Re: Teaching to hold and carry
The hold, to me, is just part of the training and can be taught separately or with the other training. It fits right in with what you're doing, but I think that you kind of skipped over it (maybe) and went right to the "pick up and give to me".
I teach the hold along with the initial part. I do all of the "look at, touch it, mouth it, take it" training as described in the previous thread, but at the "take it" level I work on holding it for longer and longer periods of time, and I add in the "hold" command. I make sure that the dog understands and consistently complies with the "Hold it", to the point where the dog can hold it for a minute or so without spitting it out. At that point I may work on adding in a step - giving the dog the item, using the "hold it" command and then walking the dog forward a step while urging/praising the "hold it" to continue. I only expect one step initially, and when that is good I can ask for another step and gradually build to the point where the dog will carry the item around for me.
You could continue to use the wallet if you want. You could also choose to use something else. If he's consistently taking the wallet from your hand, you could work on having him take various other items from your hand - or you could work on the hold - or you could work on both, with the hold being done with the familiar item and the other being done with whatever you want to use.
You know, for me it really depends on the dog and how they're working for me. A dog with retrieving instinct already will be easier to push through the various retrieving concepts and I might work them on take and hold with various items pretty quickly. A dog with little retrieve instinct (like my chows), I tend to stay with one concept and spend a LOT of time rewarding it before moving on. That's how I made Khana so solid in the retrieving. She couldn't care less about retrieving (rarely plays with toys, and usually if she picks up a toy its to bring to me and toss in hopes that I'll give her treats - which I usually do, since I am a well-trained human .. *L*). So for her I really had to build a strong base, and then broaden that out slowly to encompass all the other concepts of retrieving (picking up different items, like metal/cloth/wood; pulling items to me that were too big/bulky to carry (like a pair of pants); going to various items at a distance; and retrieving thrown items - mostly doing this in hopes of competing in open with her someday).
My GSDs were always good at carrying things for me - my first GSD carried a little flag throughout an entire parade! - but my chows don't enjoy it much. It's not a natural behavior for them. GSDs overall tend to like to carry around toys, sticks, etc. so it's usually easy to develop that behavior.
Does this help answer your question? *L* I don't think you did anything wrong, just may have skipped over some things.
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