Poodle Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello and happy holidays! It's a busy season, so let's keep things simple and practical:

Maybe you've got decorations up for Christmas. You might do what I did last year and drop a glass bulb on the floor, watching in horror as it shatters into tantalizing shards right under your poodle's nose. There may be lots of yummy foods, some of which isn't good for poodle tummies. Maybe you're a little more stressed than usual, and your house isn't as poodle-proofed as you'd like. What trick would serve you best this month?

Leave It!

You may be thinking, "Well that's a boring trick!" But not only is it a potential lifesaver, when taught correctly, it's also rather impressive:

"The goal of teaching your dog to ignore dropped items is developing automatic behavior. In other words, rather than taking an item from the ground, your dog should leave it be without being asked. You won’t always see the hazards first, so you might not say your cue in time. Ideally, your dog should look to you for permission before eating anything off the ground."


Can you drop a treat on the floor, inches from your poodle's nose, and know that they'll ignore it until you give the okay?

If not, let's get started. :)

As always, please share your progress, big or small. Challenges, too. And if your poodle is already doing this one reliably, increase the difficulty and share your goals here.

Happy training!

Robin & Peggy

P.S. Missed a previous month? It's never too late! Check out Trick Club: September, Trick Club: October, and Trick Club: November.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,590 Posts
Very timely trick that can save your dog
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Here's Peggy practising:


I mix it up. Sometimes she gets the original item (like in that video), and sometimes she doesn't. When she does, it's not automatic; she doesn't get to race for it, unprompted. I use the "Get it" command after she's been rewarded.

Another way I mix it up is by sometimes picking up the item before she gets a reward. Sometimes she gets the original item after. Sometimes she doesn't.

I practise those variations in moderation, and always with a jackpot reward of treats and play. That's because Peggy has shown a tendency to guard some resources, and I don't want to trigger any of that anxiety by training. In fact, I want to do the opposite.

If your poodle is prone to resource guarding (something you may not know until you inadvertently trigger it) tread lightly and playfully with this stuff. In fact, we should all tread lightly and playfully.

I'm not a trainer, but in my personal experience, to be most effective, the words "Leave it!" (or whatever will roll best off your tongue in an emergency) should have the same impact as "Let's play with this cool toy!" or "Want some yummy chicken??" It should elicit anticipation.

That doesn't mean you're being permissive or wishy washy. It just means you're outsmarting your very smart poodle. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Don't have time to watch that video right now, but I want to soon! Cody is good at "leave it" in training sessions but is not reliable in real life. And he eats everything so we need to work on generalizing this!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Don't have time to watch that video right now, but I want to soon! Cody is good at "leave it" in training sessions but is not reliable in real life. And he eats everything so we need to work on generalizing this!
Best thing is to avoid walking in places with abundant temptation. That's just stressful for everyone. But for the occasional too-good-to-resist temptation? That's where I find my "waaait" command (my version of leave-it) works best. We practise it during play:

I toss something for her to retrieve, but occasionally I say "waaaait" before she reaches it. For turning back to me, she gets a BIG reward (an even better toy, a handful of treats instead of the single treat I tossed, etc.) and, most times, I let her go after the original item, too.

We have hallways in our house that meet in a "T" shape. I'll sometimes stand at the intersection and toss treats. She gobbles the treat and races back to me. Then I toss a treat in a different direction. This is a great game for getting her to consistently orient back to me. (I gusss you could call it a silent recall?) But it also creates good opportunities for the occasional "waaaaait."

She's learned that obeying that command is way better than ignoring it.

If she does occasionally slip up, the game abruptly ends. Not sure if there's a better way to handle that, but would love input from others.

You can also recreate "random temptations" by pretending to accidentally drop something. I'll do that in the kitchen sometimes. If she looks up at me instead of snatching it? Woo hoo! Big party.
 

·
Registered
Olive, black miniature poodle, 9 months old
Joined
·
311 Posts
I am teaching opportunistic Olive this very skill for the same reason allready so this will be helpfull.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
355 Posts
We're still learning take it and we're making progress. Are there any tips to helping Basil understand when I say "take it" that she can go?

Sometimes she confused and sits there still after I say "take it".. like she's needing extra confirmation that she won't be stopped when going for the treat.

Out of about ~8 tries, the first 4 she's really confident when I say "take it", then it's hers. Then towards the end of trick lesson time, she slows down as to think, "I just heard him say "take it", but did he really mean it? I'll just sit here and watch until I'm 100% sure." So, I end up trying to say it with a lighter & happier tone... or I end up taping my foot by a mound of chicken on the floor repeating "take it" as to affirm her that now is it okay. Then once she does, "yes" followed by "take it" again to try and reaffirm her that that word means okay-for-treat-in-my-mouth.

I'm not sure there's something I'm missing to help her draw the connection. We're doing steps 1-4 according to the directions.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
We're still learning take it and we're making progress. Are there any tips to helping Basil understand when I say "take it" that she can go?

Sometimes she confused and sits there still after I say "take it".. like she's needing extra confirmation that she won't be stopped when going for the treat.

Out of about ~8 tries, the first 4 she's really confident when I say "take it", then it's hers. Then towards the end of trick lesson time, she slows down as to think, "I just heard him say "take it", but did he really mean it? I'll just sit here and watch until I'm 100% sure." So, I end up trying to say it with a lighter & happier tone... or I end up taping my foot by a mound of chicken on the floor repeating "take it" as to affirm her that now is it okay. Then once she does, "yes" followed by "take it" again to try and reaffirm her that that word means okay-for-treat-in-my-mouth.

I'm not sure there's something I'm missing to help her draw the connection. We're doing steps 1-4 according to the directions.
This could be a poodle thing. Beyond 2-3 consecutive reps, Peggy's likely to look at me like, "What do you want from me, human??"

I'd say try breaking up your reps with play or some other fun training. But honestly, four good ones, in a single session, would be more than enough to satisfy me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
We're still learning take it and we're making progress. Are there any tips to helping Basil understand when I say "take it" that she can go?

Sometimes she confused and sits there still after I say "take it".. like she's needing extra confirmation that she won't be stopped when going for the treat.

Out of about ~8 tries, the first 4 she's really confident when I say "take it", then it's hers. Then towards the end of trick lesson time, she slows down as to think, "I just heard him say "take it", but did he really mean it? I'll just sit here and watch until I'm 100% sure." So, I end up trying to say it with a lighter & happier tone... or I end up taping my foot by a mound of chicken on the floor repeating "take it" as to affirm her that now is it okay. Then once she does, "yes" followed by "take it" again to try and reaffirm her that that word means okay-for-treat-in-my-mouth.

I'm not sure there's something I'm missing to help her draw the connection. We're doing steps 1-4 according to the directions.

Here’s what we do! It’s a little different. I don’t have a “take it” command and instead have a “you are released from training” command I use when we’re done with anything (for example, I don’t want you to “stay” forever, so we have a word to stop staying). I use the word “ok” but have heard that something like “free” is preferable since you don’t say “free” in everyday speech as commonly as “ok.”

Whether you keep “take it” or not, you can try/add this: never give the treat you’re training the “leave it” with (treat 1) and instead, she gets a different treat (treat 2) you throw a small distance away. The idea is that she will break from the leave it to go get treat 2. Then you pick up treat 1. If she breaks to go get the other treat say “take it” at the same time to reinforce that the going to get the other treat is the new command. If she doesn’t break away, don’t say “take it” because she’s not doing what you want. The idea is that you train the action and put a word against it secondarily.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
355 Posts
Did anyone make some good progress with this one? Or get to apply it in a real-world situation?
We learned "take it" with reliably.

"Drop it" was more challenging for her understand or me to teach. But, I want to think we made baby steps because there were maybe 3 times during the month where she traded me for a higher valued toy or treat during our walks.. like many treats for a smelly dirty napkin. I did my best to mark the behavior with "yes" then "drop it" with an enthusiastic praise and amount of treats. But now I know what to look out for too. I'm optimistic we'll get there eventually.

In addition, Basil loves "touch". We practice this one tons and she'll nose boop to tell me she wants treats. Sometimes when we cross the street I'll ask for "touch" so she will keep nose booping my hip until we safely cross... So, that's good.

Basil is looking forward to practicing January!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
Thanks for bringing this full circle! We are doing pretty good, although poodle brain has the ability to in a split second calculate all the variables to decide whether it’s worth it to leave it or not. As long as the reward is higher value he’s rock solid. If it’s not, for example when he finds something interesting walking and I’m silly and have forgotten treats or they are boring treats maybe 50/50.

A dead bird was more high value than the treats I had this morning so leave it did not work!

I just have to be smarter than he is. Which is not easy!
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
7,249 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
A dead bird! I can’t even imagine how Peggy would react to such a thing. She’s agreed to leave dead fish before, but birds are the most thrilling thing, as far as Peggy is concerned. I think we’d have used a solid “Let’s go!” in that situation and done a 180. But it’s hard to constantly scan the horizon for poodle treasures. Sometimes you’re upon them before you even notice them.

We had a remarkably error-free month, which was a relief after last Christmas’s broken lightbulb fiasco. But we continue to practise every single day.

One thing I’m learning is that having “the good stuff” on me doesn’t necessarily mean I have to feed it to her. If I’m stuffing her with cheese for every nice thing she does on a walk, she’s not going to choose cheese over a tantalizing sidewalk treasure.

I need her to believe that I always have something even more amazing in my pocket. And that only the VERY BEST POODLES unlock it.

That’s what we’re currently working on—building that anticipation/trust rather than relying on a lure. As with most things, it would be much easier if I were her sole trainer. But...patience. ;)

In addition, Basil loves "touch". We practice this one tons and she'll nose boop to tell me she wants treats. Sometimes when we cross the street I'll ask for "touch" so she will keep nose booping my hip until we safely cross... So, that's good.
What a cool use of “touch”! Nicely done. I’ll have January’s trick posted shortly.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
3,380 Posts
Late reporting in here...

We did have improvement thru the month in "leave it" whether open hand or dropped on the floor unless the bit of chicken bounced right at their feet. I need to try with not-chicken to see if that helps.

Eye contact improved considerably, so yay!

I sometimes traded a chicken bit, sometimes inspected the floor chicken and authorized that and other times just authorized the floor chicken without inspection.

I'm calling this one better than expected and will continue on it, as with the others :).
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top