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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To any of you trainers/experienced owners out there:
Do you find that while beagles are MEGA food-motivated, that lures kind of backfire in training? I've trained lots of beagles and have always found it a big challenge, putting a high-value treat up against a beagle's nose is asking for trouble!
Capturing and shaping have worked like magic for me with beagles and always produces clean and reliable behaviours. I ask because I'm just starting puppy class with my baby Ziggy and the trainer, like most, works with lures. The other pups in the class respond well but Ziggy does classic beagle nonsense with liver waving under his nose. His captured behaviours, however, which we learned months ago, are smooth as silk.
Am I just a cruddy handler who can't lure well, or do you find this common with beagles? I wonder if I should explain to the trainer my preference for capture, but I don't want to have eyes rolled at me and be told that lure is law!
This is a topic of great interest to me, since I rarely see trainers that work with capture or shaping. What do you think?

Tamara
(Momma to Zowie and Ziggy - the Z-TEAM!!!)
 

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I think you do what works best with your dog and the training technique it responds to best.

I've never had a problem with luring if I am training the dog in food drive, but that is the way my dog learns the best - she is also very quick to offer behaviours.

There are some instances where I use shaping, that is, I let the dog offer the desired behaviour and then reward her. At the moment we are doing some prey drive training where she has to learn the 'ok' command. The goal is to be able to move the tug toy around as much as I like, wave it in front of her face etc and still get her looking and focusing on me - resisting the urge to grab the toy until I say ok.

In this example I found it easiest to raise the toy away from her reach, let her get frustrated (she barked, offered known behaviours i.e. sit etc) until she looked at me and then I immediately gave the ok command for her to grab the toy, so in a way I was shaping her behaviour and allowing her to offer the desired outcome with no guidance from me.

When I was teaching her commands like sit and down however, I used a lure, as I found this the quickest and simplest way to teach her.

So to get back to my original point (LOL) I do whatever works best for the dog in the situation.
 

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Personally we use treats in the beginning stages of training a new skill. Once Bodie gets it we will then praise him with lots of praise and pets. Sometimes we'll have to go back to treats as a refresher if he's no longer obeying a particular command.

Our biggest issue is trying to decide what's high-value treat (i.e. bacon, cheese, etc.) worthy and what is a piece of kibble or small dog biscuit worthy. Obviously he responds so much better to high value treats but we don't want to get him dependent on them either. So it's definitely a balancing act.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Not a dumb question! Luring and capturing are two methods of training. With a lure, you put a treat under a dog's nose and guide them where you want them to go. For example, to lure a down, you hold a treat against their nose and slowly lower it so that the dog lies down, then you praise. Capturing works by waiting for the dog to do the behaviour on their own, so you wait for the dog to lie down and then praise. It takes more patience to capture because the dog has to offer behaviours, but it's a much stronger form of training because instead of just blindly following their nose and not really knowing what exactly got them the treat, the dog immediately wants to figure out what they just did right to receive praise.
Hope that makes sense!
 

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Personally, I always thought luring is what you fell back on when you weren't a good enough trainer to get the behavior through capture.

Also, intermittent reward is a powerful tool...
Eventually the beagle figures out that following instructions is a reward in itself, and the treat is a treat, not a payment.
 

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I am in no way anywhere near a good trainer. I hardly rate up to mediokre. But one thing I do know is I can't even put a treat in my pocket without the nose going in right after!!
Nope. The lure has NEVER worked for us.
 

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We use both techniques when training Agility. Sometimes we put a treat down somewhere on the course to reinforce a command. If however the sneaky Beagle sees where the treat has been deposited on the course then they will make their own way to the treat and gobble it up merrily. So you have to be very smart to outsmart a Beagle.
 
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