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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I finally brought home my lovely little toy cockerpoo, Lola. She's been with us for 4 days, and although I'd braced myself for the worst--I've been reading this forum for a month and was ready with wine and chocolate for the hard times--she's been an absolute darling--though I still believe this is the calm before the storm. :D

The last two days, I've been trying to work on the sit command, tempting her with kibble in my hand (the Victoria Stilwell technique). The problem is she looses interest in what I have in my hand before her bottom even touches the floor. Generally, she doesn't seem food motivated at all. On her first day with us, she chowed down all her food, gradually she's been leaving more and more in her bowl, which makes me wonder if I'm feeding her too much or too often. Otherwise she's sleeping, weeing, pooing, playing, and generally a very happy and excitable little dog. Seems to love praise and cuddles.

She's 10 weeks old, and I'm feeding her at 8am, 12pm, 4pm, and 8pm. She has two table spoons of cooked minced chicken, two tablespoons of mixed veg, and two table spoons of kibble.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 

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It's not uncommon for them to go off food at first as the move is a big change for them. Give it a bit of time and I'm sure she'll be more food motivated. :)
 

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Pups do need to learn to work for the food so it might be you need to give her treats initially much earlier in the process if she is losing interest. What are you using as treats? It may need to be something really high value like a tiny bit of hot dog sausage or similar to really capture her attention.

Slightly curious about her diet too? chicken mince and mixed veg are not going be giving her all the nutrients she needs at this stage and seem to be forming two thirds of her diet? It might be you need to get a complete wet food to mix in if she is not going to eat kibble alone but pups do have huge requirements for things like higher fat levels and calcium levels which she is probably not going to get with the current mix.
 

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Hey i think four days is such a short time to judge but anyway, try reducing the number of meals a day and giving it a more substantial meal when you do. If you normally leave the food out maybe you should stop as it becomes boring. Also try and give it some interesting treats sometime.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Pups do need to learn to work for the food so it might be you need to give her treats initially much earlier in the process if she is losing interest. What are you using as treats? It may need to be something really high value like a tiny bit of hot dog sausage or similar to really capture her attention.

Slightly curious about her diet too? chicken mince and mixed veg are not going be giving her all the nutrients she needs at this stage and seem to be forming two thirds of her diet? It might be you need to get a complete wet food to mix in if she is not going to eat kibble alone but pups do have huge requirements for things like higher fat levels and calcium levels which she is probably not going to get with the current mix.
That's interesting. I'm just giving her what the breeder told me to. He gave me some of the mince and puppy mixer biscuit and said to add veg. That's what I've been doing since he said this was what she was used to. What would you recommend to give her? Is the chicken mince no good?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Pups do need to learn to work for the food so it might be you need to give her treats initially much earlier in the process if she is losing interest. What are you using as treats? It may need to be something really high value like a tiny bit of hot dog sausage or similar to really capture her attention..
I've just been trying it with her kibble/puppy mixer since I didn't want to mess around with her diet too much. But I do have some frankfurters in the fridge. Do you think they might work?? :D
 

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Not sure if you are US or UK based - if UK this is a good site for comparing various dog foods

http://www.allaboutdogfood.co.uk/

I am sure someone will be able to supply a US equivalent.

i would keep her on what she is eating at the moment, work out a better long term food and then move her very gradually over a couple of weeks gradually increasing the proportion of the new food.

Trying her with the kibble is probably the reason you are failing to be honest as her meals contain better so she has no real incentive to work. I would carry on with 4 meals a day as they have tiny tummies but maybe try a bit of the cooked chicken for her training treat or a very tiny amount of the frankfurter
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm base in the UK (Hertfordshire) so this site is really helpful.

I went to the vet this evening to get Lola's second vaccination. I asked her about the food (thank you for alerting me to the problem) and she suggested moving onto barking heads puppy food, gradually including it into her diet over 7 days.

Lola got a full bill of health, didn't flinch at the injections, even the really big needle for the microchip. Very proud mummy. :)

Tomorrow, I will try try something really tasty for the training. She's already done so well. She's worked out that "come" = lots of love and praise, and "go wee" = lots and love and praise. So she's a smart girl. I just need to learn what I'm doing. :rolleyes:
 

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:) Sounds like you and Lola are off to a splendid start. Consider switching "go wee" to "be quick"....it may save you some dirty looks as you tell her to wee in a prized public garden, near a school yard etc...

The best training tip I got was to teach sit and then transfer it very quickly to mean "please". Please can I go out, eat, have my toy, get on the couch, go out the door, have my leash off, chase my ball, get in the car, cross the street, get out of the car, taste what you are cooking.... after just a few days stop using the word altogether and just look at her expectantly, she'll catch on in no time that it pays to have nice manners.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Couldn't resist trying the frankfurter this evening before dinner when I knew Lola should be hungry. The result: she learnt to sit. We just did a 2 minute session with the clicker and she picked it up so quickly. Then, a half hour later, as I held her food bowl, I said, "Sit," and she sat. Oh, my goodness. My eyes filled up with tears. I was so damn proud of her.

Thank you so much for the advice. High value treats is the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
:)
The best training tip I got was to teach sit and then transfer it very quickly to mean "please". Please can I go out, eat, have my toy, get on the couch, go out the door, have my leash off, chase my ball, get in the car, cross the street, get out of the car, taste what you are cooking.... after just a few days stop using the word altogether and just look at her expectantly, she'll catch on in no time that it pays to have nice manners.
My aim is to have a very nice mannered dog, so this sounds like a great idea. Do you mean that I should use "please" instead of sit. Or just get her to sit before she does all of these things? I assume the latter, but I just want to check.
 

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Yes to the second one.:) As soon as she has a good sit, request it from her every time she wants anything. The reinforcement switches from the food to what she desires, you don't need to use treats any more. With all the basic commands and tricks you teach using a hand signal/lure, then just use the hand signal, then add the word, and then mix them up. Slowly raise the work she needs to do to get a food treat once she has the hand signals and words down. For example the first week she'd get a treat for each and every "down", a few weeks in she should be treated only when she holds the "down" for a count of ten or so.

So the first time you go to a restaurant you put her in a down under the table and treat her almost constantly for staying down but only order a tea to go. When she is older she should be expected to hold a down under the table for your entire meal knowing she will get a treat at the end.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you for those great suggestions, Fairlie.

Just one more thing. Should I keep each short training session to one command at the moment while we're getting started?
 

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Ask Marzi or 2nd that one. I went to a fabulous dog school before the turn of the century, I bet things have changed since then.:rolleyes: The way we did it was multiple very short sessions throughout the day, with only a few requests each time, maybe one sit, one down, one leave it, one stay (increasing the seconds each week). We also had to do an emergency recall each day which involved a special call or whistle (different from the normal way you call them) and a very, very high value treat. At first you are just luring the dog into the position you want with a treat at their nose so it is not too onerous or stressful. Training should be fun and only fun. If their tail is not wagging something is wrong. :)
 

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You can find lots of books about training and how long to do your sessions. Try to simplify your sessions to just one new command at a time and be sure to reinforce them.

You might want to consider using your puppy's kibble or some of the veggie as the training treat. She's want to succeed because of you and your attention and response, not because of the food. Since she eats very little and isn't food-motivated, try to make sure whatever she eats is healthy. Also remember your little one is a toy, so they don't eat much anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thank you for your response, Sassy.

As it turns out, Lola has now learnt to love food, and it turns out she is extremely food motivated.:D We've learnt lots of new commands using the clicker. I'm so grateful for all the input from this group. You've all been so helpful. Thank you.
 
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