Dumbbell training tips
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Thread: Dumbbell training tips

  1. #1
    Dakkerdog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultDumbbell training tips

    I just got Moose his first dumbell. At home I was able to get him to take it and give it back, but at class he would not have anything to do with it.

    Does anyone have an article or website that has some good training tips I could refer to? My trainer thinks it was because he was in a new environment and was distracted - but we've trained in the same place for over a year. I would still like something that would give me ideas for a dog that doesn't have natural retrieving instincts - alternate ideas. I googled but didn't find anything that sounded unique.

    The good thing about Moose is that when he has taken the dumbbell he didn't mouth it. It is wooden and no marks from the few times he had it in his mouth.
    Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky

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  3. #2
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    DefaultRe: Dumbbell training tips

    YAY Moose for not mouthing the DB!

    Uh, if you can wait a few weeks, we start our Open class next Thurs!! I'll be happy to report back what we learn!



  4. #3
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    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dumbbell training tips

    What method did you use to teach him to take it?

    With Ruger I did a modified forced retrieve using the collar, not an ear pinch. To get him to retrieve it, or "take it" I would throw it, go with him to it, hold him up by the collar (by this I mean I put pressure on his collar, I did NOT lift him off the ground) and then told him to "take it" while releasing the hold on the collar. This basically forced him to dive for the DB and worked like a charm for us.

    Ruger is not a great retriever. If it's HIS tennis ball, he'll retrieve until the cows come home, but other things I've had to work very hard to get him to retrieve them.

    Keep on working at it. It takes a lot of time to teach all of these skills.

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  6. #4
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    DefaultRe: Dumbbell training tips

    It depends on what you want to do. We force-fetched using the ear pinch method (via Mike Lardy's field method).

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    patm is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dumbbell training tips

    Emilu had a nice natural retrieve, even as a little puppy. She would go get something, bring it back and drop it in front of me. But she wasn't a "retrieving fool" like some labs are. When we started training the dumbell "officially", we first started by getting the dog to "take-it". We did this by basically "assisiting " the dog to open their mouth and take it - didn't have to hold it, just take it in their mouth. Lot's of praise and treats. Then we went to "hold-it". Basically would have the dog "take-it", then say "hold-it" and gently hold their jaw up with a finger or 2 if needed. Once they would hold it and let go on a command "give", or "release", we had them heel while holding the dumbell , etc. I can't even remember how we did the actual "retrieve" part. Emilu didn't have much problem once she learned to hold it until I gave her a command to release it. But there are a lot of "take-it's" before you start retrieving. We would sit in a chair and have them take it from all directions, off the floor, etc. When I switched training places , my new instructor used the ear-pinch method. I didn't like the idea, did try it, and it just didn't work for us. Even though I'm not keen on the idea, I really think that it wouldn't have been at all good for Emilu. Another dog maybe, but not her. The instructor that I have now uses a clicker type training without the clicker. These people have been at this for a year at least, and most of their dogs are still learning to take-it and hold it - drives me crazy! I could never work that slowly! I'm glad Emilu learns things pretty quickly if I just show her what I want her to do. I could never do the type of clicker training where the dog "offers behaviors" and you reward for the correct one and after dozens of times you add a command, etc.

  8. #6
    Dakkerdog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dumbbell training tips

    Thanks for the input. When I got the dumbbell Moose was really excited and I was able to give it to him and then I just said "drop" as I took it. Not sure that is the right word to use either. We did this probably 4 or 5 times and every time he took it and held it nicely. But when we went to class he would not take it from me. If I threw it he'd go get it and then throw it in the air which didn't seem right. So I went to just getting him to touch it using the clicker to that he'd start to acknowledge it. This week I plan to try the take again and treat after he holds it - assuming he takes it. Was just wondering if there were other ways. When I was using a pencil to measure for the dumbbell I could not force it into his mouth. Fortunately I managed to get the right size anyway. This is just going to take some time - it has been a while since we have had something really new to introduce so it is a little daunting.
    Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky

  9. #7
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    DefaultRe: Dumbbell training tips

    You are trying to go to way fast. Plan on taking a minimum of 3-4 months to teach the retrieve.

    The first step is take and give, nothing else. This is done sitting very close up where the dog has no other choice but to take and give. When you say "fetch" or "take it" or whatever, you the want the dog to quickly move to take the DB out of your hand, you don't give it to the dog (only when you are first beginning do you help). Until this occurs, the dog does not truly understand fetch. Once the dog is doing this, hold the DB in your hand and put it closer to the floor (not on the floor yet) and tell the dog to fetch. When he understands that, you put the DB on the floor on your open hand, again tell the dog to fetch. Then put it on the floor with just your finger on it. Then put it on the florr at your feet but not touching it at all. Then you put it out about 1', then 2', etc. Then you can try tossing it.

    As you can see this is a very long process. Do not rush this. Yes this is a retriever but if you skip steps you will pay for it dearly in the ring.

  10. #8
    Dakkerdog is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Dumbbell training tips

    Thanks Lydia. I was just reading a article about Postively Fetching and it sounds like it is pretty much the same approach. I agree, I was probably going to fast.
    Sharon, loved by Moose & Sky

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