Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ruby Learning "Leave it"

Ruby is a spunky, smart little Yorkie that I have been training. We are on week 5 today, "Leave it" This is on average what happens when you set out to teach your dog to ignore something. I like to use a high value treat when teaching this on because they want it much more than their other treats, so when you get them to ignore a high value treat, other things are a bit easier. This video picks up about 10- 15 minutes into the training, so you see me make a few mistakes (everyone does ever now and then so don't feel bad when you do) by letting her get a lick off the spoon without me clicking her before (they should not be able to get a taste of whatever you use (I like to use a can of Max wet dog food) until they have demonstrated that they can ignore it for a second, then get clicked for it, then they can have a lick of the yummy treat that is on the spoon. A few reasons why I like using the Nutro Max wet dog food here, 1. I can't remember any dog who has turned their nose up at it, in fact most dogs will easily ignore any other treat I have used if this can of dog food is also available, 2. the dogs can smell it very easily (and love the smell), 3. it is easy to use a tiny bit (like I do for Ruby) or a whole spoonful, and 4. it is nutritionally balanced and good for your dog. You can use little bits of cheese or hot dogs, or a cooked piece of chicken. but I have found that the Max wet dog food to be the best balance overall (and I have had dogs turn their noses up at the use of hot dogs). This is just the first step, after you have taught your dog to ignore some really yummy food in front of it's nose, move on to placing some on the ground and walk you dog close enough to smell it and try to get it, but far enough away that no matter how hard your dog tries, they won't be able to accidently get some (and reinforce the bad behavior). Start to use this command whenever you need or want your dog to ignore something, another dog, a cat across the street, your plate of food on your coffee table (but beware some dogs will still try to get food left on the table if you are out of the room, as that behavior is self rewarding).

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