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Old 07-27-2006, 02:20 PM
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Default Shaping the hold/retrieve HERSCHEL

To start you will need an object that is very easy for the dog to grasp and hold. I use a dumb bell. You could use a properly sized dowel or other sort of retrieving dummy.

If you use a piece of doweling, cut it about 8" long.

Get ready MANY MANY pieces of some reallly tasty sort of bait, cut into small pieces.

You will also need something to mark the behavior with. Some people use a clicker. I use the word "YES!"

Make sure you have something cool to drink, and something you like on the TV.

Sit in your favorite chair, with the treats nearby, and the dowel, or dummy, or dumb bell held between your knees. Wait for the dog to come close to the object. Set a target distance of say, 6". When the dog reaches this target distance, mark the behavior, and treat. Make sure you give ALL rewards so that the dog must touch the bar of the dumb bell to get it.

The dog will, guaranteed, approach this area again sooner than later. Again, mark and treat. Mark for looking at the object as well. If the dog happens to accidentally TOUCH the object in any way, JACKPOT the dog, by praising a LOT and giving a handful of treats all at once.

If the dog takes too long to come towards the dumb bell, reduce your "criteria".

Mark and reward any time she comes towards you, or looks at the dumb bell.

You want to find as many reasons to mark and reward her really fast in the early stages as you can. You can then RAISE your criteria, and the dog will work to find out what makes you "click".

Every so often, say, for example, every 3 or 4 "marks", take a break from this activity by tossing a treat across the room for the dog to RUN towards.

Next increase your criteria for the behavior by requiring that the dog touch the object to get a marker. Once the dog gets to this point, things usually progress quickly.

Keep this training up ONLY as long as the dog is interested in playing. This varies from individual dog to dog.

Once the dog understands that touching the object gets him a mark and a treat, wow, the game is on. This becomes SO MUCH FUN for the dog, because he feels he is controlling his rewards. (And in a way he is, isn't he?)

Then once again, you withhold when the dog touches the object. NOW you want the dog to touch or lick the BAR of the dumb bell. When a dog reaches a new level and moves up this behavior closer to what you are looking for, you can JACKPOT the dog again.

As you practice marking behaviors and rewarding like this, gradually increase your criteria until the dog is holding the object as you gently release your knee pressure.

Don't rush through these basics. Get the dog holding the dumb bell reliably before you move on.

Use NO negatives. An exception is a very gentle, mild plain voiced "ah ah" if the dog needs a bit of help away from some behavior you don't want.

When you get to the point the dog is firmly holding the object, you can then start placing it on the floor near your feet.

Now all this time about every 3 or 4th reward, you've been throwing a treat for your dog to run out for. Did you realize you were going to LINK this running after the treat behavior to the dumb bell?

Once the dog is picking up the dumb bell from the floor, and happily delivering it to your hand, you can start gently sliding it across the floor and rewarding the dog for fetching it. Most dogs RAPIDLY progress to running and fetching things you throw with delight.

The last 2 dogs I trained using this method were RUNNING and fetching by the end of the 4th session.

Bored this weekend? Too hot to play outside?

Try this with YOUR dog and see how long it takes for the dog to actively fetch. Big Grin

A HUGE benefit of this sort of training is that dogs once they learn this, can easily be taught to hold and carry almost anything.

Shopping bags.

Bank bags.

Baskets with goodies in them.

Etc. Big Grin
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Old 08-02-2006, 04:30 PM
Herschel Herschel is offline
Top Dog
Join Date: May 2006
Location: East Central Illinois
Posts: 3,303

Thanks so much!!
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Old 08-03-2006, 06:06 AM
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Toaster Toaster is offline
Big Dog
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: DFW, TX
Posts: 111

{Toaster raises hid hand wildly as he is a complete idiot and in his best arnold horshack voice asks} What does "mark" mean to do exactly?

ROFLMAO: Bank Bags... Do you guys remember that show in the 70's where they trained the dogs (dobermans) to rob banks with dog whistles!? (god, I think I just severely dated myself ) Doberman Gang I think it was called!?
DOB 09/03/05 : A male miniature short haired Dachshund named Stogie
What else do you name a CIGAR shaped dog?

Want to see a Video of Stogie? Click his picture
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Old 08-06-2006, 03:28 PM
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MomOf7 MomOf7 is offline
Evil Kitty taco eater
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WA.
Posts: 3,437

I wanted to help a little and add this.
Hard objects are harder to use for training hold or fetch than soft ones.
Paint rollers, or bumpers are soft and much more comfortable for the dog.
Here are a few examples of bumpers
Rubber bumpers

Canvas bumpers

I would use canvas if you dont like the paint roller idea.
TBPC~Fine I have been befriended

Where am I going? And why am I in this hand basket!!!?
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Old 08-09-2006, 05:12 PM
thoughts_refracted thoughts_refracted is offline
Puppy Dog
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Minnesota
Posts: 55

Tibbetts and I just had our first session working on this. Right away he grasped that I wanted him to touch the object. Within three or four minutes he would wait for ten seconds and then bump it with his nose. Before long, he was putting it in his mouth. We got to the point of him holding it and then stopped. We worked for about twenty minutes total and he was doing great. He is now curled up in his basket, worn out from all the hard work.

Thanks for posting this. If you ever feel like posting things like this again, they would be really appreciated.
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