Administrator & LOTR Addict
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Bloomington, IN, USA
I am working the retrieve with Elena right now. She is a very compliant dog that is also a bit softer than her sister, but also very quick to understand what I want. I am doing this in two parts right now. In one room I am sitting on the couch, building her up, throwing the DB and she is going out, picking it up and bringing it back to me where I say "out" and take it from her. No formal hold or front. We have progressed to this point starting with her just putting her mouth on the DB. This is not a dog with crazy play/ball drive.
Then I take her into the kitchen where we are working on the hold. I have done the forced retrieve on 7 dogs and play retrieve on one. I am trying a different approach this time and we are doing a more controlled hold without the force. I have her sit slightly off of center (I don't like to put pressure on the dog in the formal front position), have my left hand in her collar so it can also go up under her jaw. The first times she of course grabbed the DB and then let go and looked at me for the "yes/reward". I just told her to "bring" and when she took it I added hold, got a split second hold, marked it and outed, reward. The left hand comes up and sort of supports the lower jaw so she can't drop the DB easily. Of course, she is a dog, so she has tried to drop the DB, roll it around in her mouth and then just not open her mouth. I tend to use a negative marker (no) and repeat what ever commend I have to. If she spits it out, I tell her "no, bring, hold". If she rolls it to the back, "no, hold" while I move it back to the correct position. When she decides to just look at me and not open her mouth, "bring" is repeated. I did open her mouth twice and put the DB inside. She is now taking the DB, holding it with the support under the jaw (not holding the jaw, but my hand is there), I am just starting to increase the time held, touch the DB with my right hand or stroking her head. Haven't decided where I will go next.
Something I did with Treue (she had a play retrieve) was throw the DB just in front of me (she was on leash), she would pick it up and I would have her carry it while I pushed on the sides, then I would say out before she could drop it. As we progressed I would have her come into front, but would push on the DB as she came in and step back, push on the DB, then out. Eventually I could stand still and push on the DB (the bell part) and she would shove it back at me. Then I added the sit command as I pushed on the DB. I basically used her opposition reflex to hold onto and then push back. Only thing I did not do with her which I wish I had was some formal hold work. Took a long time to get her to not chew the DB. She had a totally quiet mouth by the time we got the 3.
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Vala SchH3 AWD1 FH2 CGC B/HOT, SG1 Deja IPO3 AWD1 KKL1 B/HOT, SG Elena IPO1 AD CGC B/HOT, LB (the ugly little sable) BH B/HOT, Donovan IPO1 TR2 AD, and gone but not forgotten, Nike SchH1 OB1 TR3 AD CGC HOT, Treue SchH3 CD CGC HOT