banana obsession ...(10 Posts)
ddog (16 months) is normally very obedient and generally a pleasure to be with - he passed his therapy dog assessment with flying colours last month so it's not just me thinking that!
however he's developed a 'thing' about bananas .... there are a lot of bananas and skins chucked around the common at weekends by the hundreds of footballers using the pitches and ddog thinks they are just the most delicious thing ever
he will leave most things (or swap them) and doesn't resource guard but if he manages to scarf a bit of banana he'll keep away until it's all gone and won't entertain the idea of swapping it for anything else
if he thinks a banana/banana skin is in the offing he becomes completely deaf .. this afternoon we were practising some off-lead heel work on our walk - he was concentrating beautifully and it was all going swimmingly when suddenly he just hared off about 20m away into the brambles - when I caught up with him, yes he was scoffing a banana grrr ... normally he won't go anywhere near the brambles as he hates getting his fur caught up in them
how am I going to get him to forget about bananas?? At the moment we can't go near the cafe as it's wall-to-wall toddlers being fed 'healthy' snacks and there are bananas a-plenty and I don't want a snatching from toddler incident
Just let him eat them?
My dog loves bananas, they aren't harmful in any way.
Presumably you have taught your dog not to steal food from people so toddler snatching incidents shouldn't be a concern.
I'm happy for him to eat bananas but not to eat mouldy banana skins from the side of the road ... And when he sees a banana all bets are off - he wouldn't normally steal food from people but I wouldn't trust him not to snatch a banana - they are the highest of high value foods for him ...
they are the highest of high value foods for him ... there is your answer. Clicker train him to find banana -when he does click and treat and give him more bananas. His job is to find bananas.
Over time he will come to you with the banana skin to get the reward = you can then choose to let him eat it or give him the reward more banana!
This also works really well with poo eating dogs, click and treat the minute they go to eat the poo they will turn to you for the treat, give a command and the dogs will then show you where the poo is but come to you for the reward
Ah, my Wheaten Terrier was the same. She'd happily train complicated htm moves for the chance to just sniff a banana skin.
I agree with mutty, use it to your advantage. You have a new, healthy treat option for training and if you teach him to indicate when he's found one, instead of eating it you'll be able to avoid him eating the rotten ones. (Of course you will end up being soley responsible for cleaning up all the banana skins the footballers leave behind every week as a result.)
I need to do a similar process with Lurcherboy and rolling in stinky stuff, but you are at an advantage, as you can buy bananas to work with at home, whereas I'd prefer not to collect decaying animals and fox poo and bring it home for clicker training purposes.
Thanks mutty and moose - that sounds promising
Can either of you walk me through how to do it in baby steps? Presumably I need to set it up as a training situation first? (Trying to work out the logistics of carrying bits of banana with me at all times!)
There are two ways to do it.
One is to go back to the beginning with 'leave' and build it up to the point he'll drop absolutely anything - banana included - and come to you for something better. As per this Dr Sophia Yin article.
You can start teaching him nose/scent work and actively encourage him to seek out bananas, but then come back to you for his reward when he's found them. Then all you'd have to do is take a bit of banana with you on walks, let him have a sniff, then send him off to find as many as he can and come back proudly to you each time for his reward. ( This Suzanne Clothier article will help you get started with that. )
If you want a quick and easy way of doing it, try this.
As for handling the bananas as treats. Could you possibly try dried banana chips as an alternative to squidgy fresh banana or skins?
A different view
I would not use a leave it in this situation - as you have said the dog will do anything to get the banana so they will not take any notice of it however well you train it.
I dont think you need to teach them to scent as they already seem pretty good at finding the bananas. You need the dog to find the banana and then turn to you
I would cut up really small pieces of banana skin or banana. Hold it in one hand, as soon as the dog sniffs it and comes towards it click and offer a banana treat from the other hand. Over time you should be able to put distance between the banana you are offering and the reward. The second the dog give a millipause and turn towards the opposite hand you are offering you know they are getting the idea. Then very gradually increase your distance eg put the banana on the floor etc.
If during the training the dog does fine a banana just reward with more - do not try to take it off them, they will just learn to either eat it quicker or run off and come back when they have eaten it
Thanks both of you
Moose - I hope you won't be offended but I'm going to try mutty's method as his general 'leave' is pretty good - it's just bananas he goes deaf for .... And he can already scent a banana in the undergrowth from at least 20m away
I'll let you know how we get on
I know he can scent a banana, but at the moment he does it for himself. By teaching him proper nosework you would be opening up the opportunity for lots of fun, mentally exhausting games and he would learn that when he finds one it's most rewarding to return to you, rather than just scoff it.
Either method will work though and I'll admit mutty's will be faster if you want a quick fix.
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