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As this board just opened I will be patient awaiting a response(s). 8)

I've viewed a couple of agility classes. In both the trainers were using food treats to get the dog to do everything. I was wondering; do all of the mainstream agility trainers use this method? If so, is it very difficult to get the dogs to do the agility and do it very well without training them through treating?

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with it. :| But I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there training this that doesn't treat in this manner.

Thanks.
 

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Patrick Murray said:
.....I was wondering; do all of the mainstream agility trainers use this method? If so, is it very difficult to get the dogs to do the agility and do it very well without training them through treating? ......Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with it. :| But I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there training this that doesn't treat in this manner....Thanks.
Before I go out on a limb, I'm going to ask the many agility people I know what their experience is. I know they all (the ones I know) DO use treats often (not every time), but it's a good question and I'd like to get a better answer than \"I think they usually do\" .

And on the same topic, are treats used more in certain competitions than in others? Or even: is motivational training more common in certain competitive sports than in others?
 

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Well I dont do any competition but my dogs do climb trees and ladders and go over jumps and everything you can imagine.I have never used treats or any other reward than praise for this.
 

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Greg Long said:
Well I dont do any competition but my dogs do climb trees and ladders and go over jumps and everything you can imagine.I have never used treats or any other reward than praise for this.
Thanks, Greg. Did/do you use treats for any training purposes?

I've emailed a couple of agility clubs whose members I know and will post whatever answers I get.
 

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No I dont use treats for any training but thats just me.I just sort of show them what I want and work with them a bunch.
 
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I don't do any formal agility, but when Widge heals we're going to start, so I've looked into this. The folks I've talked to all use treats, but they're of the school that uses treats for EVERY kind of training, so I'm not planning on it. Widget isn't big into treats anyway, and has never been rewarded with anything but my approval, so I don't think I'll change this, unless it doesn't work. I figure if I have to give him a treat for doing this stuff, he doesn't like it enough for me to make him do it anymore.

I've been working Caleb over some obstacles lately and doing some *easy* jumps (his size and hips make me paranoid) and I haven't given him anything except praise either. He got the happiest look on his face when I said \"over\" and he jumped and I grinned at him. It really only takes a look if the dog is intuned to you. I did an experiment where I didn't say anything except the command, and either reprimanded with a look and praised with a smile, and I got the same results as when I was verbally praising. This only worked with 2 of the 4-the 2 that I'm very bonded with. The others weren't paying any attention to my face, and needed me to act really excited to do the obstacle again.
 

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I balance it, if I have treats he can have a treat (hotdogs), if I don't then he still has to do it. I'm not strictly one way or the other. With the dog walk, the only way I can get Cujo to walk over that narrow thing is if his focus is on something else, i.e. a treat every so far... I've tried it without treats n I just get a stressed out dog that makes himself fall. Yes you can use obedience to work a dog thru stress but if there's nowhere for him to sit then he can't sit. He loves the A-Frame and does it every time I come near it, so why give him a treat for doing that when the act in itself is his reward?
 

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Patrick Murray said:
....I was wondering; do all of the mainstream agility trainers use this method?.... But I'm just wondering if there is anyone out there training this that doesn't treat in this manner. .....
Here's the consensus so far from a few (5) agility trainers I know: They start with treats to teach the \"watch me\" idea, by showing a nice special smelly treat, and then moving the treat up to their (human) faces, so the dog will follow with their eyes. So far, they have all said they wean away from treats once that very basic groundwork is established. Two said they use treats occasionally but that their dogs don't expect it, and two said they use them whenever they are starting a totally new command.

So far, no one has said that they never used treats. And no one has said that they use them regularly once the intro (look at me) is established.
 

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treating or not

I have looked into agility as another drive venue for my female & all the trainers that I have spoken with use ALL motivational training & treats for training agility. There is absolutly not compulsion used at all in the sport. I fact that won't even allow a prong or e-collar to even be on the dogs that are in training. I feel that I agree with this aproach for this type of sport training. My dogs have been almost all motivationally trained. My female had no corrections until she was almost 1 year old. They do eventually stop treating & use praise & the love of what they are doing as their reward. At least this is what I was told by the agility trainers that I have interviewed as prospective trainers to work with that came highly recommended by people that I know doing high level agility competetion
 

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Hi Connie, You asked about treats in other sports: In Sch I always use treats with little guys, but get them ball crazy as soon as I can. My new guy is getting there. Also in the ob part of Sch I use the old \"tuck the tennis ball under the chin\" during training to get dog \"up\" & looking at me. Also, when starting to training to heel, tennis ball works well, for me. But I won't be doing any real ob with this guy until he is quite a bit older.
 

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I don't know if you could be truely competative without some kiind of motivational training for agility. You can make a dog do most anything through compulsion, but I don't think you'll ever get the \"go for broke\" attitude you see in the agility ring if the dog is just doing it because you say so. Our Schutzhund obedience and bite work is ALL motivational untill the dog TRUELY understands what is wanted. Then and only then will I put compulsion on my dog, and then it's if they refuse the exercise. That seldome happens because motivationl training teaches the dog to WANT to do it. As far as treat or toy for reward, my dog, and many I see, are to drivy for a toy in the learning phase. Once they really understand the exercise, the toy can be used as a reward. We train more in the Balabanov method as compaired to Flinks. The difference is all in the focus. Flinks teaches the dog to totally focus on the ball, or where the ball will come from. We train the dog to focus on us, knowing that will result in the ball to appear. When Flinks moves the toy in front of the dog, the dog is totally focused on the toy. When we hold the toy in front of the dog, he doesn't get the reward till he focuses on our eyes. Suttle, but different.
 

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Bob Scott said:
When Flinks moves the toy in front of the dog, the dog is totally focused on the toy. When we hold the toy in front of the dog, he doesn't get the reward till he focuses on our eyes. Suttle, but different.
Interesting, I like that. I'm planning on going as motivational as possible on my next pup... I like watching dogs with alotta drive do motivational work, they are speedy and enthusiastic for the work. Cujo's a cross between motivation and compulsion... I need to use compulsion to \"guide him\" alot of the time because he doesn't have the drive to \"keep trying till I succeed\", but once he knows the position he's supposed to go to, the motivational part really helps work up his speed. With a dog like Cujo if you go 100% compulsion/praise, he'd look like a very sad depressed dog. He does get a kick outta praise, but praise doesn't build speed, at least not with him... except with the recall from a distance, he'll run at me fast as hell doing that. If a dog is naturally quick because of their level of drive then perhaps compulsion doesn't make the dog look as bored/sad. My friends border collie is quick as anything with no special training. Tell that dog sit and she sits before you finish the word... n Sit is a short word as it is :p
 

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I have heard that some agility handlers train with the clicker system. As soon as they do the right thing click and treat..........seems a lot of handling to do to me. I never have used the clicker but I think I would go for the reward either treat or ball.
 

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Hill, the clicker can be used for any training. It's not the reward. It's just a marker. Same thing as \"Good dog\" when your dog does something right. Some people like it because it's supposed to be faster then the \"Good boy\" marker. Others use it because they say it give more consistancy to the marker. Humans can sometimes be pretty inconsistant with our vocal markers because of normal emotions. It still requires a reward. I've not used the clicker yet, but it does work..........a money making gimmic that works. :wink:
 

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Bob Scott said:
Hill, the clicker can be used for any training. It's not the reward. It's just a marker. Same thing as \"Good dog\" when your dog does something right. Some people like it because it's supposed to be faster then the \"Good boy\" marker. Others use it because they say it give more consistancy to the marker. Humans can sometimes be pretty inconsistant with our vocal markers because of normal emotions. It still requires a reward. I've not used the clicker yet, but it does work..........a money making gimmic that works. :wink:
Yeah Bob thats true, it can be used for anything. I have never tried it before either. I know someone who got their dog to IPOIII all using a clicker........tell the truth I dont think I'd have the patience but compliments to those who do well with it. Maybe one day I will try it.
 

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Bob Scott said:
Hill, the clicker can be used for any training. It's not the reward. It's just a marker. Same thing as \"Good dog\" when your dog does something right. Some people like it because it's supposed to be faster then the \"Good boy\" marker. Others use it because they say it give more consistancy to the marker. Humans can sometimes be pretty inconsistant with our vocal markers because of normal emotions. It still requires a reward. I've not used the clicker yet, but it does work..........a money making gimmic that works. :wink:
A neighbor whose dog I helped train used it because she wanted to use it instead of her voice (\"Good! That's right!\") for markers, exactly the way Bob describes it, because she thought the neighbors would start talking about her sanity if she walked around all day talking to the dog. (She was teaching heel, and also the one to step behind her and stay there if she saw trouble ahead, and I can second that the \"step behind\" can take a LOT of marker-input; I found it a challenge, although I did do it!)

She didn't eliminate treats. She eliminated voice markers. (Or tried to.)

I hadn't thought of the voice thing -- good point. I try to have three voices for the dogs, but I'm sure there's no way to be 100% consistent.
 

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Mike, the Ivan Balabanov DVD covers our type of train phylosophy a little closer then the Flinks method, but both are worth having in your library.
 
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