Snatching for treats during training OUCH!

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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I like poop
Barked: Thu Aug 15, '13 9:36pm PST 
So I have a now 10 week old puppy named Brevin. I started training him basic commands a week ago and he has a terrible habit of chomping my hand with his needle teeth! I try to say gentle but he's so fast and pulling away makes it hurt more. He has drawn blood before. Not only that, but he will completely miss the treat and just grab my middle finger! (Holdin treat with pointer finger and thumb) how do I train him to take a treat carefully without him not getting frustrated? So far he has learned sit, lay down, roll over, shake, spin, and speak. He's very smart but he just doesn't take a treat very carefully and it's getting painful!

When I say sit and he does I want to offer him a treat because he has done what I asked. But how do I reward him for doing that command and doing so gently? I don't want to stall his reward and make him think that he's not doing the particular command correctly.

Should I hold off on trick training until I can train him to take a treat gently? If so, what are some exercises we can do to get this fixed. I want to get this fixed ASAP so we can resume with training.
Jackson Tan

Lad about town
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 2:31am PST 
Hold the treat in your fist and let your dog sniff it, paw your hand, etc. When she calms down, is sitting or standing without attacking your hand, open your palm and let your dog have it. If she goes to snatch, though, close it again! Only let her have the treat when she takes it gently, then praise. Do this every time until she gets the message.

Fritz, cats are- fun when they- run
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 3:37am PST 
How about using clicker training so the click will tell her she did the right thing and dropping the treat for her to pick it up? Also, if she is supper food motivated use a slightly less high value treat.

Good Luck


Lenny -The- Wrecking Ball
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 5:02am PST 
Jackson, that's what I had to do with Lenny when he was younger and it worked really well for us.

Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 5:03am PST 
Have you tried yipping in the way a dog would? I know sometimes it's hard to remember when something hurts and you just want to curse, but yelling or getting worked up will also just raise the dogs energy in return. In my puppy class our instructor told us to yelp like a puppy ANY time the dog puts their mouth on you. It worked great on my dog, but she's very sensitive and compassionate. It's worth a try and if that communicates to your pup that she's hurting you, then great!

The suggestion to keep your hand in a fist around the treat is great. The pup can't get to it. Try the yipping if she scratches at you too hard or does try to bite. Don't do this while you're training for other behaviors, though, since it would be confusing to ask him to sit and then withhold the treat until he is working with you calmly and make that into the exercise.

I like poop
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 6:15am PST 
Thanks guys! I will give the treat in a fist thing a try today and see how it goes! We are doing clicker training but I don't want to just drop the treat on the floor. He needs to learn not to snatch either way. Is snatching just part of being a puppy?

Gunna get \'em!
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 6:48am PST 
Brevin, I love Kikopup on YouTube for stuff like this. Here is her no-bite clicker training method. I did this with a foster with a seriously sharp set of choppers with good results. Check out this video on YouTube:


Whippy- The- Whipador
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 7:44am PST 
It's a good idea to teach him to be gentle now, Brevin, because it's something that could continue into adulthood if he's not taught any different. Much the same as play biting. Jackson's suggestion is the one I've heard recommended most by trainers & dog owners alike.

Herpaderp-apotam- us
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 7:47am PST 
You can also try changing the way you offer the treat. Rather than pinching it between your thumb and fingers (the way most people seem to instinctively offer treats), you can hold the treat in your palm and hold it in place with your thumb.
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Fri Aug 16, '13 9:13am PST 
I second JT's advice! I'm working on that with my new dog. You can also use it as an opportunity to start teaching commands "leave it" and "take it".

Hold the treat in your closed fist as Jackson said and wait for the dog to back away from your hand before you open it to give the treat. When he gets the idea he must back off before he gets the treat, add "leave it" as a command when presenting your closed fist and when you open your hand say "take it" as his permission to take the treat.

It's a good exercise in impulse control and eventually you can build up to him not even taking the treat from your open hand until you give the release cue from leaving it and say, "take it".

Also, as it sounds like you've figured out, keep palm open and flat when delivering treat---holding a treat between thumb and forefinger, it can be hard for a dog to even distinguish between fingers and treats, esp. when they are in a rush . . . and sometimes if it's just held out there, tantalizingly it's just enticing and setting them up to jump and snatch for it, the opposite of what you want of course.

(I always think about pictures of dolphin trainers who hold a fish in their teeth for the dolphin to jump and take----no way! eeklaugh out loud)
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