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Discussion Starter #1
Hogan seems to be feeling better so today I did a bit of training with him.

We are working on the retrieve. He has the concept of the hold pretty good. He will clamp down and resists efforts to dislodge it. I still occasionally reward the good "hold" behavior because I want that to persist.

He will go get the DB and bring it back. I have not started to build a lot of drive into it yet. He is not a natural retriever in that he is a natural "possessor".

Today I decided to work on back chaining the behavior. I am trying to make the last part of the behavior the most rewarding so that he will strive to get to that last part. I sit him and place the DB in his mouth. Then I back up and call him front a short distance. He is rewarded for the coming front presentation. Once he is there I reward and even do few short ones from there so the rate of reward is high for this last part.

Does any one else do this? Any other ideas?
 

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I generally start training the formal retrieve not too differently from what you have described. How are you rewarding him (e.g. spitting food to him after the out)? Does he like the toy more than food? My current SchH dog wanted to chew the dumbbell a little in front so I tried not to build any prey drive towards the dumbbell.
I also backchained the entire retrieve, including the hold, with compulsion (prong & e-collar) before feeling he was ready to trial. My club TD helped me to compel a calm hold with the e-collar in the finished retrieve with the toy exchange for a reward.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I currently reward with food. We haven't perfected catching the spit food yet.

He has good drive for the toy(better than food), but I have not added that to the exercise very much at all... a few times. I plan to use the toy to build drive for the DB.. I usually tease with the toy, get drive high, throw DB and then reward with toy. Flinks stuff, I think. But, I was trying to get the whole behavior pretty good before I did that.

Previous dogs, I have added compulsion to motivate and clean up the retrieve once the basics were known. This dog is 15 months old. I think I am going slow with him. Not sure why. I just feel he will come right along with compulsion but I wanted to wait a bit for maturing on this exercise.
 

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Samba I already shared this with you, but here is what I think is a great video on back-chaining a retrieve.

I know it is still floating around youtube, but I cannot find the link so I will link to it on my website:

Back Chained Retrieve Video
 

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Oh that was not me, wish it was.

This video came out of Germany a few years ago, either the dog or the handler is named Isa. It is no longer on their club website, but is still out on youtube. I grabbed it and copied it. :)

She does have a ball under her chin, though.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am going to do that picking up on the way in next, like in the video. I like that step. Except Hogan is not that fast. But I haven't added the toy. The toy seems to make it harder for him to learn the behaviors in the beginning.
 

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I like the little drop of the dumbbell she did right as the dog came into the super close front position.
 

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I like the little drop of the dumbbell she did right as the dog came into the super close front position.
The handling on that video is great to watch, it's why I keep it around and re-watch it all the time.

I have only done ONE retrieve that was not old fashioned force, and that was a Balabanov style retrieve. Great hold, great speed, BUT I lost speed on the way back. Granted, this is a young dog and the first real time his retrieve was "put together." I have video if anyone wants to see it.

My husband, however, has done 2 or 3 motivational retrieves, including his current dog which was back-chained.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Hogan is young and green on this exercise. He is not fast on the return. The dog in the video is breaking the sound barrier compared to him. Some of this is related to the type of dog that he is, I think. He is not a weedy speedy guy generally. I don't have labels for the types of dogs, but he is not terribly excitable in this obed stuff. He does have drive. I have to admit that I haven't added so much toy motivation to it because I am old and really value my body parts. This retrieve is going to take some time.

I love these flying dogs who come back for fun tugging. Hogan is not so much that. He uses everything he has to pull me down or overpower me in "the game". Fun game for me... not.
 

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I completely backchained Nikon's retrieve. Once the take and hold was proofed (as in, I don't move on until the step before is *perfect* to me), I started the return part by having the dog sit in front maybe a foot away, take the dowel from me reaching out, and then come in just that foot. Slowly I added distance. When I couldn't reach any farther, I would put the dog in a sit-stay, then set the dowel between the dog and I propped on some soup cans (to always encourage the dog to scoop it up and bite in the middle), and then command him to take it and come. Then I added more distance, and experimented with where the dowel was placed in the space between the dog and I.

I trained the take and hold with clicker and food. For the steps described above I switched to a ball for the speed and focus. I kept it under my chin. That can be risky and I had one close call!

I never did drive building for the dumbbell or tugging on the dumbbell. Clicker training a really calm, solid hold came pretty naturally and I didn't want to jeopardize that. The drive is for the ball, but now that it's been a while I can do all three retrieves without rewarding or having a reward in site and I still get the same speed. In fact if I toss the dumbbell and hold the dog's collar for longer than he's used to waiting, he will start to whine and bark.

I still bust out the ball and use it to reward various aspects. If I'm working on return speed, then I will simply take the dumbbell as soon as the dog is back and drop the ball immediately, so he is marked and rewarded for the speed. If I want to do more proofing of the hold with focus, I'll let him return and sit there for 5 seconds before taking the dumbbell and rewarding.

video of his very first formal "retrieve" lesson (he shows some stress and you can see him throwing other behaviors like shake and down, lol):
Clicker Hold on Vimeo


building the "hold" with the clicker and food:
http://vimeo.com/8828070


more hold building but switching to the ball reward:


building the hold and starting the "bring":


doing the work on the cans:


Here's the most recent video of the retrieve (over a jump), which is not very recent and he's more polished now:
Untitled on Vimeo


I will not have the flashiest or fastest dog on the planet BUT he has always been super consistent. No problems with any part of the behavior, and his speed going out and coming back is the same.
 

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LOL! I didn't want to use the actual dumbbell until the entire behavior was finished. That was the best thing I could think of to train him to pick it up off the ground, but always in the middle. When we eventually moved to the dumbbell there were no issues with him picking it up and holding.
 

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Really good work, Lies! And I am so glad you documented the process at various stages. I think on the web only you and Louise Jollyman have videos showing the clicker retrieve from beginning to end. Immensely helpful!
 

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Here is DH starting to back chain the grab and bring to front of the retrieve with his Malinois. He switched from food to a toy at this point, after clicking the hold for food.

Retrieve
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Another good video clip. That is the point I am at in the training. I will try to add the toy to see if it inspires a bit more "umph" to the work.
 

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Thanks, I was inspired by the first link Michelle posted, and by watching Denise's videos with Kai. Had to try it myself. I had a few things going for me though: Nikon has always been a natural retriever, I do a lot of clicker training with freeshaping so he understands that type of training and readily "throws" behaviors rather than just sitting there and getting stressed, his first inclination is usually to bite/taste something so getting him to take the dowel happened right away (you can see on the video, that truly was his first session), and he's so crazy for the ball (for some exercises, TOO crazy) I could use that to my advantage getting a really fast return and good speed overall.

The hardest part was getting him to hold it. Once he held on, I very quickly could add time, or proof it by me moving around, tugging on the dowel, etc, but getting him to take it and not want to drop it right away took a few sessions. Once he held it for one second, he quickly progressed to holding it indefinitely.

This is the complete break down...
http://www.dutchbingo.net/personal/How to Backchain the Formal Retrieve.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Adding the toy did help, though I lost some skin and clothing to the monster dude.

, I have looked at this process before, but you can really relate to the info when you are in the midst of teaching it.

How do you get them to come in so close to the body? I have never really aimed for this since mostly I do AKC and I don't want to lose points to any bumping. So, I would like to get Hogan closer without bumping... he tends to sit out. I always don't want to fuss with him about it in the midst of the retrieve work so as not to screw with his excitement for that.

Funny thing is, I have the two rescues retrieving like mad but Hogan not so much. It is always this way with me when I think of a pup as being "special". lol
 
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