No. I am a dumbell about dumbells. I did train Arwen to retrieve it, that was about eight years ago and it was kind of a compulsive thing that was suggested. I did not like it, and she did not. We did not do good with it, and I would never suggest anyone else teach a dog like that. (No, I did not pinch her ear, but it was suggested.)
If I had to do it again, I would play ball with the dog, fetch or whatever word I would use in the ring. Then I would get really really good with the ball, and have her sit in front, and teach her to wait, and give it.
Then I would repeat with a squeaky toy, until with the same words she would do the same thing.
Then I would do the dumbell. I would only practice with the dumbell a few times and then go in the ring with her. I think I would teach her to go over the jump with the large squeaky toy. And then sub in the dumbell. I would get really excited and pull out the squeaky toy and throw it a few times when she does it really good.
That is what I think I would do, I never did this in the ring yet though. Maybe someone has a better way or can find flaws in what I would do. And as I might go to that level with one of my up and coming dogs, I would be interested in this.
He has insane ball drive, and will retrieve over the jump with no trouble at all, but he dosent like the dumbell. My wife has been working with him on just picking it up which he only wants to grab the ends. Its very frustrating. I will order some DVDs on the subject before we screw him up. There are a couple trials coming up in september if I can get him ready. Probably biteing off more than I can chew.
For the dumbbell and training a retrieve, Adelle Yunk's Totally Fetching is a pretty good video.
If your dog is not liking picking up the dumbbell, but is a fetching/retrieving fool when it comes to toys, I would suggest making sure the fit is correct with the dumbbell. If it is too wide and slides around, he may not like it. If the bar does not sit high enough off/away from the ground, causing him to bump his nose, he's going to try to pick it up where his nose doesn't get smushed. It may be the bar is too big or too small in diameter...
There is a bit more to think about when a dog won't or doesn't like to retrieve one particular object.
Adelle's video outlines the steps, progressions and errors most make pretty well
I clicker trained the dumb bell retrieve. I bought a plastic dumb bell and when I first showed it to him, he had no interest in it. We did it in baby steps and I made it fun and exciting, so he actually enjoys doing it and he's not one that played fetch naturally.
I taught the jump separately and I was working on the retrieve on the flat. The jump was nearby and when I threw the DB, he went and got it and he chose to go over the jump on the return! I was so thrilled and he was just so proud of himself.
I liked these youtube videos:
Also, I found out that my dog likes the wooden DB's better than the plastic.
Congrats on the titles!
A friend of mine taught her dobie to hold a dumbell by sitting in front of her and placing it in the dogs mouth then taking the dumbell out and treating. She gradually increased the amount of time she asked the dog to hold it. (this same dog is now ranked as one of the top 20 dobes, but boy did she hate the dumbell at first)
I've been lucky on my dogs they all love the dumbell, I have an old one that Frank has carried around and retrieved since he could pick it up as a pup. I'm hoping it helps when we get to the dumbell work, but first we have to conquer the CD.