How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell
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Thread: How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

  1. #1
    Scout and friends Guest

    DefaultHow do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

    Hi everyone

    Can I get some tips on getting Scout to take the dumbbell in her mouth and hold it.* She's resisting.* At class last night the instructor said put food on a spoon and say "take it" when she opens her mouth to take the food off the spoon.* Then put the food on the center of the dumbbell and do the same, "take it" when she opens her mouth to go for the food.

    She's trying to lick the food off the spoon, so I'm not sure this is working out as planned.*

    The instructor did say that labs often don't fall for this one so it might come down to just opening her mouth, putting the dumbbell in, holding her mouth shut for a few seconds - gradually lengthening that time.

    I'd appreciate any help.* Other than that it's going really well.* Love the class I'm in.*

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  3. #2
    YellowJakesMom's Avatar
    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

    I don't do dumbbells or anything with Jake, but he will "take" most things I put toward him ro send him to. (I frequently make him carry my waterbottle for me when we're walking for example.) I taught him with a rope toy first.

    He really likes tug of war games, so that's is why it worked. I'd give him the command "tug" and we'd pull getting him all fired up, then "give" and take it from him. He'd be so pumped to get it back and play again I'd toss it at him and say "take it." Gradually we reduced the toss to a handing the item to him (at first just handing it back he wouldn't hold it, when he caught it he was proud of himself) and phased out the tug of war at the beginning, and now I can say "take it" and point to a stick or toy, etc. on the ground. We're still working on getting him to hold my keys for me, he doesn't like the metal I think.

    The key for us was to get him really jazzed about the item I wanted him to take. I still use my super high this-is-the-most-exciting-thing-ever! voice when I tell him "take it!" I think it was Linda who said one method she used was to hold the dog away from the dumbell and give the command to take it but not let them at it until they were really rearing to go - that wouldn't work if she doesn't know what you mean by take it yet though.

    The food didn't work for us either, Jake just licked it off then went looking for the open peanut butter jar Again, I don't compete in obedience, so this may not work at all for teaching dumbbell retrieves. Does your dog like tugging games or catching balls or anything like that?

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

  4. #3
    YellowJakesMom's Avatar
    YellowJakesMom is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

    Forgot to add that Sunjin had a bunch of pictures of her dog Taylor (I think?) holding things, she might have some good ideas too - I don't know how often she frequents this section and I think she's out of town, you might PM her - she's very helpful

    Only after the last tree has been cut down, only after the last river has been poisoned, only after the last fish has been caught, only then will you find that money cannot be eaten. - Cree prophecy

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  6. #4
    patm's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

    This is why I wouldn't be a good obedience instructor - I already can't remember how I taught Emilu to do this (and probably did it "wrong" anyways) I think that I pretty much opened her mouth and put it in and said "get it". I know that we taught "hold it" separately. Teach them to "get it" and praise when they open their mouth and take it. When they are taking it pretty regularly start "hold it" by having them take it, then hold a couple of fingers under their chin and make them "hold it" a few seconds. Having Emilu "hold it" well took forever. As a puppy she would retrieve anything for us ,come back and drop it politely at our feet. I thought it was great! Then I had to teach her to hold it until I said "give it". Took a long time.

  7. #5
    Scout and friends Guest

    DefaultRe: How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

    A little background.* Scout's 2.5 years.* She was diagnosed with MPL in both knees at 10 mos.* Surgery on the right knee was at 1 yr, left knee at 2 years.* Between those surgeries, we did conservative mgmt for a while to see if we could avoid surgery on the second knee.* In the end it needed surgery.*

    So Scout hasn't done a lot of retrieving - it just wasn't possible with the surgeries and then rehab.* I think the old "use it or lose it" principle applies here.* She doesn't have a strong desire to retrieve a ball or bumper.* We do it daily now though, in hopes of building that up.

    Scout knows "take it" with her dinner - she has to wait for my go before eatting.* I should have been using that command with other things, not just food.* She's not quite sure what take it means with toys or balls.* So that's another thing we need to work on and clarify - take it doesn't just mean eat your dinner now or take the treat, it means take the thing I'm pointing to and put it in your mouth.

    I cut banana into chunks and used a fork instead of a spoon - to get my instructors suggestion to work.* Scout has a few favorite toys so I'll use them for "take it" too and see if I can clarify to her what the command means.*

    I'm really pleased with how much she remembered from the classes we went to before and between surgeries, but we have some gaps to fill in.* It's a lot of fun though, great to be able to work with her and not worry about the knees now.

    Thanks for these suggestions.* Keep them coming.

    Pat - that's basically what my instructor did at the class.* Opened Scout's mouth and closed it down on the dumbbell - held it shut for a few seconds.* Big praise afterwards.* She said to try the food on a spoon trick but don't be surprised if Scout doesn't fall for it - most labs she's worked with don't go for the "food will trick you into doing this", not with the dumbbell.

  8. #6
    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

    Will she pick the dumbbell up at all?

    With Ruger he would "take it" but would not "hold it". For the life of me I couldn't get him to hold it. Holding his mouth closed over the dumbbell set us back in training about six months (he does not like to be forced to do anything). Finally, one day just sitting watching TV, the idea came to me to tell him to "Stay" instead of "hold it". I asked him to "take it" which he did, and as soon as he had picked it up I yelled "Stay!" And he FROZE, and held it until I said OK!!!! And that was that, and now he will take and hold it

  9. #7
    Kzunell is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: How do I get her to take and hold the dumbbell

    I am just now training this very thing. Started about 3 weeks ago. I place the dumbbell in her mouth and hold mouth shut and say hold. After a few seconds praise and after a few more say give and praise even more. Gradually increase time till you have about a minute and your dog really understands what it is being praised for. Then you are ready to introduce the correction. Place DB in the dogs mouth and then place your hand (closed fist with thumb folded into hand. If the dog then drops the DB then pop up under the chin with your hand. It doesn't have to be a hard pop and you have to make sure that the DB has cleared the dogs mouth before you pop him. you don't want to correct while the dog still has the DB in its mouth. If your dog doesn't drop it after a few seconds say give and take the DB and praise your dog for being the greatest dog on earth. You will then gradually increase the time to a couple of minutes with the dog in a sit-stay. Then you start moving your dog by not giving the stay command and gently encouraging you dog to walk on leash. Don't give a formal heel comand as you don't want to have to correct your dog for dropping the DB when it is doing its best heeling pattern ever. You can gradually increase the distance and introduce some short jumps and distractions. Gradually increase the proofing.
    My other dog loved to hold things and I would fold my end of the leash into a bundle and have her hold it so she cold take herself for walks. Or I would have her take other dogs for walks. Or even have her carry my wallet etc.. This is also a great thing to teach a dog that barks alot as it is really hard to bark and not drop what you are holding in your mouth.
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