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Discussion Starter #1
My two and a half old mutt, border collie x, has learned sit, come, lay down, shake a paw and no. She will only shake or lay down if I am offering her something. The few times she has done it just because ive asked, she got praised for it...I don't know if it is just because sit and come are the first commands she learned and she is comfortable with them or what. Shake is sort of a novelty trick and I don't much mind if she only chooses to do it of I have a piece of cheese in my hand, but I would like to be able to tell her to lay down from across the room and have her listen. Any thoughts or suggestions?
 

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One way is to phase out the treats. Meaning, give a treat for the action all the time at first, then give a treat most of the time with praise on the other times, then reduce the treats for the action to "sometimes" The dog will anticipate that there MIGHT be a treat given so they'll generally do the trick being all hopeful.

You can also clicker train so that the clicker marks the action and THEN a treat appears, it extends the time between the action and the treat so you can get a treat out of a pocket or whatever. Then you phase out the treats to be more random but click and praise every time.
 

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The key to not letting this happen is to get the treat out of you hand and have the reward just magically appear when the behavior is complete. For instance, when I teach a lured "down," I hold the treat in my right hand, lure the down with my right hand, and give the treat with my right hand for about 3 repetitions. Then, I hide the treat in my left hand, lure the dog with my right, and reward with my left. That way, the treat is NOT part of the cue. Then, get the treat out of your left hand but putting in on a table or in your pocket or whatever. In the beginning, I treat almost every rep, but the treat just appears.

The key is getting the treat removed from the cue as quickly as possible or shape instead of lure.

Almost all of the problems associated with using treats are actually handling errors and not problems with rewards or markers.

Once your dog "gets" that the treats come from random places, you should move forward nicely. Hang in there! This is a really common problem when first using food!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the input guys! To the first poster, I have her when she was six weeks, and she is two and a half months old now.
 

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She's still a baby ... she doesn't know what you want ...
 

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Discussion Starter #7
This is ridiculous. Less than an hour of following the above advice, and she has it down completely. I can ask for her paw from across te room and she waves at me, hahaha. I'm gonna post a video, I am so proud of this little pup, maybe it's just rose colored glasses but I can't believe how quickly and easily she is learning things.
 

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She hasn't learned the command yet ... she may have learned what you want right now, right there ... The really good trainers says that a dog only has learned a command when they've done it 300 times in different places.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If I can get her to respond to a verbal command from me without a treat or a hand signal, I consider that learned. I'm very proud of her
 

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If I can get her to respond to a verbal command from me without a treat or a hand signal, I consider that learned. I'm very proud of her
It sounds like she is doing great for her age and the time spent learning. But... Hast is right, it isn't "learned" yet. She's starting to get it, which is progress, but dogs don't generalize well (so each action must be re-learned in a variety of locations and situations) and they are also easily distracted (which is why obedience classes put a lot of emphasis on distraction proofing, esp. for the "safety" commands like STAY and COME which need to be 100% for the dog's sake)

If she's got the trick down in your living room, move to the bedroom and practice it. Try the trick on the porch or in the yard. Practice it at a friend's house. Practice with someone else in the room. Etc.
 

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Thanks ...you expressed it so much better. LOL
 

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When everyone says "I give treats every time in the beginning", about how long is 'the beginning' for you? Do you just start fading out when the dog does the command accurately every time you ask? Do you go for perhaps three days or a two weeks and then start alternating treats vs praise? I know this is always a subjective thing, but I feel this part could use some concrete examples so I can get a vague timeline.

I've had my dog for a month now, and I definitely don't expect him to get everything right away, but we're at a point where he will sometimes lay down without the treat but not always, but as soon as the treat is in view (not as a lure but in the other hand) he will do it every time.
 

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Every dog is different. Getting the treat out of view is good for ALL dogs. Do it as quickly as possible. Cue with one hand, reward with the other, use a bait bag, put the treat on a shelf, whatever, but get the food out of the cue RIGHT away.

Then, tapering treats is very dog dependent. Pairing treats with a verbal "good dog" or other secondary reward is important. You can always use that, with or without a treat. If your dog's training slides, you probably faded too fast. The art of training with food really lies is the fading of rewards.
 
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