About

(c) Stisnprtisn!

(c) Stisnprtisn!

Welcome to my blog! I’m Andreja Žitnik living in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

I love love love training my two whippets, Ruby and Java. They make me laugh, they make me think, they help me live in the present moment and if a day comes when I’m too tired to train they let me know that they miss it. 🙂

My special pet peeve is getting my dogs very motivated to do my bidding. I will work my buttocks off to see my whippet smiling at me during work. If they don’t, I feel as though I have failed them. I don’t want obedience – I want them to WANT to work. Ruby was just about as independent and unbiddable (is that even a word?) as they come, so finding motivation in him was a lot of work and for a long time it felt like I had to tame him each and every day before I could work with him. Often I failed. But now he is a wonderful, passionate partner in Agility and Rally Obedience so I guess I did a few things right! Luckily Java was much easier to motivate as I really didn’t want to go through the whole ordeal again, regardless of how much I learned.

In my spare time I teach agility foundations, focus, motivation and recall with a special focus on training sighthounds. I blog about our training, agility, motivating dogs and whatever else is on my mind. To read about how I train and motivate my dogs head over to the Training page.

You can contact me via the form below. I promise I don’t bite 🙂

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4 Comments

4 thoughts on “About

  1. Linda

    Hi Andreja
    Hope you are all keeping well.
    Training my new pup is going really well.I’m noticing that he is now preferring the toy over food. When we switch to food he loses interest until the toy is offered again. I’ve tried various different value treats already and no matter what it is he loses interest in it and will move away to do something else. We are busy working on the bowl pivoting and I want to keep him concentrating on what we are doing without rewarding with a toy until it is play time. I would like to be able to work him with both options for the different things I’m training, so want to nip this in the bud before this behavior sets in. Do you have any tips on building his food drive?
    Thanks
    Linda

    • Hey Linda, life is still busy, but otherwise we’re all doing well, thank you 🙂
      I think it’s great that you have decided to deal with this straight away. The most important thing to do is not to offer a better reward after he has refused the not-so-good one. So if he doesn’t take the food, he doesn’t get to play. He also doesn’t get better treats. It’s important that this becomes a general rule across everything you do.

      A few tips:

      – You can transfer the value from toys to food by always giving him treats before playing. View every time you play with him as an opportunity to transfer the value to treats. Use great treats at first then once he won’t have a problem switching between toys and food you can use lesser treats. If he doesn’t take treats, leave the toy on a table (or somewhere he can’t get to it) and take him on leash away from the toy. Maybe 3m will be enough. Or maybe you will need to go to another room or even out of the house before he will take the treat. Go as far as it takes, then run back with him and play with the toy. With time the distance will decrease and soon he will take the treat right next to the toy for the opportunity to play with the toy again. Do this away from training sessions.

      – For now, during training sessions where you want to use food, either try to find very good treats and a really boring toy (maybe his leash?) or don’t use toys at all and play with food instead. You can play with food by having him chase your hand with food, or you roll the food on the ground etc. Playing with food will also increase his food drive over time.

      – Is he getting some food in the bowl? When trying to build food drive it is best to give all the food for working. When the dog prefers one type of reinforcer over another it is tempting to use mostly the preferred one. But what will happen is that the value of the preferred one will grow even faster this way and the difference will get bigger and bigger. Also check that your portions aren’t too big for his weight.

      Happy training 🙂
      Andreja

      • Linda

        Thank you for your reply and the great tips. I will start implementing them into my training and let you know how it goes.
        Happy training 🙂
        Linda

  2. Pingback: Mietteitä treenamisesta – Smiling dog

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