Where’s My Treat?

“If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and then giving Fido only two of them.” – Phil Pastoret

Back at our second week of agility class, Penny was all smiles.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

Between last week’s class and our practice and home, Penny knew she was about to score a ton of high-value treats

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

She was licking her lips as soon as we got to work

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

And she quickly racked up treat after treat by dashing through the tunnels and going back and forth over the jumps

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

But over the weekend I read through our homework and moved to a more challenging reward system I like to call “Ripping Penny Off”

Normally, when training Penny I give her a treat each time she performs the desired action.
Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

But what happens when Penny performs the action (touching the target in this case) but isn’t immediately rewarded?

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

I get the, “Hey, you ripped me off!” look

While Penny would argue the lack of a treat is a crime against dogmanity, it does serve an important training function. I want Penny to always go to the target, irrespective of treats so this week we’re working on fading the treats out.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

As you can see, Penny’s displeased with this new policy

Rhodesian Ridgeback, puppy, cute, chicago

“You want to fade the treat out? How about my teeth fade this target out!?”

A temper tantrum earns Penny no rewards, so she’s started to understand the best way to get treats is by performing the task on her own accord. We may make a lady out of Penny yet!

Nah, probably not. But we’re having a lots of fun working together on our new skills.

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