How does one go about training the food refusal in the Brevet? I want to hear as many different methods as possible before I start trying to work on it. All I have is videos of the finished exercise. Thanks!!
Put a large horseshoe shape of hot dogs on the ground. Heel the dog into it, put them down. If they go to sniff, correct them gently and tell them "leave it". Heel them back out . When they can go in and out without trying to reach a hot dog, as the dog is in a down have someone walk up, pick up a hot dog, and drop it where it was. From this proceed to someone tossing the dog the food.
Have the dog in a down with me crouching next to them. Have someone walk in and toss sticks, rocks, etc. towards the dog. Give them a minor correction with a 'leave it' command if they reach for it. When they are solid with this, then progress to food. When they are solid with the food, then I stand about 4 feet away while the person tosses food. And slowly build up the distance.
Have the dog in a down, I walk away, turn around and come back and throw the food myself. First far enough away that the dog would have to break the dog to reach the food, and I reinforce the down/stay verbally while I throw, with a "leave it" also. Slowly throw closer and closer as the dog understands the exercise. If the dog is good, I will walk in sometimes and give them a piece of food. If they try to go after the food I charge in and correct them. Then back off on how close I'm throwing it.
I used to do the first 2 ways a lot. Anymore I do a lot of my obedience on my own, so now I've gone to throwing the food myself. Plus I can practice this any time, anywhere. And it has transferred over to another person throwing it really well.
I try to make it clear to the dog what I want in this exercise, and I do reward them with food when I heel them away. So they understand to leave the food on the ground alone, and they will get some from me instead. I want my dogs to not be stressed about the food, just ignore it. I look at this exercise more as a solidly proofed down/stay, than a refusal of food. I don't want them chasing a ball I throw past, or a decoy that runs by when they are on the down either. Just stay put and don't touch anything.