Originally Posted by echogibraltar
wow, thanks for such a great reply! she pees in other rooms of the house, then goes and hides in her kennel. she is pretty used to getting treats - we spoil her. we give her lots of attention and nothing has changed. she doesn't go for walks, usually cuz she will go for a bit then just lay down. maybe we should just let her run around outside? she's a good girl, gets lots of attention, just is spoiled. and she thinks she can get treats for anything. i have some treats in my room and now i can't get her to leave me alone unless i give her one. i literally have to throw the treat into the hall and close the door real quick, otherwise she sits there pawing at me. adorable, but annoying. so i guess i'm just gonna stop giving her treats all the time and just start praising her. thanks!
Here's a good example of a cocker who knows how to work her humans.
My aunt's old boss had a cocker spaniel named Katie. All of her life they gave her a treat each time she went out to pee. Well, one day while my aunt was over at their house, she noticed Katie would want to go out ALL the time to pee! She would squat and then want in for a treat. Finally, my aunt went out with to her notice that ... Katie wasn't peeing! She was squating, pretending to pee and then wanted a treat!
How's that for clever?
Praise is a great form of rewarding because it gives the dog the attention they want, doesn't make them fat in the long run, and usually helps to get them to obey commands more often.
My husband's samoyed gets a mixture of praise and treats. If he KNOWS you have a treat (or even thinks you have one), he is 300% more quick to do the command and is much more responsive. However, even if he doesn't think you have a treat, he does the command (albeit a little more slowly) because he still isn't 100% sure you don't have a treat.
My shetland sheepdog, on the other hand, is a completely different story. We usually don't reward him at all with treats because if he thinks you have a treat in your hand, he forgets everything! He's so excited about the food he forgets to do his command!
As for weaning her off the treats, I really think you should do it. Spoiling our fur babies is great, but there is a point where it becomes too much and once that point is reached, the pet's behaviour can become a bit obnoxious--just like a human child's!
Katie is doing the equivalent of the in-store tantrum where the child is screaming, "BUT I WANT IT! I WANT IT NOW!"
When she starts pawing at you for a treat, ignore her. You don't want to praise negative behaviour. Only praise the positive behaviour--even small things like lying on her bed and not begging should be praised. And give her treats for things like obeying commands, etc. But the goal is to get her to a point where she doesn't expect a treat for everything.
I also find giving them a bone to chew is better than a dog biscuit. They last longer and begging is usually cut down a bit because they have the bone to chew when they want a treat. It's a thought.
Hope everything goes well with her. Keep us posted on her progress!