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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 10:37 PM Thread Starter
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Sch I Dumbell

What is the best way to introduce a 21 mont shepherd to a dumbell?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 11:01 PM
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Does he play fetch? I think the problem most people have is the hold ( no mouthing )and the release of the dumbell.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 11:28 PM
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I backchained the retrieve, first using a clicker and food, then using a ball once the dog understood the hold and bring. I did not even use a dumbell at all until the dog could do the entire thing. We started with a piece of PVC and then someone gave me a wooden dowell. You have to take it really slow, if you rush it you get problems that can be hard to fix. There's many ways to train it but my dog doesn't have a problem holding calm and he always liked to fetch and bring toys in to me so I didn't have to do a forced retrieve. I would have a good plan and picture in your mind of your method before you start. The details will depend on your dog and which behaviors you emphasize. So far the retrieve is the most complicated thing I've trained, and that's even with a dog with a lot of food and ball drive who had no problems holding calm and firm from the beginning.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-17-2010, 11:58 PM Thread Starter
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Good advice. I always forget to take it slow. I put the dumbbell in her mouth but did not force it. I was attempting to use food as a reward, but you are right start slow. I saw a dog being forced to retrieve and I want to avoid that if at all possible. Thanks!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 08:57 AM
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I agree with Lies having done 2 dogs with retrieves and getting ready to start a 3rd (and having made plenty of mistakes along the way!).

Start with the hold. I also agree to start with something other than the dumbbell. You want all your mistakes and any corrections to be with something else. I've seen people use PVC, PVC wrapped in vet wrap to make it less slick, wooden dowels, wrapped wooden dowels, tugs, and balls all used as the object to teach the hold, depending on how you're doing it. Which depends on your dog. Also agree with back-chaining. Start with the hold, I have my dogs sit, down, fuss, when I'm starting to proof the hold. The more comfortable they are about holding in a variety of positions the less trouble we'll have when I bring in the dumbbell. Once the hold is solid I'll start asking for a front from increasing distance. The very last piece is throwing the dumbbell.

A high drive compliant dog can almost always be taught a motivational hold with the clicker and shaping. When reworking the hold on my first dog I had to go back and do a modified forced hold to get rid of some major chewing. It wasn't brutal and once he understood the hold, I was able to go back and be completely motivational again on the rest of the retrieve. Once again it will depend on your dog.

You can build the retrieve behaviors for sitting, going out, and coming back with toys.

The retrieve is probably the most important thing you will teach you dog and to teach a good reliable one takes a long time and lots of steps. But it's a HUGE amount of points. So take it slow, get all your pieces right before you introduce the dumbbell. The clearer you are able to make it for your dog, the easier it will be.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2010, 03:24 PM
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This website has some helpful information on introducing the dumbbell:

I've just recently introduced my dog to the hold. We're starting using positive motivation, very slowly, but so far seems to be working pretty well!


Heidi Die Eitle Prinzessin,TR1, BH, CGC, TC - 06-16-06
Lucas Maly Medved, CGC - 08-27-08
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-21-2010, 09:44 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the website. I will take a look at it.
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