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Old 12-20-2012, 10:20 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The retrieve.... oh the retrieve... ;)

Just looking for some advice on how to perfect the retrieve. First of all, I am working with Stark on this - he is SUPER sensitive when it comes to corrections with me and will shut down if he feels too much pressure (turn away, "not hear" me, start sniffing, jumping on me, etc..). He does however respond well to the e-collar, because I do not believe he thinks the correction is coming from me - this is something that my trainer and I have been working on with him in the past. The e-collar works as a communication tool for us that allows Stark to receive the direction he needs without thinking the stim is coming directly from the handler, thus leaving "me" out of it so that I can re-direct him back to me/the task at hand.

He will wait nicely by my side, I can throw the dumbbell, he has drive for the dumbbell (surprisingly but I did do a lot of back tieing and teasing with the dumbbell in the beginning), will RUN out to retrieve it, come back to me within about a foot and then start play bouncing around me and becomes chewy. I think 'he' thinks his only job is to retrieve it and bring it back?

I have broken this down for him and trained all the steps separately and when I bring him to a front and ask him to hold, he does. He is a bit chewy but I think that is genetic more than training?

I will say that he ENJOYS retrieving more than any other thing he does. He hops out to get the dumbbell or the item (he does a lot of retrieving for my cousin who is in a wheelchair such as pens, books, clothing, shoes, etc.. and just LOVES it!). I don't want to ruin that enthusiasm but am not sure how to teach him to connect the two exercises together; 1- run out get the dumbbell, 2 - come back to a front and hold it nicely.

I have called him in and he just is too excited and will bounce around me. I give a verbal correction or redirection in a more stern tone and he drops it.

I am working 15 hours and on 12 day of a 17 day stretch at work so I am unable to train until the new year with our club right now. I am basically training at night in the mall parking lot or the local park. My sister is exercising the dogs right now for me (she lives with me and is a part time student at University).

Thanks guys, will try to see if I can get video of the behaviour some time this weekend after work.
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I would suggest that you go back to the start and reinforce the hold - clicker work for positive - just the hold - sitting in front of you - do it in the house, sitting on the couch, standing anywhere...just the hold and also work on fronts....build muscle memory....

for fronts, have him in plaitz, toe to toe...then bring him up with a 'hier' - over and over without dumbbell - this is a foundation position and you need to have it extremely solid

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Old 12-20-2012, 10:31 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Lee - was wondering about that. I think that is the way to go as well. Appreciate your input!
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Old 12-20-2012, 10:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Will he hold the dumbbell and a sit stay while you move back away from him? Will he hold a dumbbell in the front position? Then, can you call him to you from 6 inches, 12 inches, 2 feet away into the front while he maintains his hold?

I like to teach this part of the retrieve "backwards" -- that is, start with him holding the dumbbell and letting you take it while he sits and then gradually build that until he will do a 20-30 foot recall from a sit stay holding the dumbbell. Get that before putting the retrieve together with the front and presentation.

While you are teaching this part, I take a break from the thrown part -- unless I am just working on teaching drive and, say, run away when he comes toward you with the dumbbell.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:08 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Will he hold the dumbbell and a sit stay while you move back away from him?
Yes, he will and he will sit calmly as well. His hold could be better but it is what it is at this point with him.

Quote:
Will he hold a dumbbell in the front position?
Yes, he will.

Quote:
Then, can you call him to you from 6 inches, 12 inches, 2 feet away into the front while he maintains his hold?
I haven't done it this close yet, I may need to back some things up and try it closer to me like this. Anymore than 2-3 feet away and he will come to front but drop it.

Quote:
I like to teach this part of the retrieve "backwards" -- that is, start with him holding the dumbbell and letting you take it while he sits and then gradually build that until he will do a 20-30 foot recall from a sit stay holding the dumbbell. Get that before putting the retrieve together with the front and presentation.

While you are teaching this part, I take a break from the thrown part -- unless I am just working on teaching drive and, say, run away when he comes toward you with the dumbbell.
This could work! I am going to try it tomorrow! Thanks so much!
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:12 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think Christines exercises are a logical next step to the ones I posted....

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Old 12-30-2012, 03:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I agree - excited to work with him on this.

We will probably never trial together so we can and will take it slow. I just like him to continue to train and he enjoys retrieving so much that this was our next step in training.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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If dropping it before you out him is a problem, I'd heel him around with it in his mouth after he returns to you and randomly out him, not always in the front position.
I'd also use a #3 dumbbell, it makes chewing difficult...the dog tends to clamp down on a heavier one.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Jane - tried that, he will out it if I heel him or ask for another command... I think he needs to understand that he needs to hold it until I ask for him to drop it... he will shove keys and such at me and my cousin as well and drop them in our laps before we ask for an out. Probably us not being consistent with him as well.
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Old 12-30-2012, 03:36 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I know this sounds mean, but have you thumped him under his chin when he outs before the command? That tends to make it clear that he needs to hold it until you tell him to out.
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