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Thread: Can a dog be *too* food motivated??

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Maryland, USA
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    Default Can a dog be *too* food motivated??

    Hi again! Please bear with all my questions right now! We just brought our 4 month old puppy home Sat. and we are learning as we go along and I have lots of questions.

    So today's dilemma.... I decided to introduce freeze dried liver treats for crate training today. I've been giving Cori a piece of kibble for her treats which she loves. I was having a hard time with being able to leave her in her crate with the door closed and me out of sight yesterday (she would cry). I thought the liver treats might be more motivating, so I decided to give it a try. She was going nuts jumping around the kitchen just when I opened the container! I got her settled and we started with the crate training session. She would go crazy after I gave a tiny piece of the liver treat--scratching the mat in her crate, squealing at me, like she couldn't wait to get more.

    Right now, I've got her in the crate with the door closed and I'm sitting at my computer (my back is to her). Yesterday, as long as she could see me, she was quiet. Today, she is yipping and whimpering--I think because she wants another liver treat, not because the door is closed. I'm ignoring the sounds and when she is quiet, I go back and treat her. She's making a fuss longer each time, though, instead of shorter, like you would expect.

    All that to ask, is the liver treat too high in value, possibly?? I've never seen a dog this food motivated before! I thought our first Cav was food motivated--ha! When we go outside, she's eating sticks, leaves, bark, rabbit poo (I've never even seen rabbits in our yard!).

    Anyway...any thoughts? Thanks!

    Amy, Furmom to Charlie (Black and Tan 1/08-6/10), who was taken too soon, and Tyler (Brown Tabby).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Staten Island, NY
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    Cavs can be very food motivated, and can easily gain weight, so whatever you are giving, keep it small. Liver treats were what we used in puppy class, to get the dogs attention and to reward, because most dogs LOVE them.

    The most important thing is to reward the good, wanted behavior quickly as the dog is doing it. So, if Cori is quiet and resting, its fine to Click (Optional -as this is what I use for my training), "quiet" (you may want to associate a word), and give the treat in one fluid motion. Easier said than done.

    The other important thing is to ignore or redirect unwanted behavior. If Cori is crying in the crate, the best you can do is ignore as I'm not sure how you could re-direct that behavior.

    If Cori is going nuts for the liver treat, I would use something else only because you are trying to reinforce "quiet" and getting her all riled up over a treat sort of defeats the purpose.

    I know you mentioned that you were starting training/puppy school? I'm sure they can give you lots of solid training advice - rather than my amateur tips. The trick with training is to just be consistent again and again and again. She will catch on. When you get frustrated or Cori gets frustrated, just end the training session.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    North Scotland - east coast
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    Sounds like she is a bit overexcited about the liver treats! You might find this helpful from the excellent Ann Rogers
    Nicki, Tommy and Daisy (Shih Tzu )
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