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Discussion Starter #1
Cleo is almost 6 months old and we are continuing to work on our loose leash walking skills. She gets very excited to meet other dogs, people walking, joggers, etc. She'll spot something, even across the street and moving in our direction, or even a person in the distance carrying groceries into their house. She'll become alert, and start to get super-happy, as if she's about to meet her favorite celebrity. If i let her get closer, there's a point at which she starts jumping playfully toward whatever it is.

Instead, I'm trying not to let her get close enough to want to jump, and I reward her for the first moment she looks at the person/dog and does not pull toward them, and looking back at me in that situation. The longer she manages this, the longer i continue to give her treats as the "threat" passes. My goal is to gradually be able to get closer to these distractions without her pulling and jumping.

She will often sit, even though panting with excitement, and i give her treats. When the moment has passed, and the distraction moves away, and we start walking again, I will continue giving her treats every few steps for a minute or two if she keeps walking with me without pulling. She is still very excited, though, and in the process of taking a treat from me, she occasionally nips one of my fingers that's holding the treat. Usually she has a very soft mouth and there is no problem, but i think she forgets to pay attention to that at times when she's still excited over the dog or whatever that is now moving away from us.

I've tried different ways of holding the treats, but i can't figure out a way that doesn't put my fingertips in jeopardy! Any suggestions?
 

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Check out Look at That training Try not to lure/bribe her attention when dealing with the distractions. We taught all of our dogs to take treats gently. If the dog reaches for the treat we don't give it, but instead withdraw it and let them see it. Repeat that as needed until the dog understands that it can't reach for the treat to be able to get it then couple that to an order. BF says fingers and I say easy.
 
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I use Gently!, withdrawing the treat as Catherine describes. If Cleo is usually soft mouthed it should not take long to teach - it is just a reminder not to snatch when excited.
 

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We were taught in our puppy classes that if the puppy is snatching treats, this means they're over-aroused and the treats are not actually serving their purpose in those moments. To refocus attention, we will sometimes scatter on the ground instead of hand-feeding. Or hold the treat until they slow down to nibble it, THEN release it. Forcing them to nibble really seems to recapture their attention.
 

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I don't train with treats but when helping others that do there is a game that can be trained that can lead to it being a trick that's generally fun. I would start with it at home & then gradually try it around distractions. I would hide the treat in my hand, let puppy see it or smell it & I'd say, "Which hand?" & let puppy pick the hand. If she was still snatchy, try opening the hand slowly & she has to be easy in order to work it out of my hand. Or work the treat out between your fingers. Now I have helped several do this & I don't mind telling you generally I'm the one that starts the pup because I'm not afraid of being bitten or of the teeth & as a general rule I don't end up bleeding. Some of my clients are older folks with skin that tears more easily or they bruise easily so I take the training 'hit' & don't mind. I've had some real alligators. In the end, it usually doesn't take too long. Then when we meet the thing that gets them wound up, it takes a bit to re-remind the mind about our new trick. Sometimes you'll think the pup has totally forgotten but they haven't... they simply can't think because they're overly stimulated.

For a super bad snapper, I will use either dog-safe peanut butter or cheeze whiz & a small smear on the inside of my hand. Puppy picks the hand & then has to lick to get the treat. Yes, it's slobbery & messy but once the dog learns then you can gradually go back to treats using the same principal & soon puppy will pick a hand & get the treat & it give the little over excited brain something else to focus on.
 

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For those who are concerned about fragile skin, try treating with a treat tube! I've never used one, but they look great. And you don't have to use the processed, packaged treat goop. You can just make your own in the blender, just being careful to achieve the right consistency. I've seen lots of recipes online to help get you started.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you, these are great suggestions! I have done Look at That with her, but it's been a while, so i should brush up. That is sort of the principle of what i'm trying to do when there's a big distraction. When she looks at the other dog, I click, and then she looks at me, and i give her a treat. Similarly, when we're walking, i give her a treat when she looks up at me to check in (i usually don't click while we're moving; i find it too difficult to juggle). I might miss sometimes when she looks, but I pay extra note when we're moving away from a distraction so I can reward her for moving away and returning her attention to me. I don't think that's luring, is it? because i'm not holding out the treat to get her to do the behavior, but giving her a treat when she's done the behavior.

I will try some of these methods to get her to stop and think about what she's doing so she doesn't nip my finger when i hand her a treat--i think the problem is it is hard for her to calm down at those times that i'm targeting, which is the reason i'm working on it with her to begin with. The more we do it, the faster she should be able to get her act together, I hope.
 
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