View Full Version : positive reinforcement for dropping something... question

20th January 2012, 02:30 PM
My 17 week old puppy is pretty fabulous overall, but sometimes he'll grab a sock or something and I was wrestling it out of his mouth. I read the thread on resource guarding and this morning I offered him a small piece of turkey to drop the sock and the used the words "drop it." Well, the dropping it part worked like a charm, but then for the next 10 minutes he was a jumpy excited mess looking for more turkey. It took me a while to settle him down. He was jumping all over me and my kids, which he wouldn't normally do.

Any advice on how to handle this? In the past, when I wrestled something out of his mouth, I would then offer a bully stick and he seemed calm and ok about taking it instead. I would say 85% of the time he will give me things he shouldn't have (shoes, etc) but sometimes when he gets a sock or something, he doesn't want to give it up. Was the turkey too much of a treat for him?

20th January 2012, 05:29 PM
Have you read Ian Dunbar's view on this? I think I mentioned the link for his free After You Get Your Puppy at www.dogstardaily.com (http://www.dogstardaily.com) before. but he goes through training this. In general you want to have this kind of work be part of a training session rather than a one-off or he will have no association whatever that there's a command and an action desired! :) He just thought it was a change from sock to free turkey.

I'd set aside daily time to work on this specific command and then once he actually knows the command, THEN use situations like this for one-off reinforcement of your fun training sessions.:)

The way Dunbar trains is to start with a reward then work away from the reward -- and that's how you work to get a dog that isn;t --quite naturally -- thinking you are about to offer free turkey handouts. :lol:

Turkey is pretty high value (make sure no fat or skin though) and thus good for training but if it is too distracting just choose an alternative -- cheese cubes, dried liver etc.Turkey is kind of messy as well and a bully stick is really more a chew treat than a reward for training as once he has it it isn;t something you are going to take away and then practice right away again.

20th January 2012, 06:36 PM
Thanks Karlin. That makes perfect sense. We start puppy obedience classes tomorrow and hopefully I can get on a better training routine with him here at home. We've been doing sit and stay and he has those, no problem. I started with treats and now he'll sit with no treats...but I didn't even think to train "drop it."
I get it!