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One thing I did that I think helped with Soro is with toys I allow zero inhibition, except basic commands do apply in case I need to stop the game. Basically, whereas for food there is a very clearly established list of rules (no jumping up for it, have to wait, not allowed to just take it, be gentle, etc...) if he wants the toy in my hand and there is no other command given, he is allowed to do whatever he can to get it. He can jump on me, crash into my body mid jump, snatch it from my hand as I'm walking past, etc.
One interesting thing from the Ellis podcast is that he said he's now using food much more like he would use a toy. So he's no longer teaching the dog to sit quietly and take it gently, but teaching the dog to push for it and holding the food in a way that he won't get bitten. Basically building food drive into a reinforcer that works the same as a toy (energizing and drive building, vs quiet thoughtful work that food was traditionally used for). I've used some of his techniques and really liked them with Watson because I can get some of the key benefits of toys without having to use toys.
 

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I saw his video on that, I think! I liked how he encouraged people to actively present their dog with the food reward. The dog is engaging with the owner, following the owner as he/she turns this way and that.... then BAM, food directly to as the dog is coming in toward the owner. Continue motion... I like how it kept the dog engaged and in motion, and the delivery of the food built up that energy instead of being delivered at a pause in energy (or causing a pause).
I also liked the bit where food was thrown on the ground and the moment the dog reaches it, call the dog, fast reward and toss food again... It becomes so fluid. And the energy is up up up.

FOR SORO THOUGH. He will go crazy even for kibble, so impulse control around food is important :) He is practically shaking in excitement for the next food reward. He gets so excited that he gets sloppy with his treat taking and will actually nip my fingers pretty hard as the training session goes on. And if I bring out high reward food like raw meat... Forget about it! Using one trick as an example: For kibble, he is already so excited that he is repetitively pawing at the step can lever very sloppily and *spitting* the object askew and it sometimes misses the inside of the can. He CAN do it well because I've seen him operate in very mellow moods. Using raw meat, I can't get him to do precision things at all... He literally just knocks the can over.
 

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Send some of Soro's food drive my way! Don't get me wrong, my dogs have decent food drive, but I could use some of that obsession and intense excitement in distracting situations.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Haven't gotten a chance to listen to the podcast yet, should be able to tonight. Panzer has really high food drive and he's not distractible which is helpful. Gypsy has really high food drive, but try to give her food outside and she will spit it out.
 

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Haven't gotten a chance to listen to the podcast yet, should be able to tonight. Panzer has really high food drive and he's not distractible which is helpful. Gypsy has really high food drive, but try to give her food outside and she will spit it out.
Yeah, Watson is kind of like Gypsy. Not as bad, because he'll pretty much always take the food, but he's not interested. Like, he doesn't look back to figure out how to get more, he just keeps staring at whatever he's staring at.

Ellis does talk about how most puppies start out with more food drive than toy drive, and even in working line dogs the toy drive doesn't usually develop until a bit later. Panzer's toy drive might kick in soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Yeah, Watson is kind of like Gypsy. Not as bad, because he'll pretty much always take the food, but he's not interested. Like, he doesn't look back to figure out how to get more, he just keeps staring at whatever he's staring at.

Ellis does talk about how most puppies start out with more food drive than toy drive, and even in working line dogs the toy drive doesn't usually develop until a bit later. Panzer's toy drive might kick in soon.

I hope Panzer's toy drive increases. It's hard to tell with puppies. He likes caring toys around in his mouth and will chase a ball for a few minutes, but seems to get bored with ball chasing after a while.
 

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I hope Panzer's toy drive increases. It's hard to tell with puppies. He likes caring toys around in his mouth and will chase a ball for a few minutes, but seems to get bored with ball chasing after a while.
Watson was pretty into toys as a puppy and then got much less interested with age. I did try to keep him playing, I wanted "toy drive" but I didn't know a lot of specifics about how to build it and maintain it. And mostly his drive to sniff/hunt outside kind of took over every other drive. And sometimes in classes he's too stressy. He also sucks at bringing toys back which makes it less useful. Haha

Hazel has had reasonably high toy drive from day one, and it seems to get better with age. She seems to finally have her adult teeth in so we need to start tugging again. She was super sore and bleeding all over the toys a month ago. If I can just keep her at this level of toy drive forever I would be pleased.
 

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I filmed three 2-3 min training/playing sessions done with a low value toy (shred of a ripped toy lying on the floor for over a week), kibble, and a high value toy. Looks about the same to me. Though the only thing I wish I did differently was use high value toy after low value, because he might have thought the toy was part of the kibble training session since I brought it out after that. The filming was done pretty consecutively. I also tempted him with a raw bone (not filmed) and he did precision tricks and was not a spaz. Huh. I guess we all have our days :D

low value toy:

kibble:

high value toy:
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Awesome videos, Canyx! I can't believe how amped up he is just over the low value toy!
 

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Canyx, I'm always so impressed with you and Soro. You've done great things with him and I'm super impressed by dogs who can work so hard for pretty much any reinforcer, especially when that didn't come naturally.
 

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Thanks guys! Though to be clear, Sor's loved toys and tug all his life. Not sure how it compares with other dogs'. But engagement in distracting situations and building the value of tug even greater were things were worked on. It was not very hard though, because he does like it naturally!
 
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