Working with Ike on the "Hold" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 09:15 PM Thread Starter
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Working with Ike on the "Hold"

This is where we are right now in our retrieve training. Mostly working on getting a good solid hold and getting him to move around freely with the dowel in his mouth. The teaching of the static hold took awhile but I think he's starting to get the idea.

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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 11:26 PM
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That looks great Jason!! Ike is doing really well!

Training question...Do you find that Ike gives you more problems holding the dowel when he has it further back in his mouth? I noticed on the one side shot that he looks like he prefers to carry the dowel in the back. Someone once told me to try and teach the hold right behind the canines because they were less likely to chew. I was wondering if that was true for you?

By the way...maybe you could get an electrician in to check the wiring on that off switch? (He looks like a LOT of fun!)

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-06-2010, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
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When I put the dowel in, I try to put it right behind the canines and have him really clamp down on the dowel but his problem right now is with panting. Once he starts panting, then he seems to want to carry the dowel further back (maybe to keep his mouth open so he can keep breathing through his mouth). I don't know ... I need to teach him how to breath through his nose. I don't know if panting is viewed to be the same as chewing - but once he starts panting, the hold predictably starts to break down.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 11:40 AM
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Nice!!! Super foundation for a good, calm, solid hold! His OB will be a joy to see when you get to trial with him. He is just so happy and eager to please you.

I'm a bit surprised that you let him drop the dowel for the tug? One thing that I'm careful with when I dog dowel/Dumbell work, is that I never let my dog drop the dowel/dumbbell. Of course, in the beginning, they sometimes do, but not because I want them to. If they do drop it, no big deal, I pick it up and try again. They have to hold, and release when I tell them to. I use "give" for a command. I trick them too by putting both hands on the dumbbell, but not ask for a give, so they have to hold until I do say give.

I just wonder if letting him drop the dowel for a reward, if later on that would give you issues? Never tried it your way, so don't know.

Love the last little bit!!! too cute, and very much like a certain sable that I know, LOL.

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 11:51 AM Thread Starter
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Lucia, I was thinking about that. The marker word I use is "Yes". I use it as a terminal bridge/marker so it's also his release word. That's why you see when he hears the word "yes", he drops the dowel. If he were to drop to dowel before I give me the marker, then I would say "no" and go immediately to put the dowel in his mouth. So he does know not to drop it until given permission. My plan now is to start bringing out his reward (food/tug), wave it around while he is still holding the dowel and proof him against it so he understands when he can drop the dowel and when he can't. I've seen it done both ways, with an "out" before the marker/click and without. I think Denise and Liesje, who have both posted videos of training the hold with young dogs, do it without ... although the way I taught the hold with Ike is different than the way Denise did with Malakai and Lies with Nikon (my was a mandatory hold as opposed to a free shaping hold)
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 12:04 PM
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I don't have sound on, I didn't hear the Yes, but that makes sense too! Ike seems to really understand the hold at this point, probably won't have any issues to bring in the longer holds.

Funny though how each dog learns best in a different manner. I was getting a lot of trouble getting Gryff to open his mouth and take the dowel. I was using gentle force, but didn't want to push it, and he was dealing with the stress by tuning me out. So I changed tactics.

I called Keeta over and started doing dowel work with her, spitting wiener bits at her as a reward. Gryff was pushing his way in, wanting to be part of the fun, but I kept pushing him away, turning my back to him, fussing over Keeta and what a great job she was doing. So finally I turned to Gryff and held the dowel out to him, and he took it in his mouth (wasn't holding it yet, but openend his mouth and put his mouth on the dowel), looking at me with a hopeful expression that he was doing it right! Of course he was, and he got a wiener bit too! Sometimes a little competition for attention can do wonders, LOL!

Lucia


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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 12:27 PM Thread Starter
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It's funny how each dog learns differently.

I knew I wanted to go through the process of teaching the retrieve myself and not just have a forced retrieve put on him when he is older - so I started researching and asking people about how to teach it and everyone told me the easiest way is free shape it with a clicker. Well, people who recommended that have obviously not met Ike because Ike is about as un-operant of a dog as they come. Give an operant dog a puzzle and he will try something and if that doesn't work, he will try something ELSE. Give Ike a puzzle and he will try something and if that doesn't work, he will try the same thing AGAIN, AGAIN, and AGAIN until he works himself into a frenzy (that or he will just try to eat the puzzle ...).

So after weeks of getting nowhere with freeshaping, I changed tactic too and used Ivan Balabanov/Michael Ellis method of just sticking the dowel in his mouth and hold his big mouth shut with my hands and then gradually over time lessen my hand pressure against his muzzle (and marking/rewarding him for any tightening of the jaw muscle) until he was hold the dowel by himself. And if he drops it, immediately put the dowel back in and start over. Just basically telling him: "I know you don't like it, but - guess what - you have to do it." That method worked so much better with Ike. I think it was a relief to him to be told what he needs to do with the dowel. He was like: "Ohhhh ... so that was what you wanted me to do with the wooden stick. Why didn't you just tell me that from the beginning?"

Some dogs are problem solvers ... some just follow orders

Last edited by Jason L; 08-07-2010 at 12:33 PM.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 06:33 PM
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I really appreciate you taking the time to produce the video and the thread discussion.


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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-07-2010, 07:05 PM
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Ike is an awesome dog you have done an amazing job with him!! I like his crazy mode too,lol reminds me of my crazy girl and makes me feel better
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 08-09-2010, 08:40 PM
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I'm a bit surprised that you let him drop the dowel for the tug? One thing that I'm careful with when I dog dowel/Dumbell work, is that I never let my dog drop the dowel/dumbbell.
When I trained Nikon, dropping was OK as long as the dog was marked/clicked. In this situation, that mark/click ends the behavior. Since my dog was willing to drop the dumbbell to earn the reward (and I've never had problems with him dropping it prematurely) I started saying "aus" and taking it pretty quickly just for the fact that I already have joint problems in my toe and a dowel constantly dropping on it is painful. But, there were several times when *I* didn't catch it and I would not hold that against the dog. I did not do "drive building" FOR my dowel (like backtying the dog or playing tug with it) and we never had issues with outs with retrieves so I may just be lucky there but we added that in pretty quick. I entirely freeshaped my retrieve by backchaining and it took over 4 months from the dog touching his nose to the dowel to the dog doing his first retrieve on the flat and I don't ever recall having a dumbbell dropped prematurely.
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