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Old 03-26-2014, 08:49 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Training a puppy tricks!

I just brought home my puppy Howie on Saturday March 22 2014. He is super smart and I have been working on training him tricks. He has the command sit pretty good so long as he can smell the treat I have in my hand. Now that he can sit I have been working on the command Down as in lay down but I only say down as I pull the treat to the floor. He is doing great now and lays down really well.....He was raising his rump after he would lower his front lol was so cute but he is getting it....my question is how long do I have to lead him to the down position with the treat before he will preform on his own....He does sit really well with me not having to do the motions to lead him to the sit postion.. He is doing great I just want to know if I am training correctly?
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Old 03-26-2014, 11:08 PM   #2
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Congratulations on your new puppy! Sounds like you're doing good so far. All pups are different and learn at different rates, so as long as you are satisfied with the results I'd continue on. Are you using verbal commands along with hand signals?
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:49 AM   #3
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Congratulations on your new puppy! Sounds like you're doing good so far. All pups are different and learn at different rates, so as long as you are satisfied with the results I'd continue on. Are you using verbal commands along with hand signals?
Thanks! Yes I am using verbal commands too. He has picked up very quickly but he follows the treat intently. If he does not smell the treat he will not do the trick. Sit is the only one he does and I feel he knows well. Down he is getting but only as long as I use the hand gestures. I know he will get it he is very smart!
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:53 AM   #4
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Yes, and they also have the attention span of a gnat! So interest in food is a good thing! He'll get it.
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:22 AM   #5
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Yes, and they also have the attention span of a gnat! So interest in food is a good thing! He'll get it.
Lol...I have also only been using one or two treats at a time and breaking them in smaller pieces keeping the training time short because that's what ever thing I have read about training said to do.
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:15 AM   #6
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I use Cheerios cereal for training. They can eat a lot of them without filling up too much, as long as there's no grain allergies.
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:48 AM   #7
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I use Cheerios cereal for training. They can eat a lot of them without filling up too much, as long as there's no grain allergies.
That's cool. I will have to try cheerios. He seems to like all food though I am trying not to let him have much people food. He has learned already that grandma drops things sometimes on the floor in the kitchen so that's the first thing he does when I get him out of his pin. He finds all kinds of things. Last night I had to take away an eggshell he found on the floor by the trash can mom had dropped.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:15 PM   #8
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I've been told by a trainer that it's best to remove the food as a lure as soon as the dog can do the trick without it. Sooner the better. You still use it as a reward but if it's a lure the dog will learn not to perform unless you have a treat in your hand. It's good to do a hand signal along with the command, even when you don't have a treat in your hand. Every dog's different but that's what I was taught.

From my experience with the one dog that I have, he learns the sign language faster than the audible command.
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Old 03-27-2014, 02:53 PM   #9
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I've been told by a trainer that it's best to remove the food as a lure as soon as the dog can do the trick without it. Sooner the better. You still use it as a reward but if it's a lure the dog will learn not to perform unless you have a treat in your hand. It's good to do a hand signal along with the command, even when you don't have a treat in your hand. Every dog's different but that's what I was taught.

From my experience with the one dog that I have, he learns the sign language faster than the audible command.
Oh okay. Thanks ill try that!
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Old 03-27-2014, 03:15 PM   #10
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Good luck
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Old 03-27-2014, 04:17 PM   #11
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I continue to use the lure until the dog is doing the trick on his own 4 out of 6 times or the majority of the time. Then don't hesitate to continue to use treats for rewards for getting the trick right and don't forget a smile and happy praise. Make him want to please you with your upbeat attitude and he will work hard to figure out what you want for the great reward he knows will be forthcoming and most of all he'll work to please you after he's been at it a while and learns that all that positive reinforcement from you is waiting for him upon doing his job well. To me, there is nothing cuter than a dog doing his tricks and knowing he's your star!
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:53 AM   #12
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I continue to use the lure until the dog is doing the trick on his own 4 out of 6 times or the majority of the time. Then don't hesitate to continue to use treats for rewards for getting the trick right and don't forget a smile and happy praise. Make him want to please you with your upbeat attitude and he will work hard to figure out what you want for the great reward he knows will be forthcoming and most of all he'll work to please you after he's been at it a while and learns that all that positive reinforcement from you is waiting for him upon doing his job well. To me, there is nothing cuter than a dog doing his tricks and knowing he's your star!
I tried not having a treat in had for the command sit because he knows that command really well but if he can't smell the treat he isn't interested in performing the trick so I don't think I can take the treat out of the training!! I do give him lots of praise and have been amazed at how fast he has picked up on the tricks. I still have to lure him in the down position so he does not fully have that one yet but his butt was raising in the air after his front would lower and now he is not raising his butt in the air so he is showing improvement. I have never taught a dog tricks Before and I wanted to train Howie to do many tricks ..just didn't know if I was doing things right but was trying to follow all that I have read and watched on YouTube. Thanks!

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Old 03-28-2014, 03:56 AM   #13
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How old is Howie? I really wouldn't worry about him doing the tricks without treats at this point (I believe he's very young). One thing though is to change his trick routine...ie: don't do the tricks in the same order every time. Also watch for natural behaviors and incorporate those into your training. Like when he has his butt in the air, try teaching him to 'take a bow' and/or crawl... Also teach him the important things, like 'leave it' so when he does pick up an inappropriate object, you can get it away from him.

Last but not least, I'd do a quick sweep of the floor before letting him out. Eggshells can be very dangerous for dogs and can tear their insides up.

People have been going round and round for decades about using treats or not for training. I wouldn't worry too much about it at this point.
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Old 03-28-2014, 05:01 AM   #14
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How old is Howie? I really wouldn't worry about him doing the tricks without treats at this point (I believe he's very young). One thing though is to change his trick routine...ie: don't do the tricks in the same order every time. Also watch for natural behaviors and incorporate those into your training. Like when he has his butt in the air, try teaching him to 'take a bow' and/or crawl... Also teach him the important things, like 'leave it' so when he does pick up an inappropriate object, you can get it away from him.

Last but not least, I'd do a quick sweep of the floor before letting him out. Eggshells can be very dangerous for dogs and can tear their insides up.

People have been going round and round for decades about using treats or not for training. I wouldn't worry too much about it at this point.
He is 11 weeks old today...thanks for the great advice! I will start checking the floor better I was very glad I caught him before he chomped down on the eggshell. Howie is like having a toddler Again. My son is 11 this year so it's been a while since I have had a toddler learning all over again!! Lol It is so much fun though and I am enjoying Howie very much!!
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:04 AM   #15
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He's just a baby so his brain isn't capable to retaining much training for long right now so cut him a little slack and just keep up the daily very, very short sessions - say 3 minutes x3 daily or so - and he'll come along nicely as his brain grows and develops and learns how to learn. One day soon, you'll be surprised as you get your payoff when you see him starting to make sense of it all and going through his tricks. With a very, very young dog a lure of a treat or favorite toy is just about a necessity but I frankly used treats all along as to a dog it's a form of love to share food with them and offer it as an enticement to work hard. We're that same way - we want something we like in order to work hard and dogs are just the same. Later on, after you two are a real team and have bonded, he'll do tricks mainly just because you want him to and in order to please you and get all that positive feedback and reinforcement from you.

But treats are like words of love and nurture to a dog and frankly, in their world, giving a necessity of survival - food - to them is one of the greatest things you can do for them in their eyes. They see you are willing to share resources with them in training and want badly to work with you after that to keep pleasing you so they can participate in the resource sharing of your little pack. I never hesitate to train small dogs with their smaller brains with treats, especially early on in the first months of training. It just excites them and gets them working hard - just as we work for our paychecks. I use my dog's own dog kibble as treats so it's just part of his daily diet and doesn't add fat to him. But for especially difficult trick training or behavior modification, I use warm, freshly boiled chicken or turkey hot dogs in a healthy dog with no GI problems in its history but I would not do that with a young puppy like yours - only with an older dog whom I knew didn't have GI/liver/pancreatic issues. For a young puppy, I'd just use my own dog's food as the "treat" so as not to upset his tummy or give him diarrhea.

Keep on working with your young baby and he'll get there when he's a little older and you'll be so proud of him - and never hesitate to tell him how proud you are of him when he gets it right. They just glow when you do that.
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