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Old 08-26-2006, 03:21 AM
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sourjayne sourjayne is offline
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Default Teaching "Drop it/Give" to a puppy

I mentioned this in another thread but it was in with a bunch of other questions, so I just want to focus on this one more closely.

I had mentioned that Louie loves to play tug -- the only thing he loves more is food. I want to teach him to drop/give an item in a way that's fun and easy for him to understand, so I can do it in short sessions with plenty of repetition.

There are three methods I know of: Trade the object for a treat, trade the object for another object, or just take the object.

Trading the object for a treat works great... once. After that first time, Louie is completely focused on the food, no amount of coercing or anything can get him to take a toy again so I can get him to drop it again.

Just taking the object is practically impossible without engaging in a game of tug that can last a long time, including picking him up off the ground by the toy so he's just dangling like a caught fish. I've tried just hanging on without tugging until he gives up, but he doesn't give up very easily at all, so it just takes too long, no chance for reps, and neither of us are really having any fun.

Trading one object for another doesn't seem to do much for him -- I don't see him making a connection that he's giving me one object and getting another, or getting a reward for giving up the first object. It's just an excited puppy brain going from one toy to another, no learning taking place.

I can't really figure out how to do it -- I'm just a beginner at training after all...
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:16 PM
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This may take longer but you could keep doing it the first way you mentioned just whenevery he has a toy tell him to "drop it" give him a treat then training is over. I am not really an excpert on this area b/c Lizzie will do the same thing once you do it one she is not going to pick the toy up again till the treats are gone or out of site and smell. So probably some one else will have better ideas than mine. Good Luck!!!!
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Old 08-26-2006, 12:35 PM
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I mentioned to you in the other thread, the idea of saying "enough!", and just holding, NO eye contact, don't acknoledge him, just hold fast. He should persist for awhile, but eventually will give up, sit back and look at you like "why aren't you playing anymore?". Then you say, "Good boy! Good give it!"

Take it and leave it is very easy to teach, and since he seems very food motivated, it's going to be a bit harder, BUT once he learns, you'll be happy with the results.

Take it/Leave it:

-Get his most favourite yummy treat, three pieces, in your closed hand. Say, in a low tone, ONCE "LEAVE IT". Than shuv your hand in his face. (closed first) He'll lick he may knaw but do NOT repeat and keep your hand there. If he stops, open your hand, he'll lunge for the treat, close your hand quickly, getting some whiskers or his tongue caught in your closing fist is OK, and will deter him even more.

-As soon as he gives up, or looks away, say "good leave it!", and then give him a treat, "take it".

Once he understands this part, so when you put your hand in his face and say "leave it", he turns his head away, you move to the floor.

PUt the treats on the floor, and cover them with your hands, "leave it". If he's not actively trying to get the treat, uncover it. He'll try to get it, cover it back up. DO NOT repeat the command. If he gets up to move away, that's perfect! Avoidance is great!

Take your time, reach to the ground, pick up one piece, inspect it then say "take it".

Once he's got the take it and leave it down pat, you can start using it with other subjects. I use it with human food, I could drop a ham and if I say leave it, my guys will run the other way! I use it on other dogs, garbage on the street, people etc.

Hope that made sense and I helped
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Old 08-26-2006, 02:25 PM
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The easiest way for me was - when they have the bone/toy/etc. in their mouth, grab the bone/toy with one hand, say "drop it or give" and with my other hand grab over the nose and lift up on the lips and/or teeth until they open their mouth and start letting go of the object. Eventually you get to the point where you don't need to do anything except put your hand under the object and say "give or drop it".
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:07 PM
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LabBreeder- The whole point of the excercise is posted, is likely comparable to the method Red told me to use with Roxy while teaching the retrieve.

The reason it works SO well, is because the dog has to figure it out on their own. They alone have to find out what is going to get them treat.

With the method I posted as well, it teaches the dog "avoidance", to move AWAY from the object, not just to drop it. And with that method it's easier to transfer it to other thiings, not just things in their mouth. Like dogs, food that you drop, pills etc.

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Old 08-26-2006, 09:39 PM
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Yeah, I'm trying the hold on until he gives up method, but I was hoping to find something that would work a little quicker so he could get more chances to learn (more reps). It takes him a long time to give up, partially because he's really good at engaging the tug action -- if I'm not tugging, he'll back up from me until there's tension!
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Old 08-26-2006, 10:34 PM
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Have you been engaging in eye contact at all?

Speaking to him?

The most important idea of this method, is avoidance on your part as well, ignoring him.

It's no fun to play with someone who doesn't look at you darnit! LOL

With most commands, you only want to say it "once". Repeating it only looses it's value.

Is he responsive to your voice tone?

Perhaps a stronger tone of voice, more stern would help with an immediate drop.

Other than that, I'm sorry, but my only advice would be to work on the leave it/take it with the food, until he's got that downpat. Than begin transferring it to other objects like the rope.

Sorry
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Old 08-26-2006, 10:51 PM
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Quote:
The easiest way for me was - when they have the bone/toy/etc. in their mouth, grab the bone/toy with one hand, say "drop it or give" and with my other hand grab over the nose and lift up on the lips and/or teeth until they open their mouth and start letting go of the object. Eventually you get to the point where you don't need to do anything except put your hand under the object and say "give or drop it".
I would not recommend forcing the dog by manipulating his mouth. Some dogs develop object guarding aggression this way. Some do not.

Tug of war is a great game. It can be a bonding (cooperative killing) game between partners. But some rules must be in place first before playing tug. You should never get into a struggle over the toy or allow the dog to hang onto it when you've taught and asked him to give.

So, before you play more tug games....

The rules are: the dog must have a prompt "out" or "give." (decide what cue you will use and always use the same one) It must be reliable and immediate. This should be taught before any tug of war games.

Your dog doesn't want to "take" the object after he's had a treat, right? It's OK....you can make the gesture of giving it to him by placing it before him. Just let him get the idea that he has it, then you get it, then he has it, then you get it. Use your cues, "give" "take" (or whatever you use) while you're giving and taking so he can learn the association. You can also try making the object come alive (prey drive) especially if you use something like a rope toy that wiggles and jiggles and squirms along the ground to entice your dog's prey drive. Play around with it till he forgets about the treat and let him get hold of it. Then again, "give." When he lets go, give a treat. If he doesn't let go right away, hold the treat in front of his nose. Then make the trade. You don't need to do too many repititions all at once. You can do a few several times a day. And remember, even the gesture of giving it to him by placing it right in front will help.

When you have the toy, if he leaps up or grabs it uninvited, this is also against the "rules." If he touches you with his teeth, game over. Walk away. This rule must be absolute. Dogs can get carried away when they get bigger and they MUST have this rule imbedded into their brains. No exceptions, ever.

So, when you have taught all this, and you go to play tug of war, if he does not give immediately, even if you hold a treat in front of his nose, (which doesn't sound like a problem with your dog) you can make the toy go limp...no active movement from you with it. If he doesn't let go quickly,
you can spin on your heels and walk abruptly away. Game over, isolation for a couple of minutes. (a great lesson)

Tug of war is a great reinforcer for training session breaks. It's something you can do to break up the obedience lesson and make as a reward. It is also a good idea to take obedience breaks inbetween tug of war games. That should be a "get back into control" situation from this high drive game.

I would practice some low key playing first.

Rules again:

Dog must "out" on cue.

Dog may not take or retake toy until invited to do so

frequent obedience breaks

zero tolerance of accidents. (teeth on any part of you or plowing into you)
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Old 08-29-2006, 02:05 AM
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sourjayne sourjayne is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roxy's CD View Post
Have you been engaging in eye contact at all?

Speaking to him?

The most important idea of this method, is avoidance on your part as well, ignoring him.

It's no fun to play with someone who doesn't look at you darnit! LOL
OK I tried this, and you're right, he did stop playing... but the only trouble is if I'm not looking his way, I can't see when he drops it, so I can't figure out how to put it on cue.

Quote:
Is he responsive to your voice tone?

Perhaps a stronger tone of voice, more stern would help with an immediate drop.
I disagree -- he doesn't know what the word means yet, it doesn't matter how I say it, right?

Quote:
Other than that, I'm sorry, but my only advice would be to work on the leave it/take it with the food, until he's got that downpat. Than begin transferring it to other objects like the rope.

Sorry
I'm not sure how "leave it" will help me teach him to drop it while playing tug or fetch. I am working on leave it, it's much easier to teach than drop it, but I also want to teach drop it so we can play tug and fetch.

Guess what -- I did make one development in this process -- I found out he'll play fetch (and tug, which is part of his fetch ritual right now) with a rubber bone, which I can take out of his mouth without lifting him off the ground! He can't get as good a grip on it as he can with a rope toy. So that's something!
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We live in Seattle.
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  #10  
Old 08-29-2006, 02:15 AM
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You gotta use your pereferials (sp?) ROFL.

Don't look directly at him, but you should feel when he lets go of the toy.

And reward right away.

Tone does matter, tone is a huge factor. I can tell Hades he's a bad bad boy, but if I say it in a fun happy tone, he doesn't know the difference. And vice versa. If I say he's a good boy in a stern, authorative tone, he'll most likely become submissive, ears back, tail between his legs.

Leave it works very well for things like dropping toys. The whole point of leave it is avoidance. I can use "leave it" or "drop it" on my guys. The only difference is when I say "leave it" not only do they drop it, but they'll move away and come to my side. With drop it, they'll sit and stare at it, waiting for me to throw it again, or invite them to play! LOL
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