Hold, Grab - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 06:55 AM Thread Starter
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Hold, Grab

Goal is to teach Hold an object in his mouth without chewing it.

Started breaking it down in steps, go to the part where he would grab it / mouth it, but that turned right into him thinking it was a chew toy.

Any thought on how i could just have him hold it in his mouth without thinking he has to gnaw on it ?

Tom
Zach / Zoey Nov 13 2010
*RIP Kayla waiting for me at the bridge.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 10:19 AM
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I taught my GSD to "hold" as part of her retrieve exercise.

When I first started, I would just touch her muzzle with one pointer finger, say "hold," mark and treat, then touch with both pointer fingers (one above/one below her muzzle), mark and treat. Apply a little pressure with both fingers, mark and treat.

Over time, I would open her mouth (without an object), mark and treat. It eventually led up to me putting an object in her mouth, closing her mouth, with my pointer fingers applying gentle pressure, say "hold," mark and treat. If she tries to chew it, I just gave her a negative marker, then mark and treat when she holds it for a few seconds without chewing.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 10:28 AM
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Wait: I just saw your avatar after writing all the below stuff. How old is your dog? This shouldn't be started (formal hold) before the dog is 9-12 months and is mature enough and you have a good bond with the dog, just FYI.

I would work a lot on holding before grabbing.

Holding is something the dog needs to understand first.

The way I taught it was with a wooden dowel.
At first I gave lots of help. Place the dowel in his mouth and hold it there for a second with both your hands (firm but gentle). Then give the release and lots of food reward. That should take 1-2 sessions.

The next step is to let go of the top hand only leaving the bottom hand for support and to encourage good holding. Always praise while the dowel is in the mouth and he's holding good. At this point, he has no way of failing because of the support but that will be removed soon.

The next step as I did it (this is from Ivan Balabanov's tapes):
Next we correct the dog whenever it drops the dowel. If he's holding, praise. Eventually he will drop it. Simply calmly give a light thump under the chin with a "NO" marker and calmly place the dowel back in his mouth. He may tense up but that's ok. This thump shouldn't be hard enough to hurt the dog, it should just be unpleasant.

And that's enough to get started. Once the dog understands that having the dowel in his mouth is safe and he's safe as long as he holds it (safe meaning it's a safe place to be, like he knows he will never be corrected with the dowel in his mouth) you can start working on firmer holds by (for example): popping the dowel out of his mouth when he's holding it loose, giving a thump, and placing it back in his mouth.

That's how I got started. If it works for you let us know when you reach this point and we'll talk. Otherwise, I'm sure other posters will post different methods that worked for them - there are many methods: shaping with or without a clicker, e-collar methods, etc etc and I'm sure others can chime in
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 11:18 AM Thread Starter
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No worries - Zach is 16months, smart, eager to learn & quick to pick things up. Only thing holding him back is me & if he could i am sure he would thump me on my head to get it together.

I started this couple weeks ago but he wanted to mouth whatever i used, put it all on the back burner so i didn't confuse him with what i wanted of him.

Thanks we will work on that, then progress to the grab.

Tom
Zach / Zoey Nov 13 2010
*RIP Kayla waiting for me at the bridge.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 11:31 AM
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Here is a nice set of video's training the retrieve, the beginning is the hold sequence:
Clicker Retrieve - YouTube

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 04-06-2012, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
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wow - good set.

thanks

Tom
Zach / Zoey Nov 13 2010
*RIP Kayla waiting for me at the bridge.
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