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Teaching "take It Nicely"


Guest DeniseL
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Guest DeniseL

Ok guys....today I really almost lost a finger. My girl Thyme is just perfect in every way, wonderful manners, loving, playful, absolutly adorable....EXCEPT she is nuts with food. Always been a fast eater, loves to scavenge on walks, and will take your whole finger off with the treat.

 

How can I teach her to "take it nicely?"

 

She doesn't maul me for the treat, in fact she will sit or lay down for it and be patient...until I hand it to her, then all bets are off. Today, I was bleeding where her tooth ripped my pointer finger. Ugh.

 

Any suggestions?

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I'm not sure how Trolley learned to be gentle. But if I give her something that is particularly yummy, I always say "EASY" very firmly. She somehow gets it..... :nod

Carol-Glendale, AZ

Trolley (Figsiza Trollyn)

Nevada 1992-2008...always in my heart

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Can you feed her like a horse? I do that for some enthusiastic treat takers and use that to teach "gentle". For others, I hold a small treat in my fist so that it's sticking out just enough for them to be interested. I let them try and try to get it (as long as they're not biting my hand too much) until hey calm down. Once they're calmly trying to get the treat, I open my hand and say "gentle" as they take it. It actually worked on one of the most pain-inducing treat takers I've met.

Mom of bridge babies Regis and Dusty.

Wrote a book about shelter dogs!

I sell things on Etsy!

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This one is a really easy fix! All you do is offer the treat in your closed fist. A dog is very unlikely to bite at fist. What they will do is nose at your fist and try to open it up.

 

As long as the dog is being gentle, slowly allow your fist to relax and let her push her nose inside, but as soon she is rough, say 'Uh-uh!' sharply, close your fist again, and draw it away. You'd be amazed at how quickly they learn that if they want the treat to appear, they have to be patient and gentle. After they've learned, a simple 'Uh-uh!' will reinforce the lesson if they forget.

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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I taught Luna to "go easy." I use it when she is taking something from someone, when she is playing a little too rough, or even when she sees a squirrel or rabbit while we are out walking and she starts galloping on the other end of the leash.

 

The other thing I have done when she has clipped me a little too close is give a little yip. She seems to get the point that she was being a little too rough.

Laura, mom to Luna (Boc's Duchess) and Nova (Atascocita Venus).
Forever in my heart, Phantom (Tequila Nights) and Zippy (Iruska Monte).

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The closed fist is a great idea! Didn't know about that when we first got Micah. In the beginning Micah just didn't know how to take food from our hands. I don't know if there's a connection but as he relaxed into our home he didn't seem to be so frantic and clumsy when taking food from us. Now he takes the tiniest pieces from our fingers and he is so gentle his lips shake,,,,,,,so sweet!

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Guest lucylei

When we took Missy to obedience training we learned to do the fist thing. It was called "doggy zen", basically learning how to control impulses. Offer her the treat in your closed fist until she stops trying to get it and backs off. Then open up your hand and give her the treat on a flat palm. Eventually, she'll get it.

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Guest DeniseL

Thanks everyone!! Tried the closed fist and it was a little better today. Will keep at it, though, she is just such a maniac with the treats.

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The closed fist is a great idea! Didn't know about that when we first got Micah. In the beginning Micah just didn't know how to take food from our hands. I don't know if there's a connection but as he relaxed into our home he didn't seem to be so frantic and clumsy when taking food from us. Now he takes the tiniest pieces from our fingers and he is so gentle his lips shake,,,,,,,so sweet!

 

Awww...!! :wub:

 

Thanks everyone!! Tried the closed fist and it was a little better today. Will keep at it, though, she is just such a maniac with the treats.

 

The first couple of times she will still be very excitable, but I bet she learns quickly! Just be consistent. :thumbs-up

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The plural of anecdote is not data

Brambleberry Greyhounds My Etsy Shop

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Lots of good advice already, but whatever command you use, shorter is better. Take it nicely is too long. I use "gentle" and that seems to work just fine.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Do Bee was like this, he got my fingers a couple of time until I decided to close my fist and before I opened it I would tell him "easy" and then open my hand flat. It took a couple of weeks and now he's great. I can give him the smallest treat and he will take it without hurting me.

Judy, mom to Darth Vader, Bandita, And Angel

Forever in our hearts, DeeYoGee, Dani, Emmy, Andy, Heart, Saint, Valentino, Arrow, Gee, Bebe, Jilly Bean, Bullitt, Pistol, Junior, Sammie, Joey, Gizmo, Do Bee

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The closed fist approach works well with my treat snatcher - but what I found made a big difference was the height at which I held the treat. If it's above her head she tends to snatch, but if held below so that she has to dip her head to reach it then she's very gentle. I use 'take it' as the release from her wait for the treat.

Dippy (Dinky Dipstick) and Velvet (Redbrick Velvet). Remembering sweet handsome Rebel (Emporio Rebel).

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Guest Giselle

The closed fist approach works well with my treat snatcher - but what I found made a big difference was the height at which I held the treat. If it's above her head she tends to snatch, but if held below so that she has to dip her head to reach it then she's very gentle. I use 'take it' as the release from her wait for the treat.

:nod Treat placement is as important as timing. Make sure you place the food reward exactly where you want the animal's body or head to be. This is one of those golden rules of training that nobody tells you until you're in advanced classes (and then you ask, "Why didn't anyone tell me this sooner?!").

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Guest Scarter55

The closed fist idea is pretty interesting, I hadn't heard that before. Lady came to us as a puppy really gentle and we never really had to do very much to reinforce it. We used treats to leash train her, and occasionally when she got excited on walks she would get a little rough. As others have mentioned, anytime they are rough in general, you need to "yelp" and draw back right away, this is the only way they know they are being too rough. That is how other dogs would tell them. Our trainer at our puppy classes also emphasized not teaching a "gentle" command, her rational being that you don't ever want them to not take treats gently. It is better to teach them just to always take treats gently so that if someone give your dog a treat when you aren't around (or just aren't watching) to give the command, they don't almost lose a finger.

 

A method that we used the few times that Lady has taken treats to roughly is to really push the treat and your fingers deeply into her mouth. It is counter intuitive but really works. The reason being that it makes the dog pull back and not bite and also they generally take the treat roughly because they think it's going to be taken away. That sorta builds on itself because the more they hurt you, the more likely you are to flinch back with your treat hand, the quicker they are going to snap, etc. Pushing it in their mouth reinforces that you aren't going to take it away.

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Chiming in to agree with the closed fist and lower treat height methods :) Those are the methods my dad used when I was growing up. I've also used them on a husky/GSD mix puppy, 2 greyhounds, and 2 Siberian Huskies.

 

If there are kids in the house, I also taught "DO NOT TEASE" with them. You act like you are going to give them the food, and then snatch it away, you're giving the food up to them. IME, it teaches them to lunge/snap for the food that they are being tempted with. My friend's DD was horrified that I made her give her PJ&J to her dog because she continually was teasing the husky with it. Cried to her mom, mom told her tough sh*t, she was warned, and continued to do it. And this wasn't the husky puppy, this was the older-food possessed- one that we were having so much trouble with until we started NILF training with her.

 

I would trust Sammi to accept a cheerio from a toddler, she is that gentle. My son learned young to never tease a dog with food. A few times when he was younger, he's had to give over snacks to Sammi because he tried teasing her with it.

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Guest Waterdog66

Reading through this thread I am struck by how lucky we are with Audrey. She came to us with an excellent bite sense and a very gentle touch when taking things from hands.

 

I can put peanut butter on the end of my finger and she will take it so easily.

 

A side effect to this is that when she steals things (like my shoes) they won't have teeth marks.

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This is a bit funny to me. I have the complete opposite problem. Hester seems terrified of touching my skin with his teeth. He is so careful that half of the time the treats get dropped. I end up having to put my hand under his chin and "throw" the treat right into his mouth. (He might just be a bit of a spazz.) But the fist technique sounds great - I have lots of visitors who are a bit rough, going to try it.

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Guest Clawsandpaws

This is a bit funny to me. I have the complete opposite problem. Hester seems terrified of touching my skin with his teeth. He is so careful that half of the time the treats get dropped. I end up having to put my hand under his chin and "throw" the treat right into his mouth. (He might just be a bit of a spazz.) But the fist technique sounds great - I have lots of visitors who are a bit rough, going to try it.

I was under the impression that a lot of trainers do not allow the dogs to take things from their hands, safety issue for both human and dog, can any of our trainers owners confirm/deny this? I volunteer with a grp that has an adoption kennel in the racing compound, so we operate pretty much the same way as far as routines go. We often have hounds that will not take a treat from our hands, we need to place it on ground for them. Dudley would not take treats from my hands for maybe a week or so. We did some training where we hand fed him (to get him comfortable with taking food.) and we would would peanut butter and such on our fingers. OP should not do this. LOL, might lose a finger.

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