Learning from elders

Stevie is a very bright girl, but not the most food-motivated dog I’ve ever met. For me, this presents a big training challenge, as I have always relied heavily on treats to teach dogs desired behaviors and tricks. Even stinky cheese, liver, and hot dogs don’t get this girl’s attention on a regular basis. She acts as though she’s doing me a favor by eating these delicious morsels at all.

We have managed to teach her a decent “sit” and “shake” and are working on a good “stay” using toys (her true love) as rewards, and it has worked pretty well. Recently we have employed our village elder, Sir Chick, to help Stevie Wonder learn. Here they are doing a few simple commands together.

26 responses

  1. They are so cute together. I love Chick’s serious face and Stevie’s enthusiasm. The best is when they run to you though – you weren’t joking when you said Stevie like to bodyslam! haha πŸ˜‰

  2. yeah it’s always a challenge when you have a dog who is not motivated by food, but sounds like you found her motivator… toys, so just use that. Maybe you find one special toy that is used in training only as her reward, and just “free” her before you give it to her to play. Tug might be another one to try, if she enjoys that it could become the reward, just work on a good release word for her to drop the tug.
    Looks like you are making progress with her and chick though. Have a great Tuesday

  3. It looks like she’s doing very well! Is she treat motivated when Chick is around?
    That is a tough one when dogs are not food-motivated–but using toys and games is a great idea! As is exploiting Chick’s fabulous intelligence and learning πŸ˜‰

  4. I like the use of “free” as a release word. Our trainer used “good boy,” which means we have to say “good stay” or just “good” when he obeys. I wonder if we could change that now?

  5. Great job Chick & Stevie! I noticed that you have a potted plant; you are very brave. I have not been able to have plants in the house in years; if the dogs did not get them, the cats did!

  6. Good job to the both of them! My favorite part is when they take off and Chick stops gracefully and Stevie just runs straight into the camera! haha Crazy Girl.

  7. They are adorable together. Stevie is just so cute and I love Chick’s wrinkles. They give him a perpetually gentle, slightly worried look that is just priceless.

  8. So cute! They look like they are having such a good time, which is such an important part of training, in my opinion. Love all the racing around. πŸ™‚

    Your dress is also super-cute! I wish it was warm enough here for fun outfits!

  9. I waited until lunchtime to view the video so I could watch uninterrupted. :0

    Stevie is getting the hang of it with trusty Chick by her side. In the video she looks like she was excited by the treats. Do you think she is taking her cue from Chick in that respect also?

    Reggie is motivated by all food. Even a piece of kibble. πŸ™‚

    • She is much more food-motivated when Chick is there, I think it’s a healthy competitive sentiment. If I tried to treat her with kibble (which works on Chick), she would either turn her head away in an effort to not even let it close to her face, or if I tricked her into taking it, she would immediately spit it out. “Bleh. FOOD, mom?? Really??”

  10. That’s so cute! Isn’t amazing how competitive and smart dogs are?
    I did something similar with my dog this weekend. My Mom was dog sitting a friend’s dog and I took Tibby over to visit. Tibby has never been allowed to interact with this dog, Lucy, before, because her owners think she is agressive with other dogs.
    Well, this week-end we gave Lucy a 2nd chance and she did wonderfully! I was able to do tricks with both of the dogs at the same time. I was hoping a little of Lucy’s Border Collie intensity would rub off on my dog πŸ™‚ It worked! Tibby was more interested in being the first to get the treat or fetch the ball.
    And now they are BFFs! They are really sweet with each other. I took a bunch of pictures and gave them to Lucy’s owners. They were shocked that Lucy and Tibby were able to play together. They have had Lucy since she was a puppy and that was the FIRST time EVER that Lucy has been allowed to play with another dog.

  11. Great job using Chick to help train Stevie! We’ve found Hurley learns some commands a bit quicker if he’s shown it first with his sisters. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about a lack of treat-motivation in any of them but I think you’re doing the right thing by using toys. Affection also works as a good reward and helped us with training Sadie. She seems to like me telling her what a beautiful good girl she is just as much as she loves treats.

  12. Stevie seems like a bit of a bulldozer like Izzy! I haven’t had too much luck with basic commands and Foster Peeps. He sees Izzy do “down” and just looks at me with his goofy snaggletooth!

  13. Stevie is so exuberant! And Sir Chick so distinguished. I love it. They’re such good doggies. I’m impressed you can give them treats side by side like that. I’m a long way off from that in my house. Baby steps, I guess.

  14. Lovely video, Stevie is so enthusiastic, I loved the tail wagging in the first stay! I totally suck at teaching stays, I don’t know why. Chick looks like he is a very stable and able teacher:)

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