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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The only way I've been trained to teach a retrieve is with the ear pinch. Zack and I have a special bond, and if suddenly I pinched his ear, he'd be horrified. He retrieves balls & toys just fine, so he does have the instinct.

I got a book The Clicked Retriever, but we aren't much further along than him putting the dumbbell in his mouth. We've stalled.

I really don't want to do an ear pinch. Has anybody trained a retrieve without one?

TIA!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
OMG. I put the dumbbell on the floor, did the click/treat for touches & soon picking up the dumbbell - all in one session
. We kept it short (10 minutes) and ended at a high note.

So many good tips! Loved the video. Realized that my jackpots need to be feed one at a time - not a handful.

We'll progress very slowly - a good retrieve is too important to rush. Thanks to everybody who replied. I've printed/bookmarked all of the references.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So excited about my success that I didn't reply to the other emails...

I learned the ear pinch 25 years ago when Koehler was the only thing taught around here. I used it on my first shepherd & she ended up hating obedience. Of course, Koehler isn't exactly the candy man.

I've been clicker training for about 15 years, and was lucky to have a natural retriever (flat coat) who never needed to be forced to retrieve.

I sometimes train with a club that eshews prong collars - but they pinch ears. Watched a sheltie, totally bewildered, getting its ear pinched to retrieve this little pint-sized dumbbell. Very very sad. I'd rather not show obedience if I had to resort to that again. Titles aren't that important. Just my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I, too, am getting good results without an ear pinch. Sometimes he gets a little distracted when I throw the dumbbell, but he's only 1.5 years old & we're light years away from an open ring. And in the end, I'd rather flunk than think I had to pinch his ear.
 
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