July/August challenge - working around food

Discussion in 'Forum Challenges' started by snowbunny, Jul 13, 2017.

  1. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Sorry for the delay in posting this, so let's make the first challenge go over until the end of August, shall we? There may be another mini-challenge in the meantime if anyone fancies, but for now...

    Our very first challenge is simple. We are going to be working on behaviours around a food bowl. This can be any behaviour you like; I've been trying out things like heeling away from the bowl, and working towards running past the bowl. The reward for doing the behaviour is getting to be released to take the food.

    If you have a helper, you can have them stand by the bowl at first, and lift it if the dog goes to take it.
    I don't generally have the luxury of a helper, so it's more important that I set the dog up for success, making it really easy to start with, and gradually working towards my goal. If I think there's a good chance that the dog will take the food, I just mock putting it in the bowl, so they don't get to self-reward if they can't resist. If they succeed, we run together towards the bowl and I toss the food in as they sniff it.

    You can see this attempt by my lot. We've played this game once before, so they are learning pretty quickly. There's not much structure to it, I'm just adjusting little things here and there so they get comfortable with doing different things around a bowl of cheese and learning that it's OK to do so.

    I wonder how it will look in a month's time.

     
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  2. Beanwood

    Beanwood Registered Users

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    Oh fab! Can't wait to get started. Luna you are such a good girl! :)
     
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  3. Boogie

    Boogie Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    This will be a challenge, Tatze has never had food out of her bowl except at meal times.

    We'll start today :)

    .
     
  4. Jyssica

    Jyssica Registered Users

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    @snowbunny You make it look effortless. (I know its far from it) the bond between you & your dogs is so clear to see! :heart:
     
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  5. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    It doesn't need to be her bowl. It can be a plastic box, or a special plastic plate or whatever you want. It's just something that it easy for the dog to see, rather than just scattering the food on the floor :)

    I look forward to hearing about / seeing your efforts!
     
  6. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Aw, thank you, that's lovely to hear :)

    Shadow finds this game quite easy, because he just loves doing stuff and is more motivated by the game than the food. So, with him, I need to up the ante. I started using a ball in his bowl instead of food, but it wasn't any different for him, as the value of the ball is in the chase. So to make it more challenging for him, I really need a helper, who is holding the ball in a "I'm about to chuck it" sort of way.
    Squidge is very food motivated (especially with CHEEEEEEEZE, as I was using in the video), but, again, loves the interaction more.
    Willow struggles the most - you can see that she found it difficult to walk away from the bowl at heel. That's OK, we just need to practice more :)

    It's all about starting at a level you think they will have success at and working up from there. For Luna, as a puppy with less exposure to doing stuff around distractions, we needed to do a few reps of releasing her to the food bowl on her "take it" cue - she knows this from being fed anyway, but it was out of context. Then, asking for a hand touch before releasing her. With other dogs, I might have had them on a lead at this point to prevent self-rewarding (if you don't have a helper), but she has some steadiness already because of dummy work, so I didn't think it was necessary. So I then started moving around and asking for a few paces to the hand target before being released, with me between her and the bowl, then slightly to the side, but asking for the target on the side farthest from the bowl to make it easier. Working towards having her run past it in a "temptation alley" sort of set up.

    Are you going to have a go, @Jyssica?
     
  7. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    This was interesting to watch. I've done this sort of thing with Molly but not for some while. I had a brief try after watching and Molly was delighted as she'd had her allowance of kibble and treats for the day (she's on a diet so I'm measuring it all out at the start of the day) so these were illegal extras (which I mustn't do again!) Anyway she was so pleased with the idea of extra food that she was willing to practically stand on her head in order to be sent to the bowl.

    At our dog club we occasionally do temptation alley and Molly has almost always been able to walk past the food, but never the soft toys!
     
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  8. Atemas

    Atemas Registered Users

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    She really is - lovely to watch :). I have done this with Red using a plastic lid off one of her food boxes (I measure out her food each day as to how it is going to be used). So far I have only put food on the lid and then released her to get it. She is showing good control. @snowbunny, you have given me ideas as to how I can extend this thank you.
     
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  9. selina27

    selina27 Registered Users

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    @snowbunny , so impressive to watch, the joy you take from training your dogs is a delight to see.
     
  10. leejane

    leejane Mum to the Mooster

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    @snowbunny - wow, seriously impressive.

    This might be a good one for us - I've never let Monty 'wait' for his food, he just gobbles it down - I know many people teach their dogs some manners but it wasn't something I was that bothered about - he has so little of his food allowance in a bowl I just let him snaffle at will. I might post a 'before' video to show how low we are starting from !

    Are we allowed to use a 'leave it' cue? ot is it meant to be that their attention is on you enough to leave the food?
     
  11. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Good to have you along, Natalie! Yes, "before" videos are encouraged, too, as well as outtakes along the way :)

    The idea is that you don't - that the dog is able to show self restraint around the food. If Monty isn't used to this, the best way of achieving it is to put a little food in your container, bowl or whatever you're using and start lowering it to the floor. If he tries to get it, you lift it up. It usually only takes a few minutes of doing this before the dog gets the idea that reaching for the food makes it go away. Once it's on the ground, give your release cue and let him take it. You can then gradually increase the time and the complexity. Don't be afraid of popping him on a lead if you feel you need it.
     
  12. heidrun

    heidrun Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Great challenge, @snowbunny. Fiona, you are starting to remind me of someone down in Devon! :tail:;)
     
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  13. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Haha, I take that as a compliment, but (assuming we're thinking about the same person - there are a lot of people in Devon, and I'm sure not all of them are people I'd enjoy being compared to ;) ) I have a loooong way to go to be anything like that :)

    I'm just trying my best to take all the information I can and turn it into a good relationship with my dogs.

    Hmmm, did I mention the R-word? ;)
     
  14. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    Oh I am loving this challenge, I started training this with Charlie a little while ago, although it wasn't going to well :rolleyes: x
     
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  15. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    I look forward to hearing about / seeing your progress, Helen :)

    We expect the wonderful Hattie to join in, too, of course. I'm sure she'd be the star pupil!
     
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  16. charlie

    charlie Registered Users

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    We will all give it a go, anything to do with food Hattie is your girl! :D xx
     
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  17. kateincornwall

    kateincornwall Registered Users

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    Blimey Fiona , this is seriously impressive , grand stuff so well done to you for the massive effort put in to achieve this xx
     
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  18. snowbunny

    snowbunny Registered Users

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    Thanks Kate :)

    At the risk of sounding smug, it wasn't that much effort really, to achieve what's in the video. I suppose the effort has been put in, but not directly into this exercise; it's more in the way that the three of them have learnt to learn, and love the games I play with them. As do I :)

    They're very smart dogs, all three of them. I'm sure they're no smarter than average - although I would like to think they are, obviously! It seems the more games I play with them, the quicker they are to pick up the rules of new games, too. It doesn't matter to any of us if those games have a purpose, as long as we're playing them together. Now look what you made me do, go all gushy ;)
     
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  19. Joy

    Joy Registered Users

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    I've never asked Molly to wait for her actual meals either. But I started training 'leave it' with a treat on the floor when she was about 5 or 6 months old. I use a plastic container, rather than her food bowl, for this sort of activity.
     
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  20. JenBainbridge

    JenBainbridge Registered Users

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    Oh god. This looks hard :eek:

    Although Stanley doesn't go for his food bowl unless I say "take it" so it could be achievable, maybe.. o_O

    Fiona, I have dog/trainer envy. Such gorgeous dogs and you're so calm and good with them. Me and Stanners are just both unruly crazies trying to find a common ground that suits us both :D
     

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