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Discussion Starter #1
I'm training Frank for Open and he's catching on to everything really well except the dumbell. At first he was just having trouble with the retrieve on flat he did it, just insisted on always carring the dumbell by the end, no dropping it just held it by the end. My instructor said that sometimes dogs with longer noses needed bigger dumbells to be able to scoop the dumbell up by the bar instead of the end. The one I was using was a plastic dumbell (3 in end, 3in bar) that belonged to my BC.
We tried several different dumbells at her place and decided to go with a 3.5 end with a 3.5 bar so I bought a cheaper wooden one instead of the plastic, since I would have to special order a plastic one that size, which is more expensive, till I could see how he did with it.
Long story short it's been a month and he won't have anything to do with the wooden one. Last night my instructor showed me how to do a forced hold with it, if I have to go that route I will.
I would love any suggestions anyone has, could it be just that fact that it's wood and not plastic, and the size really doesn't make a difference and I need to go back and work on the hold with the plastic one at least he likes it, or do I need go the route with the forced hold on the wooden one? I can't think of any other area where he would have to hold wood the utility articles are metal, leather and gloves that he would have to pick up.
He loves to retrieve other toys in fact that's how he gets alot of his excersize, the retrieve of bringing the toy back sitting in front and giving it to me he has down pat. so I really want to transfer that to the dumbell.


Sorry if this is long, Thanks for any suggestions.
 

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I train Schutzhund with my boy and I had a really hard time with him in the beginning as well. What has worked best for me and quite a few others in my club was teaching the retrieves the way that Michael Ellis does. He actually has a video about it that I used. How did you start the training the retrieves?
I started with a pvc pipe about 8 inches long and taught my dog to hold it. I had to hold pressue on his mouth to hold it closed in the begginning but he learned that part very quickly. Then I gradually transitioned to him holding the wooden dumbell. Not sure what you have to use in your sport, but I used a Schutzhund 1 dumbell. Once I had him hold that for an extended period of time, id have him hold it and then walk a few steps towards me. Then worked on a full on recall with the dumbell. And then I eventually placed him in a sit with the dumbell in between myself and the dog, and told him to bring and he just picked up in it. I gave him a few cues obviously like tapping on the dumbell itself to encourage him to pick it up. I also never ever reward if he holds it too loose or from the side or something.
To practice, I have him hold weird, random objects on a daily basis. I want him to feel comfortable holding the dumbell, so I figure if I can have him hold a water bottle or a sock or anything, then the dumbell should be cake :) I also make him carry his training treats to the counter at pet stores. Lol. Abything to kinda "bomb proof" him.

Hope that helps. Check out that video by Michael Ellis. Its good stuff!

And sorry if there's tons of typos. Im on my phone lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks I'll check out the Ellis video.
Frank has always retrieved anything I threw he would bring it back and hold it till I took it, till I tried the wooden dumbell, I was trying to get his hold more correct on the bar instead of him picking it up by the end, that's why I switched to the bigger wooden dumbell instead of the smaller plastic one.
 

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Dianne Bauman has a good DVD out on retrieves. She also covers it in her book "Beyond Basic Obed." Her method is the one I've used with all my dogs. She breaks it down into simple steps. The DVD is good because you also see the dogs who have no desire to retrieve and how to handle it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks I'll look her's up too.
 
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