How do I teach my dog "hold it"? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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How do I teach my dog "hold it"?

My 7 month old boy will "take it" just fine. That is quickly taking an object I present to him in his mouth, but he will quickly spit it out and look for the treat. How do I get him to hold the object longer (so I can get him to learn how to retrieve objects, carry bags etc.)?

~Lee
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 03:54 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog "hold it"?

I have taught the same thing but would like to know what you asked too
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 04:14 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog "hold it"?

I'm not much of a clicker trainer, but this is an excellant area for it.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2009, 08:43 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog "hold it"?

Okay .. this is what I'm doing with Tazer. I wouldn't be quite so hands-on with a really sensitive dog, perhaps, but this is not really harsh in any way.

She knows "take it" (I use a dumbbell for training). When it came to hold, she tended to let go of it easily, so when she would take the dumbbell I would immediately drop one hand below her chin, in a fist position with my thumb up, and then bump her chin lightly to encourage her to keep her head up. While I was doing this, I praised constantly as long as the dumbbell remained in her mouth - and I only gave it a few seconds initially before saying "YESS!" and taking the dumbbell out of her mouth. The "YESS!" is how I mark the behavior - you could also click at that point. I want the behavior marked WHILE the dumbbell is in her mouth, not after she lets go.

I quickly grab the dumbbell because once I mark the behavior, she knows that she doesn't have to continue and then she'll drop the dumbbell, but that's okay. I've marked the right behavior. They have to figure out that holding it is what gets the treat, and that's tough when they've learned that letting go of it is when the treat is presented.

As we practice, I gradually increase the amount of time for the hold - I continue to gently bump under the chin, but I try to do it as little as possible because that has to be phased out (the more you depend on it, the longer it takes to fade it). I continue to mark the holding behavior and rewarding, just at longer intervals.

I also tend to play tug games with my dogs that encourage them to grab on hard and hold on hard - to the point of actually playing tug WITH the dumbbell with some dogs. I wouldn't do that if I had a dog that hates to let go of things, but with my young chow I've played tug games with the dumbbell in order to increase her desire to hold tight (she's not a natural retrieving dog). And I've used lopsided dumbbells - weighted heavier on one side - to encourage dogs to hold tighter. Lopsided dumbbells have to be held tightly or they shift in the dog's mouth.

Melanie and the gang in Alaska

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 12:23 AM
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Re: How do I teach my dog "hold it"?

The way Melanie taught it is how I taught it as well. I would place my hand under Abby's chin if it looked like she was going to let go and bump it gently while saying "HOLD" then mark the behavior if she held on to it and praised her (but didn't give a treat), then ask for the item ("give") and click and give her a treat for that.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 08:45 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How do I teach my dog "hold it"?

Thanks for the tip Melanie, I'll give it a go and let you guys know how well its going. If only he'd hold onto to items I give his as naturally as he hordes things he's not supposed to have...::sigh::

~Lee
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-08-2009, 06:53 PM
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Re: How do I teach my dog "hold it"?

*chuckling* .. Lee, we ALL have that problem! Give my dog a bone and it's a tug-of-war trying to get it away .. hand her the dumbbell and she's trying to spit it out! But persistence has won out overall, and now I get a good hold on the yucky items, and a good "let go" on the yummy items. It's all a matter of finding rewards that are better than the dog's desire to do something else, and putting those rewards to work for you. My dogs love their treats, love attention and the shepherds love toys too so I have a lot of options.

Looking forward to hearing how it goes!

Melanie and the gang
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