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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When Brae accidentally breaks open a food toy, instead of scarfing all the food down he will wait for me to reassemble it. Once, he waited 20 minutes by lying in my field of vision (I did not realize what was going on till after my show was over) while over a cup of food was free for grabs in the open toy. I did set it up for the video, but this has happened 3-4 times naturally in the past.

Most dogs I know would seize the opportunity and eat the free food. Weirdo :D


Here's the link if that doesn't work: https://youtu.be/8q1rsAA3ZlI

I did not ever correct or reinforce this behavior, it's all Brae. He is less food motivated than toy motivated, but I would still call him decently food motivated. He eats 4 cups of kibble a day with no issues. He works his meals out of food toys 30-60+ minutes a day. And he keeps going until he gets it all out. He's so into it that sometimes my partner has me interrupt him and dump the food out because the clattering gets to be too much. If we train with food, kibble is reinforcing enough to use as a reward. And when I pour the food out of a toy for him, he will gladly eat it!

So it's not lack of food motivation. My only thoughts are:
1. He enjoys the game so much that he would rather work the kibble out than eat it straight.
2. The difference of a toy being open is jarring to him in some way and he wants me to make it familiar again.
3. I have trained with kibble in a bowl or cup while sitting on the floor with him. I've never had to correct Sor or Brae and neither try to mob the 'source' of the food. I think it's because I've done so much Its Yer Choice type stuff before ever training with open food like that. But maybe Brae sees the open toy and thinks it's like the off-limits food in a bowl. HOWEVER, if I give him a bowl of kibble (rarely happens) he will eat it without hesitation. And all the times this has happened, it is not a training scenario. Often I am focused on something else (because that's what food toys are for, right?). But he will purposely go to me or get in my field of vision with 'something is wrong' body language when the toy accidentally breaks open.

EDIT: I just learned that "contrafreeloading" is a thing. Neat!
 

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My dogs all do this.

It is a function, I believe, of default leave it for them. Ie: Food on the floor is to be eaten with permission, not just grabbed at. The toy dispensing the food is effectively reward for behavior. When it just spills it's just food on the floor.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's really neat! So in the exact circumstances (food toy opening, not just food spilling on the floor), they do that?

The interesting thing is if there's loose food on the floor, like if I secretly hide kibble or something and Brae discovers it, he will eat it happily. I don't necessarily have a default leave it like that.
 

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Yep. except Bug. Bug just eats. Bug's also going senile.

But same. They'll hunt for and find food and eat it if I hide it, but it's not a 'spill', I think - it's still a pointed task who's goal is finding food, at least that's my theory. Even the non-driven dogs by toys and games just seem to treat it the same as me dropping food in the kitchen or my sandwich on the coffee table (again, except Bug. Leave a sandwich on the coffee table near her and it's gone).

Doesn't mean it's the same reason as with Brae though.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
This is very insightful information for me. It sorta makes sense how the act of earning food becomes as rewarding... But it's still kinda weird because it doesn't make sense to me seeing dogs as opportunistic.

But maybe Brae is the normal one and Sor (who would definitely take advantage) is not :D
 

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I've had one toy break open, and I'm pretty sure Ralphie thought he got a jackpot. He scarfed it all down, lol!

He will not, however, take food off the ground that I have dropped when filling his toy or bowl. He will wait for me to put it in the toy. He won't even eat it if I point at it and tell him to eat it. I feed him in a bowl at night because he gets fish oil and I'm kinda lazy, and I once spilled all over the floor. Didn't touch it, even when I told him he could, but I imagine that's because he wants the kibble with fish oil more than kibble scattered on the floor, lol! He did eventually go and clean up the spill after he finished his bowl of fishy kibble, though.

I've also forgotten to give a release cue after setting food down and found him still waiting for the okay, haha. He will, however, take advantage of other food items on the ground if he finds them, like treats that I've accidentally dropped or Cheerios under the couch (we have a reclining couch, so when the recliner is up he often finds a plethora of cereal).
 

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It is a function, I believe, of default leave it for them. Ie: Food on the floor is to be eaten with permission, not just grabbed at.
Yes I think CptJack is probably right.

My dogs would absolutely 100% scarf the food down if the toy came open! Haha! ("quick before mom notices and puts it back together!")
 
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