A game Nelson likes to play -- "Find Treat"
apologies if I've mentioned this before, but particularly as the weather warms up I look for ways to keep my bulldog mentally stimulated (since our walks are a bit shorter in the summer time).
We have a game we like to play inside, and it's called "find treat". It reinforces a lot of good behaviors, but the main downside is that your floor may end up slobbery (but as a bully person, we're all pretty used to that )
Here are the basics and then I'll try to discuss the "training".
1) Have your Bulldog sit.
2) Hold the type of treat in front of your Bully, so he can smell it. (I use hard treats so it doesn't necessarily have to be a smelly treat.)
3) Have your Bully stay.
4) Hide some number of treats around out of sight (I typically hide 3 scattered across a couple of rooms and then toss one on his pillow later).
5) Issue a "find treat" command
6) Watch your bully go and sniff around to find the treats. If he gets stuck I will typically point in the direction of a treat and he'll pick up on the intention.
7) For the last treat (which I have tossed on his pillow/bed) I will give him a "pillow" command after he has found the first 3 treats, and he will then race to his pillow to get the final treat.
For Nelson, his tail nub starts wagging and he loves sniffing around. It's really great to watch his brain working as he figures out where the treats are. When I'm sneaky I'll put a treat under one of his blankets on his bed and see how long it takes him to root it out, which is normally not very long at all.
As for how I trained this, I'm going to skip the sit and stay portion since there are a lot of good explanations on those.
First, I let him sniff the treat, then put a treat in his line of sight (while he was in stay), and then would point at it and say "find treat". This released him from stay and he would slobber down on the treat. I repeated this a few times with treats farther away, but still in line of sight.
Then, I started putting treats in other rooms, and would point to the room. It was still in line of sight once he got into the room (so easy to find) so it helped reinforce the pointing/treat behavior. Finally, I started hiding them behind things (ie chair legs) , or on things (ie his bed/pillow/blankets) and would still use the find treat and point.
Now, I only point if it looks like he's gotten stuck and to get him to move from room to room.
In hindsight however, I've now overloaded my "pointing" so would probably change my physical signal to be different, perhaps something like a holding your hands to your face like a spyglass and use that to point. In fact, I don't actually even need to say the words now and can just go thru the hand signals for him, which seem far easier.
Hope this helps and you and your bullies enjoy it!
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Re: A game Nelson likes to play -- "Find Treat"
Thanks for sharing! I will give a try with Izzy tonight, sounds like a great indoor game. Houston is also unbearable outside... our walks are not lasting more than 1 block.
My sunshine doesn’t come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog’s eyes.
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I'm not OCD....now who moved my bulldog?
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