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    1. #1
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      The food motivated dog...

      The obedience class Rocket Dog and I are attending has been interesting in many ways. RD is hugely motivated by many things... whatever it is she wants, she WANTS it NOW!!!! The duck, the toy, outside, inside, the other side of any door, breakfast, dinner, your lap, you name it. But TREATS!!!! WOW!!! Treats are FANTASTIC!!!!

      I sort assumed she was, if not normal, at least within 2 standard deviations of the mean of food motivation. Now I realize she is way out on the farthest most asymptotic extreme end of the bell curve. She will do anything for a cookie. But I knew that.

      What surprised me about the class is how so-so other dogs seem. And that being the case, how quickly RD has taken to things. RD is the only 100% lab in the group. 2 doodles, 1 mixed mostly lab... a pit bull... a miniature something, etc. These other dogs seem grateful for a treat, but not particularly driven to get one.

      Is this a lab thing? Or is the food motivation of labs pretty variable?

      Just curious.

    2. #2
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      I have been wondering the same thing-- I have never seen Lucy turn down a meal or treat. We have friends and family with a doberman, newfie and mutts and none of them are particularly food driven. When we visit them and its feeding time, I have to keep Lucy away from their food because she will gladly finish it when they walk away. I have also noticed that they can be distracted while they eat whereas Lucy is single minded when there is any food around.

    3. #3
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      Dachshund is the only other breed I have experience with. Lily is very food motivated and will work for food when she wants to. Like a typical dachshund, if she doesn't want to do something, no treat, no matter how high value, will convince her to do it. Very stubborn breed.

      Daisy, the lab, is fairly food motivated but she's way more motivated to work for the ball or frisbee.

    4. #4
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      Since Archie joined us, I've have seen a huge difference in food motivation. Mardi will do anything for a treat. Archie will take a treat but almost as if he's doing it to please me. I find Mardi a much quicker learner with her high food drive. Not that Archie is any slouch, he just takes his time to respond to commands with treat rewards.
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    5. #5
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      I guess I must be the only different one, go figure. I find it hard to find a dog who isn't food motivated. Both of my dogs, and every single one of the dogs that I've fostered have eagerly worked for treats. Various breeds, but most not labs. The only time any of these dogs have not worked for treats for me is when they were over their stress thresholds, and not even my lab will take treats if he is put in a situation that's too stimulating. Sometimes I have had to figure out what is and isn't high value to any given dog. Heck, my lab would probably do somersaults for watermelon chunks, but kind of doesn't care about hot dogs. Not that he would ever refuse them either, but that's not something I could break out as a big time motivator for him. And that's something that's a pretty standard suggestion when people ask what to use as training treats.

    6. #6
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      The only time any of these dogs have not worked for treats for me is when they were over their stress thresholds, and not even my lab will take treats if he is put in a situation that's too stimulating.


      That is an interesting observation. Maybe for at least one of the doodles, his stress level was pretty high. He was actually stressed because of RD. My read was he's a very gamma dog... very submissive and the antithesis of RD. He would not come on recall if he had to pass by RD. No amount of bait would make him do it. The big pit bull (what a laid back sweetie... it makes me feel bad for the breed when one like he get slammed for the sins of his peers...) couldn't care less about the bait. He literally let the treat bounce off his nose and ignored it. But he did want to please his handler.

      Whether or not RD and I are any more competent after the class is over, we've both learned a lot. If we pass our final exam and actually graduate, I may sign up for the advanced class.

      (I don't have any HT ribbons to hang on the wall yet. Until we do, we'll display our diploma.
      )

    7. #7
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      I think it's fairly common for the Border Collies to respond better to a game of tug or a ball throw than a treat. In our first class when Oban was 5 months old the LabxBC would only work for a play with the tug, food didn't interest him. The Siberian was worst, he'd only work for a belly rub. Lying down on his back, yet. While the rest of our class advanced the poor Sib owner spent her time trying to convince her dog he could stand up and still get a belly rub. Owners of treat motivated dogs are so lucky.

      While they are great in class, inside a building or ring, treats don't cut it for us outside though. A quarter inch cube of kangaroo jerky? Puhleeze, throw me a ball, says Oban. I carry two balls and treats on walks. I call the balls my bicycle, ATV, snowmobile, wild turkey, deer distractors.

      Sounds like you and RD are enjoying the class. Is it a competitive obedience class? Maybe you will try a trial?
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    8. #8
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      Pen is a mix. we think there is a herding breed and terrier in her. she is food motivate. now, depending on her mood she may at times respond more to a toy (especially a squeaky ball) but that seems to depend on her mood and the toy. Similarly sometimes she is "on" for the tug and other days she could care less. now, when she is stressed or over aroused I need to pull out the "big guns" food wise (kibble won't cut it there). But I can't compare that to Rocky as he's so non chalent and easy going about everything he is never particularly stressed. And if he is "over aroused" it's usually because of food :P

      I fostered a wide variety of dogs and breeds, all were food motivated. Labs are not alone on that front.

    9. #9
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      Chloe is definitely food motivated, but will work for praise and/or a toy as well - she genuinely wants to please. Food is her favorite though of course! I’ve found through all the classes I’ve been to, that most dogs are at least somewhat food motivated, but Labs in general tend to be even MORE food motivated than average. I’ve only met a handful of dogs over the years who really, truly, weren’t interested in food.
      Annette

      Cookie (Jamrah’s Legally Blonde, CD, BN) 6/4/2015
      Sassy (Jamrah’s Blonde Ambition, CD, BN) 6/4/2015

      Chloe (OTCH HIT HC Windsong’s Femme Fatale, UDX4, OM6) 6/7/2009


      Remembering:
      Scully (Coventry's Truth Is Out There, UD, RN) 4/4/1996 - 6/30/2011
      Our foster Jolie (UCh Windsong’s Genuine Risk, CDX, WC) 5/26/1999 - 3/2/2014
      and Mulder (Coventry’s I Want to Believe, UD, VER, WC, RN) 5/26/1999 - 4/20/2015

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    10. #10
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      Zoey is very food motivated, she thinks even lettuce is hitting the jackpot. She is also motivated by praise and toys, she is a simple dog who loves to please. I enjoy working with her the most out of all my dogs. My chihuahua is also food and praise motivated but doesnt care for toys at all. My corgi is not food motivated at all. Of course she loves getting a treat, but food doesnt motivate her to do anything. She is all about toys, squeeky balls in particular or a game of tug. But if she isnt in the mood for whatever reason, nothing motivates her, she is a stubborn, high energy dog who looses focus very fast. We tease her and say she has a severe case of doggie ADHD. But go figure, she is my most well behaved outside of the house, has incredible recall, etc. To someone who doesnt live with my corgi she appears to be most well behaved dog ever, its all lies

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