Working Dog Forums banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
id like to share one method that we use in falconry that may be applicable in dog training. ive read in some post here before that their dog isnt food motivated. i think this might be of use to them.

in falconry, we have what we call WEIGHT MANAGEMENT. We systematically drop the weight of the FALCON to motivate her on flying back to our fist for their food reward. You see, we cant just skip their meal and STARVE THE BIRD cos their health is very fragile and may cos them their life the next day. we want to strike a balance where the bird is very FIT to do long chases to hunt GAME yet would still do a whistle recall.

We start by feeding a young falcon as much food she can eat everyday until her feathers are HARDPENNED or fully grown. By giving full meal, we will be able to get their FATTEST WEIGHT. you will know they are at their FAT WEIGHT once they stop gaining.

When the bird is full grown and at her optimum size, then its time to start dropping their weight.

You need to remember the birds FAT WEIGHT since we will base our weight drop from there. we start by cutting their weight about 5% off the FAT WEIGHT and see if we can get the sharpness and fast recall to the fist. Quick recall for us means the bird should start flying towards us once she sees me raising my arm. this is what we call the FLY WEIGHT.

if she is still hesitant then we continue dropping weight to 10%, then to 15% and usually it doesnt go as low as 20% to get to her FLY WEIGHT. it is already risky to reach 20% and i make it a CEILING to not go beyond it.

the key thing here is to STABILIZE the weight before you continue DROPPING if needed.

We always keep a record daily for
FOOD AMOUNT = WEIGHT GAIN/DROP. We strive for PRECISION since a few grams off could mean the falcon FLYING AWAY.

We maintaIn FLY WEIGHT for the whole hunting season and once she starts changing feathers again, we fatten her up.

I am currently doing WEIGHT MANAGEMENT with my MALINOIS and i only need to drop her weight to 3% to get her food motivated. Im happy that ill be able to use both food and prey drive on her training.

Hope this helps...

here's a video of my BARN OWL free-flying:

http://www.cebudogtrainer.com/post/9284758218/when-i-was-a-kid-i-dreamed-of-flying-my-own

All the best!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Yes, once i cut a few grams off their ration, i feed the same amount for a couple a days until the weight drop stabilizes. When the dog doesnt stop bugging for the treats in my pocket, i know im at the right weight.

One good exercise to check if her FOOD MOTIVATION is up is by doing the MUSCLE MEMORY HEELING. The dog will not disengage your left hand if all she thinks about is getting that food in your LEFT HAND
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,064 Posts
First off, let me say that your video is amazing. It must be a real exciting sports/hobby to work with birds of prey. Feel free to post more of the Owl or other birds that you train with!

As for food drive...

Dogs are funny things when it comes to food. I like your thoughts and the way of thinking but I don't really think it will apply to dogs as well as you would think. To begin with, Shepherds, be it German, Dutch or Belgian are notoriously well known for their poor eating habbits. They can be extremely picky eaters, non eaters, fussy eaters. There are tricks of working around that like taking away the food bowl if not eaten in 10 minutes and returning it the next day until the dog starts to eat at some point. Thing is tho, they never really eat with joy or willingly, they are eating because they have to survive and thats pretty much about it. I have had several shepherd's who were terrible when it came to feeding and each bowl of food was more of an exercise they felt they had to go through then anything else. Then you have the stubborn dogs, the ones that wont submit for whatever reason, seen plenty of those around in my day. There is a whole range of reasons why building fooddrive in a dog will not work or work as well as you might have imagined it would. Dogs are just funny in that way and its easier not to try and raise the food drive but to find something else that does get their attention and to use that instead.

JMO ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,030 Posts
Great video. From the folks I've spoken with is that they will weigh the bird every day not so much to keep them coming to you to be fed (although that is part of it certainly) but to much weight gain and they won't be able to fly very well, if at all, until the weight comes off.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
First off, let me say that your video is amazing. It must be a real exciting sports/hobby to work with birds of prey. Feel free to post more of the Owl or other birds that you train with!

As for food drive...

Dogs are funny things when it comes to food. I like your thoughts and the way of thinking but I don't really think it will apply to dogs as well as you would think. To begin with, Shepherds, be it German, Dutch or Belgian are notoriously well known for their poor eating habbits. They can be extremely picky eaters, non eaters, fussy eaters. There are tricks of working around that like taking away the food bowl if not eaten in 10 minutes and returning it the next day until the dog starts to eat at some point. Thing is tho, they never really eat with joy or willingly, they are eating because they have to survive and thats pretty much about it. I have had several shepherd's who were terrible when it came to feeding and each bowl of food was more of an exercise they felt they had to go through then anything else. Then you have the stubborn dogs, the ones that wont submit for whatever reason, seen plenty of those around in my day. There is a whole range of reasons why building fooddrive in a dog will not work or work as well as you might have imagined it would. Dogs are just funny in that way and its easier not to try and raise the food drive but to find something else that does get their attention and to use that instead.

JMO ;)
Do you find this problem with any and all foods? For example, would they treat raw meat as if it were low-grade kibble?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
118 Posts
this is not the first time i have heard this in theory. old bob elgin who was the director of blank park zoo in desmoines, ia trained a lot of animals besides dogs: big cats, chimps, falcons, even did snake charming :)
years ago, we had a female gsd we bought from him and trained with him & some others for 2 or 3 yrs. he
was always coming off with some training theory he'd used on other animals. sometimes, it sounded interesting & sometimes half crocked. he did a lot of training with food on wild animals/zoo animals--iguess
because that's what they understand & learn most quickly from. at any rate, old bob is no longer with us, but
when i hear something like this i have to smile & think of him. he wote a book called: my brother, the tiger. or something like this. very interesting & unusual man :)
pjp

***correction>>> "the tiger is my brother."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
521 Posts
I have been using this technique for years in dog training. I trained a while ago with ske falconry guys. Amazing stuff. I have implemented the techniques with hundreds of dogs. Thanks for posting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,398 Posts
i would imagine a lot of people use "food management" to assist in their training without giving it much thought and without keeping records like the falconers do.

- and i respect those who take their training more seriously and DO keep detailed records

- and fwiw, i have also known a lot of people who are seriously "ANTI-food" for ANY training and thinks it just makes a dog a chow hound and messes it up. i don't feel the same. to me it's just another tool

- of course i know all dogs need to be fed well; i just look at it as something i can manipulate to MY benefit rather than consider it something i "owe" to the dog that should be viewed separate from training

- i would also assume that managing a dog's weight is probably not as critical as managing a bird's weight.

ime, i have had MANY dogs come to me that the owner claimed had NO food drive and were not food motivated at all. various breeds; various sizes. in EVERY case i found that to be NOT true. after a few days of food management, various types of food items could be used to motivate the dog. the longest might have taken a couple weeks but those cases are rare.

I don't know specifically how Ted does this, and i have never kept anything more than basic notes, but imo if a dog is not motivated for food there is either a health issue going on, or food has just lost it's "motivational" "food drive" factor because the dog has been conditioned not to work for food and food has lost any value to the dog.

- one specific technique i use for aggressive dogs is teach them to eat from strangers. i won't go into details but i have found that even VERY aggressive dogs who have had live bites do very well in the rehab process when they get neutral to receiving food from strangers
**note** ...don't start trying to imagine what this looks like because your image will probably not be how i do it :)
- i'm only listing this example because it is probably not what the average person thinks of when applying food training to aggressive dogs.

but if anyone has specific techniques or details that go beyond the "NILF" basics they want to contribute and post, i'm all ears. i'm always looking for better ideas :)

my .05:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Hi rick,

there are other FALCONRY TECHNIQUEs that can be use also in food aggression with dogs. By instinct, all BIRDS OF PREY will guard their CATCH. As a Falconer, it is always our goal to develop a HAWK that is willing to leave her CATCH for just a TIDBIT as a reward. If messed up with the training, you will have a BIRD that will MANTLE over her food and starts attacking you.

While the bird is eating her PREY, i throw a piece of meat near her and since she is still plucking the feathers of her catch, she will be tempted to leave it for an easier meal. Once she takes the THROWN MEAT, i take her CATCH and call her to my glove to eat it. I will also help her pluck the feathers. This way she will learn that i am not there as a COMPETITION but as her HUNTING PARTNER.

While doing this, we don't give eye contact and we approach sideways and try to lower ourselves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,398 Posts
interesting Jojo...very cool info !Tx

fwiw, food aggressive dogs have their own form of "mantling" even tho they don't have wings. it's more like a "hover", but they aren't in the air ......//lol//

re:
"there are other FALCONRY TECHNIQUEs that can be use also in food aggression with dogs. By instinct, all BIRDS OF PREY will guard their CATCH. As a Falconer, it is always our goal to develop a HAWK that is willing to leave her CATCH for just a TIDBIT as a reward. If messed up with the training, you will have a BIRD that will MANTLE over her food and starts attacking you."
-- i understand. fortunately it is extremely rare to work with a dog that has that level of predatory instincts since losing the need for predation is one of the significant evolutionary changes that made them a different species from other wild canines
-- after looking at the history of each dog, my impression has been ALL dogs i have worked with (including one wild dog) that were seriously food aggressive got that way thru a gradual conditioning process. either they were feral and had to fight for food or were not fed equally from puppyhood or undernourished. or they developed extreme possessiveness that included food items. the one wild dog i saw was received from another owner who had it a year and a half, but it was home fed after whelping; it never had to hunt and was fed kibble. when i got it i switched it to raw right away.

"While the bird is eating her PREY, i throw a piece of meat near her and since she is still plucking the feathers of her catch, she will be tempted to leave it for an easier meal."
-- i question whether that would be effective with dogs, but i will admit i have never thrown more food down to a dog that is starting to eat to see if i could make it leave the main course so that i could remove it without triggering more aggression. but that also makes me question what is being accomplished since i would also think that the aggression would simply be transfered to the thrown item. similar to playing a "two ball" game with a very possessive dog...it doesn't always work, and i HAVE tried that approach

"Once she takes the THROWN MEAT, i take her CATCH and call her to my glove to eat it. I will also help her pluck the feathers."
-- interesting but hard to see exactly how you would do the same thing while feeding a dog and as i said i don't think the dog would get into a "mutual hunt" mode with me. it might even backfire and reinforce the aggression since the dog might feel i just took its main food item away because now "I" have what "IT" used to have :)

"This way she will learn that i am not there as a COMPETITION but as her HUNTING PARTNER."
-- THIS i agree with 100%; just delete all after "COMPETITION" :)

"While doing this, we don't give eye contact and we approach sideways and try to lower ourselves."
-- this is good submissive, non threatening body language, but i just don't try and remove food aggression by submissively approaching a food aggressive dog and taking the food away. THAT comes WAY further along in the counter conditioning process

basically i just treat a food aggressive dog as a bitch would treat a hungry pup. ALL food comes from me and is mine first, and i decide when to feed, the dog has to approach me submissively to get it, and i don't leave when they start eating. to get to that point across might take 20 steps, but it is still a LONG time before i ever proof this by interrupting the eating and removing any part of it

just different roads :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,398 Posts
i think everyone would agree it is a LOT harder to train a predator than it is to train a dog

cats have lived around humans a long time but try training one to heel off lead //rotflmao//
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,398 Posts
re: your Q Chris :

.... when i wrote this i thought your Q had been answered already :
"it is extremely rare to work with a dog that has that level of predatory instincts since losing the need for predation is one of the significant evolutionary changes that made them a different species from other wild canines"

anyway......in very broad terms, i would summarize the evolution by listing these steps :
1. wolf species. predators who stalked and hunted for food but would never turn down a freebie and still scavenge other kills. afraid and wary of humans
2. wolves who found more easy pickings scavenging around human areas than the more energy consuming hunting, but still didn't trust the humans
3. more conditioning with closer proximity to humans follows. aggression diminishes and trust builds up
4. man and animal finally start interacting. man starts using the animal to assist him and the animal is paid by given free food
5. cities spring up and humans bring their dogs along and dogs become urbanized
6. man continues to screw with breeding dogs and makes a new breed a minute in comparison to mother nature's way
7. the modern age of man results in all types of manufactured breeds and the age of lap warmers, flea catchers and personal companions gets added to the original breeds of working dogs.
8. then at some point in time they are starting to be described as "man's best friend"
* I'm sure i left out quite a few steps, but that's how i see it overall :)

back to predation : most (but not all) dogs still have the original anatomy and senses they came with. if one chooses to refer to hunting, gripping, shaking, etc as predatory drive....fine. but i see that as remnants of the past.

if Cesar and others think a dog is actually "killing" an inanimate object it bites and shakes, that's their opinion, but i don't share it. i feel a dog knows the difference and is not trying to kill a piece of leather when they grab and shake it.
- actually i wish someone would redirect a dog on a rag and give them a live rabbit and see what would happen to confirm or deny this opinion :)

- and last but not least, any aggression (grab and grip) the dog might come with or be trained to enjoy and execute on command is NOT an example of predation in my mind.

i take it you don't necessarily agree with my (very unscientific) analysis ??
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top