Okay, so I discovered that Tuvok, the puppy whom I thought would be my next CDX, is so not into treats. His sister, Gretchen, whom I decided to keep back from my litter, at least for now, shows a lot more potential and will take treats. I have tried bits of kidney, cheese, and yesterday went out and bought very expensive semi-moist treats from the store.
Tuvok was mildly interested in the treats. I broke them up really small and got him to eat a few pieces, then I discovered something really important: he is more interested in sniffing and exploring than taking treats or even looking at me.
The puppy spends most of his time in his kennel outdoors with his two siblings or in the indoor pen. They have toys, etc, but the big yonder beyond these places intrigue him to no end. Also, he loves a game of tug.
He’s still a tiny babe with a real need to take in life outside of the kennel with all the sights, sounds, and wonderful aroma of poop. I must not deprive him of that opportunity now because I’ll be fighting him for his attention for the rest of his life, and that’s the last thing I want to do with a working dog.
So I have decided to ditch the clicker and treats for now (very hard for me because the clicker has almost become an appendage to my body!), and just let the puppy have free, unstructured time with me. He is tied to me when I’m in the house and can watch him because I’m housebreaking him and he’s doing well with that, and I give a lot of verbal praise and pats.
Once he gets “bored” with just sitting around, he may want to accept treats and work for them