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Discussion Starter #1
I've been doing quite a lot of trick training with the dogs lately, and I want to teach Spunky to balance a treat on her nose. Unfortunately, I have no clue how to do it.

The biggest problem I foresee here is that she's very, very food-motivated. I can get her to stay with food that's right in front of her, but I've never actually put the food ON her before. The minute my hand approaches her face holding food, she's eagerly trying to grab it.

Any good tips, videos or links? I have no clue how to start teaching this.
 

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My dog is extremely reward motivated. His regular kibble is a take-it-or-leave-it affair, unless I use it as a food reward. Then he goes nuts for it. I sometimes think I could use balls made of sawdust and carpenter's glue.

So anyway, I had a similar problem to yours. I made sure "sit" and "leave it" were rock solid (so if he drops it he doesn't get the reward) and started by placing the treat on his snout. Hold your hand close enough to snatch it back if he moves before released. That also means your hand is open right in front of his face and that helps to steady the dog. Initially, you only want the dog to hold it for a second. The trick is to give him the release before he breaks the hold. Then it's just a matter of working up as gradually as you need to.
 

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Thanks for the response.

The issue is that when I reach my hand towards her head using food, she starts looking upwards in anticipation of the treat. Because her snout is pointed up, I can't rest the treat on it for any time at all.
 

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I pushed down with the left hand, and place the biscuit on his snout with the right. As soon as I could see that he was going to let me take my hand away without him going for it, I gave him the release. We're talking a fraction of a second the first few times.
 

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This is how I trained this trick:

First, I had Libby in a down. I taught her a command for putting her chin on the floor and leaving it there - very easy.

Next, I got her used to me putting the tip of my finger on her nose while in the previously mentioned position, very gently. No treat in my hand or on her nose, just getting used to that.

The next step I put a treat in the hand that I was using to put my finger on her nose, just to get her used to the smell.

Then, still in the down position with her chin on the floor, I put the treat on her nose but did not remove my hand. If she tried to get it I would tell her to leave it (she has a really good leave it), and tell her the command for putting her chin on the floor.

Next step I started putting the treat on her nose, and removing my hand. I started with a very small time, and gradually increasing.

Then, I started over in the sit position, beginning with just my finger on her nose while in a sit. It took a little longer because of that third degree of freedom to tip her head, but it didn't take long until she understood.

I'm sure this wasn't the most efficient method, but it worked for me.

I will have to get a video!!
 

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Abel & Cain... took about a year of training them to be patient before I introduced this trick. Xena is still learning.

What I do is I make them sit, use my palm to hold their chin to steady their heads, put a treat in front of their noses, tell them to leave it and then give the release command. Its tricky in the beginning, it will take some getting used to. Abel used to cheat by putting his head down so the treat will fall. The first few times, I hold them by the chin for support. Then gradually let go for a few seconds and then release them. Until they can hold it longer and longer. :D

Its a fun trick to teach. Xena is able to hold it long enough now before the treats fall on its own, Cain is really good in flicking the treat up in the air, Abel still cheats some times but is also able of flicking the treat up in the air before gobbling it up.

GOOD LUCK! :D
 

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My problem was that the treat kept falling off. I started using cheese and sort of smooshing it onto their nose just a little. That way it would stick for a few seconds. Then I would give the release with much enthusiasm so they started to snap at the treat. Oliver is still a work in progress. He is never going to be a circus dog. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hmm, thanks for the suggestions guys! I had given up on this trick and started teaching the famous Mudra trick with the treats on the paws... :D but I might go back and retry this one again.
 

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I'm curious what word you use for this...wanna share?
Actually, I don't use a word... I use a hand signal and body language. I touch my index finger to the ground, or tilt my head to the side.

It really doesn't matter what you use... you could say butterscotch, or scratch your armpit. It only matters that the dog understands the action linked to the word.
 
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