gulped down. Our female Great Pyrenees will not take anything from our hand except bread. Everything else, set it down, back off and if she wants it, she'll take it. Maybe-maybe not. But BREAD! She will actually sit (of her own accord), smile, look very, very happy and beg with her eyes for bread, then will take it gently from our fingers.

Do "this" and get a reward doesn't interest them. Pet me! Praise me! and help me celebrate the neighbor's cat/possum/snake I just killed is more like it.
That sounds about right on the treats, bay. I am the only one in the house he will take a treat from by hand, everybody else has to set it down and walk away. Before I accepted his differences as a dog, I tried a lot, lol. Sometimes I think he must be bored just sleeping all day long, but if he is content I will be happy with that.

I did stumble across using our jaunts across the yard as a 'reward' for short training sessions. Right before I take him out I put him on the leash and we run through our basic commands, and at the end we go out and he gets to run and sniff things and see what has changed in the three hours since we were out last time. Teaching him to come gets me absolutely killing him with affection, which seems to make him happy. It's a bit of a different train of thought, but it means more to him than getting a treat for listening to me. It's just a mental hiccup on my end, trying to adjust.
 

baymule

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I am glad that you are trying to meet him on his terms. He will reward you immensely, just not the way you would expect from a dog.

If there is a slaughter house near you, buy some dog bones. We can buy them, nice bones, usually with meat and cartilage on them.
 

AMKuska

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oooo, thank you amKuska. I will definitely look into that one; half the reason our training progress is so slow is because he has to sit and think about every command. A commercially bought dog treat is not enough of a reward for him to want to please me that badly. He will take them, but he makes it very clear that this is not a reward for his actions. It's kind of hilarious, actually.

I would try toys and other interactions because he really likes to be loved on, but I'm not sure anyone has ever taught him how to play.

I have noticed on our walks he is really scent driven, will stop and sniff and try to chase trails multiple times on our trips through the cornfield. I have a couple of books on scent-work in my amazon cart, but I need to get the basics down with him first. I will definitely be reading that book!
Actually, the book specifically mentions this. There's instructions on how to teach a dog how to play ball, and how to turn 'sniffing' into a reward you can use. As far as treats, the book mentions the same thing. It was very interesting.

So far the advice has gotten my dog's attention 110%, and I'm really happy with it. The only problem is when I tried her tip to teach them how to play ball (essentially play ball by yourself and make it look SUPER fun) my one year old daughter went tearing past me at all possible speed to get to the ball first and run off, squeaking. I have still not recovered the ball from her.
 

Prairie Rose

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I bought the book and am about a third of the way through it. I pulled the dog's kibble last night and when he came in good and hungry this morning, started teaching him that the clicker = treat. I used the bowl topper I sprinkle on his food to encourage him to eat more, and got more of a response out of him than I have yet. I literally had to shove the first two in his mouth, but after that he caught on and we didn't have any trouble.

Also took him to the vet's office a couple days ago, he has gained another 2 lbs. Not as much as I'd like, but he's burning calories just to stay warm outside at night. 12 more pounds to go before he will weigh enough to be neutered...
 
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