Build reinforcers

It’s brilliant and I have known that you can build reinforcers but I haven’t really made the effort to work on it systematically. I do with the tug toy but not much with foods. I should though because both Bella and Kaktus have too much weight. And these days we are doing more stuff inside because both need a cortisol break. Every walk we have seen deer, squirrels and Kaktus has burnt himself on nettles wich is very painful and stressful. I just thought we had a stroke of really bad luck but obviously the deer are a lot more present where we usually walk now during summer. In winter they are still here but not as much. We saw one deer in 2 months and then far away. Now Kaktus is on high alert thinking there is deer around every corner. Poor guy! He will do well seeing them if he gets a break in between. So we need a cooling off period so both of them can relax. And that means to do more training and fun stuff inside or by the barn.

These videos from John McGuigan explain the how and it is strange that you don’t see more of this. Especially since so many say their dog won’t eat outside etc, or will only work for cheese. Of course it can be due to stress that the dog won’t eat but you can still try and build up the value of a reinforcer.

I know Emily Larlham also builds up reinforcers. She used life rewards for her allergic dog that can only eat a special kind of kibble. Eat this kibble = go play! Eat this kibble = Go sniff! Eat this kibble = go explore this new area! etc.

I love the last video and how they experiment to get the treat more interesting and how they switch to a less exiting toy and then move on to the God of Toys, the ball 🙂

I could try and build up the value of carrots and kibble if we find a kibble that works for Kaktus. I just wish there was a hypo allergenic kibble that wasn’t full of rice, corn or grains. Either way we can start to test this inside with carrots.

We also got our Clickit harnessess! They fit perfectly and I took Kaktus for a test ride. Ohh my….! He did not approve. Since this fastens with the seatbelt going into the back of the harness he is slightly pulled back towards the back of the seat and doesn’t have the same freedom as with the normal strap. He did quite well for a while and then I saw him chewing on the seatbelt. All I could do was stop and just take it off. So we obviously have to do some training and gradually ease him into wearing it. The harness won’t work for us out on walks. It’s a bit too wide between his front legs and will be uncomfortable if he walks around in it for too long. In the car it’s fine though.

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