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Old 06-15-2010, 11:05 AM
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Kalyxa Kalyxa is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Default Training Drop It with an unmotivated dog

I've been having some issues with my dogs about dropping things. Things they should not have, ever. With toys I can call them over, hold the toy, and ask them to "Give" and they give it up. I cannot make them drop the toy from a distance.

If they're eating their food I can do anything I want, put my hand in the bowl, order them away, whatever. So that's no problem.

My problem is when we are walking them on the beach they pick up every nasty, rotten, fish carcass and other types of garbage and scarf it down at record speed. If I catch them before they pick anything up I can say "Leave it" and they just walk away. However, once they have it... we start this irritating little dance. Herd them into the water, wade in, pick the most disgusting things out of their mouths, and move on. Or if I have treats I'll call them over and just "trade." We get the stuff away from them about 50% of the time. If we yell at them and they spit it out we do praise them like crazy.

I know I have to train them "Drop it." Where I get hung up on is the process. Everywhere that I've read involves a "trade" where you give the dog a toy and offer a treat for that toy. That works for my dogs the first time. After that though, they won't take the toy. They know I have food, why would they want to play? So I end up with this leashed dog, a packet of treats and a toy, all ready to go, but the dog just sits and stares at the treats. Lola will take the toy the first time, happy and excited. I offer a treat and she drops the toy right away, I take the toy away and she gets praise. Great. The next time I offer the toy she just dodges it, looking around it at where I have the reward. Chewy doesn't typically hold things anyway, so even the first time she'll take the toy and then drop it at my feet. Sorry for the long post, I just wanted to be detailed. What do I do?!

P.S. Oh, and lately, on the beach, the first time they grab something and don't give it up I just put them on a leash and they're done with free running for the rest of the walk.
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Old 06-15-2010, 01:09 PM
Maura Maura is offline
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Work on having them catch treats. Some dogs are not good at catching, but they will get better. I find that they first have to know what you've got, because they want to sniff before taking. So, hold the treat (chicken wing is good, dependent on size of your dog) for dog to sniff, take a step back, use your cue "Fido, catch", and toss the treat right to the dog. You get the idea. The catch treat is always good. Use high value items, meat.

When you go out into the world, practice catch use high value treats. First plant some things on beach that he'd be interested in. Keep dog on leash or long line, you should know how close you have to be to get your dog's attention, his zone of obedience. When he picks up the forbidden object, use the catch cue and see if he doesn't drop the dead fish for the meat treat. Praise mightily while shortening the leash and pull him toward you a couple of steps to get him from the object. Use leave it to keep him from getting it a second time. An icky dead fish is a high value object, so you want to start him on a lower value object before he finds the dead fish.
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