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The first thing I do is get the dog to take the dumbell from my hand. I don't want it to be a prey item. similar to clicker training except I mark with a "good" (marker) instead of the click.
initially, when the dog even glances at the dumbell. he gets a "good" and a treat. That progresses to a nose touch, "good" and treat. It doesn't take long before the dog mouths the dumbell, "good" and a treat.
When they first grip it, it will only be for a split second. I don't add the out till the dog is holding for a second or two.
Thunder took all of about 20 mins to learn this, and that was overcomming the fact that he had learned to to do a down and bark alert on cadaver scent this way. He just stood there barking at the dumbell for the first 4-5 mins. Then he realized that wasn't working this time and he tarted expierimenting with a paw tap, a sit, down, etc. He knows when I want a new reaction. It's just a matter of him hiting on the right combo now.
Someone put a clicker video on our video form. It was teaching a dog to close a drawer with clicker only. this is the same principal. Reward correct response, ignore wrong response.
My first training scenario every day is a competition level retrieve. Thunder looks forward to it because he knows it's followed with a game of tug.
I'm not going to knock forced retrieve because I did it succesfully for years. I've just found that a dog willing to retrieve on command, with a great attitude, is a lot more fun to watch then a dog who is doing it "just cause I said so"! When the forced retrieve is done by the right person and the right dog, the dogs level will come back. I've just seen to many "correct" retrieves where the dog wasn't as enthusiastic as I like to see.
 

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The first thing I do is get the dog to take the dumbell from my hand. I don't want it to be a prey item. similar to clicker training except I mark with a "good" (marker) instead of the click.
initially, when the dog even glances at the dumbell. he gets a "good" and a treat. That progresses to a nose touch, "good" and treat. It doesn't take long before the dog mouths the dumbell, "good" and a treat.
When they first grip it, it will only be for a split second. I don't add the out till the dog is holding for a second or two. When that is solid, just start moving the dumbell in different positions. Out to the side, straight out, etc. give the dog different pictures. Then you can move your hand to the ground. The first time you set the dumbell on the gorund without touching it, many dogs will totally wonder what the heck are you doing. Just be patient.
Thunder took all of about 20 mins to learn this, and that was overcomming the fact that he had learned to to do a down and bark alert on cadaver scent this way. He just stood there barking at the dumbell for the first 4-5 mins. Then he realized that wasn't working this time and he tarted expierimenting with a paw tap, a sit, down, etc. He now knows when I want a new behavior. It's just a matter of him hitting on the right combo.
I never teach the retrieve with the jump. They are two separate exercises. When both are solid, everything will fall together.
Someone put a clicker video on our video form. It was teaching a dog to close a drawer with clicker only. this is the same principal. Reward correct response, ignore wrong response.
My first training scenario every day is a competition level retrieve. Thunder looks forward to it because he knows it's the start of FUN training.
I'm not going to knock forced retrieve because I did it succesfully for years. I've just found that a dog willing to retrieve on command, with a great attitude, is a lot more fun to watch then a dog who is doing it "just cause I said so"! When the forced retrieve is done by the right person and the right dog, the dogs level will come back. I've just seen to many "correct" retrieves where the dog wasn't as enthusiastic as I like to see.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you, Bob; this is exactly what I wanted. I didn't know if I should start with the out, but now I see exactly how to start.

(I also didn't know if I should start with a different item than the dumbell, but now I see. I don't want it to be mixed up with a prey thing -- I want it to be just for one thing in the dog's brain, which is the formal retrieve.)

This also answers something else I had in the back of my mind, which was how to differentiate to him between playing "fetch" and doing a formal retrieve. The difference can be the dumbell, which I would never bring out except for the formal retrieve, right?

THANKS!
 

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Right!
Using the dumbell for a prey toy can often lead to mouthing.
I HAD to start with food on Thunder. He would be way over the top with his tug. Once he really understood the exercise, I brought out the tug. That initially resulted in a slight loss of control, and slight mouthing, but his drive to get the dumbell went way up. He also learned to get through the mouthing on the dumbell if he wanted the tug. Even though it's not a prey toy, he knows the correct response with the dumbell will get him the tug.
 

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Course yer tryin ta teach this to a Pug, ain'tcha! :lol: :oops: Did I say that with my outloud voice? :wink:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Bob Scott said:
Course yer tryin ta teach this to a Pug, ain'tcha! :lol: :oops: Did I say that with my outloud voice? :wink:
No, Mr. Smarty-Pants! I am going to try it with Pomfret (the GSD). Leo (the Pug) is very fetch-minded and would probably be the better candidate, but I don't think he could get it in his mouth or lug it anywhere.

But I'll bet Leo will want in, when he sees that something new is going on.

I will have to start with food. I didn't want to ask because I thought the answer would be a horrified "NO," but I know it will be necessary.
 

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I always start with food. Depending on the dogs play drives, it may not respond to a toy, or, as in many high prey/play dogs, a toy may be just to much at the beginning. :wink:
 
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