Re: how to teach dog to get objects and bring them??
If you want a dog that is consistent with retrieving, you really need to teach a structured retrieve (starting with the very basics and working from there). Most GSDs have a natural retrieve instinct, which helps, but if you just do a play retrieve it doesn't really teach the dog to bring you things consistently when asked.
There are different methods for teaching a structured retrieve. Many old-style trainers still use an ear pinch (forced retrieve). I've found that there is a better method, a more motivational method, that doesn't involve much force. I use it on both my GSDs and my chows successfully.
The first step is to teach your dog to focus on an item. You need to choose an item that is NOT a toy for your dog. A training dumbbell is good, or you can just use a piece of doweling or 1x1" wood - you just need a specific item that is not viewed as a toy so that the dog learns the difference between play time and work time.
Once you get your item, you are going to teach her to look at it. Yep, that's the first step - simply to acknowledge the item by looking at it. Put her on a leash (you can be sitting down, that's easiest for this part of the training anyhow, and you can sit on her leash to free up your hands) and have some good treats with you. Since she knows how to sit, you might ask her to sit in front of you to help with keeping her a bit more focused. Now, hold the training item out slightly to your right (in your right hand) and look at the item. Keeping YOUR eyes on the item will help her understand that she needs to look at it. She probably won't look at it right away, but keep a smile on your face and continue to gaze at the item. If she doesn't glance at it after 15 seconds or so, you might bounce it slightly or change it to the other hand. As SOON as she glances at it (the tiniest of glances, even if she looks away again) you mark that behavior with a happy "YESS!!" and then give her a treat.
Let her finish her treat, ask her to sit again and repeat the exercise. While your eyes should be on the item, watch her with your peripheral vision so that you can see the exact micro-second that she glances at the item, and say "YESS!!" immediately when she does. The timing of the "YESS!" is vital - it needs to be right when she does the proper behavior - and the praise and treat can follow that even if she's stopped looking at the item. The "YESS!" marks the proper behavior.
Pretty soon she should be deliberately glancing at the item, once she figures out that looking at it gets her the reward. You want her to consistently glance at it regardless of where you hold it - to the left, the right, above her head, below her head. Plan on this taking several sessions spread out over a couple of days, at least. Each dog is different, but if your timing is good it shouldn't take too long.
Once she's consistently looking at the item when you hold it out, you want to make her escalate that behavior. Set her up for the session as normal, do one mark/reward for glancing at it, and then hold the item out again. This time when she glances at it, you do NOTHING. You stay silent and remain looking at the item. What you want now is to have her either glance at it again (requiring TWO glances or a sustained look) or to make a movement toward it (which many dogs will do at this point). You've raised the criteria and are now expecting a bit more of a reaction, and by withholding the "YESS!" when she first looks at it, you're pushing her into trying something more in order to earn the reward. Her slight frustration at not getting a reward will make her escalate her behavior. When she does the second glance, or holds her gaze on the item, or moves slightly toward it, mark that new behavior with "YESS!" and continue to practice that behavior so that it becomes consistent.
The next step is to get her to move toward it consistently, then when that's well established she needs to mouth it. Each of these steps can be accomplished by withholding the "YESS!" and waiting for her to try something new. Once she's mouthing it consistently, she needs to hold it a tiny bit, and then hold it more, etc. Once she's holding it, you can add in a "hold" word if you want.
Once she's understanding hold, and will willingly take an item from your hand and hold it for you, you start to lower the item down toward the floor. At first you may only be able to go an inch or two below chin level, but gradually you work it until you have it on the floor (with your hand still on it) and she'll pick it up and hold it for you. Then you have to wean your hand out of the picture, which can be difficult for some dogs. Set the item on the floor and lift your hand just an inch away at first, and gradually move your hand farther and farther up. If you try to go too fast, she'll stop working for you (because she's confused and doesn't have a solid enough previous step established). Go back and make sure each step is solid before moving on.
If you can do 3-4 short sessions (maybe 4-6 repetitions per session) per day, you will probably see some fairly quick progress. But take your time on each step - even if she seems to pick it up immediately, you really do need to make sure the basics are solid or later on she will probably crumble due to not truly understanding the exercise.
Once she's picking up the item for you, you can start changing out that item with other things. You may need to back up at first and do a quick reward for looking at it, touching it, etc. (because when you add in a different item, you completely change the exercise for your dog). Eventually she will understand that your "take it" command means anything you indicate, but at first she will associate the commands with the training item and will have to learn how to move past that.
My dogs have been a lot of help for me when I've been laid up and unable to do things. My chow (who is also my working Service Dog) brings me a number of things, including clothing, shoes, books (small ones), box of crackers, things I drop (from pens to papers, even a calcium tablet I dropped one day). She was taught with this method.
Good luck, and if you take the time to train this right you will always be pleased with the results!
Melanie and the gang in Alaska
Positive 1ST! More reward, less correction makes a GREAT trainer.
Chows: Khana CD RE SD & Dora NA NAJ GSD: Tazer SDIT
Total of 2UDs 3CDXs 12CDs 2REs 8AgilityTitles 1BH Chow!
20 Yrs Training/Teaching Experience