Time for the fun to stop being fun?
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Thread: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

  1. #1
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    DefaultTime for the fun to stop being fun?

    Our little "Non-retriever update"

    OK so for those of you who know about Ruby's retrieving, or lack thereof...you'll be glad to know that for whatever reason, Ruby will go promptly to the dumbell now and return it to my feet. Quite quickly and with her usual Ruby animation style.

    So now we're getting to the point where as my trainer says 'let get down to business, this can't be FUN forever.' I need her to sit at my feet with the damned thing smartly in her mouth. But how do I do that without spoiling the fact she is actually NOW going and getting the chunk of wood with umph and pizzazz (and reliability!!!)?

    If I force her to hold, she shuts down, so what I am doing is rewarding her when she lets me take it from her mouth, no reward if she drops it.

    Should I start calling her front to a sit, and only reward her when she sits in front with the thing in her mouth and not when she drops it?

    Open to any and all suggestions, this one is frustrating for me because the peeps we train with can be somewhat harsh, and don't understand how far she's come just enjoying the dumbell. I don't want to lose that.

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  3. #2
    3TailsWaggin's Avatar
    3TailsWaggin is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    I disagree with your trainer. I'd keep it as upbeat and fun for her that you can. Yes, when she comes back to you, ask her to sit in front and hold it for a second, then have her give it to you. It will come. This stuff is not easy to train. It took Ruger forever to learn the dumbbell retrieve. I never thought he'd get it. But I didn't push him and we did keep it fun. And he did get it in the end

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    lcspt is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    Separate the pieces of the retrieve. You have alot of parts ......... the sit, wait, mark, fetch, come, sit, give and finish. Work on parts of it without putting it all together. In the beginning I didn't require Kona to front after a retrieve just be near enough to give. You can also have her hold it and heel with it and do random sits and gives when you are doing that. You can also do close up take it and sit in front with it and give.
    "In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden

    Linda, Kona and Bo

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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    Quote Originally Posted by lcspt
    You have alot of parts ......... the sit, wait, mark, fetch, come, sit, give and finish. Work on parts of it without putting it all together.
    We're good up until the sit, give and finish. I let her get as close to me as possible (by backing up) and I reach down and take it, reward her and start again.

    If you'd have seen her a few months ago, you'd never have thought...I can only attribute this to Taylor, my friend's new puppy, who has taught her the zen of toys. She never wanted to PLAY with anything, now can't get enough.

    So how do I start to lure her to a sit? Should I praise a sit, even if she's dropped the dumbell, and only treat when she has it still in her mouth.

    I backed up a bit tonight, put her on a lead and made her do fronts with it in her mouth, and her whole demeanor changes, and I still can't get my hand off of her bottom jaw...so I didn't push it...

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    lcspt is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    I assume she knows front without the dumbbell, right? If she does I would have her sit and then place myself in the front position and tell her to take the dumbbell from you there (the dog staying seated) and have her release the dumbbell to you after one or two seconds and slowly build her time.

    Another way that someone showed me to teach the hold was to sit the dog in a corner facing out and to straddle the dog so his shoulders are between your knees. Then you place the dumbbell in their mouth and hold it in place and stroke their neck with the nose pointed up. The stroking has a calming effect and the position doesn't allow for escape.

    You could also work on hold with other objects if you are worried that she will stress too much at first and later do the same exercises with the dumbbell.
    "In moments of joy all of us wished we possessed a tail we could wag." W. H. Auden

    Linda, Kona and Bo

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    patm's Avatar
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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    Emilu was a very good retriever before we "learned it" for obedience. She would go get it, come back and drop whatever it was in front of me. I thought it was great! But then she had to learn to take it from anywhere, and hold it until given a command to release it. We first did "take -it", then when she was taking it reliably, we started on "hold it". This was actually pretty hard. Emilu is pretty soft and doesn't do well with anything she thinks of as "harsh", so I had to be very nice about the whole thing. I would just put 2 fingers under her chin, say "hold it", make her hold it very briefly and then say "give" and reward her when she released it.It took quite a few "chin holds" to get her to hold it until I told her to "give". It actually helped to have her heel while holding it. She was more likely to hold it while walking with it, than sitting with it. This was all before actually throwing it and having her retrieve it. That was the LAST thing we did.

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    ObedienceLabs4Me is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    Melissa, I would do basically the same thing Linda told you. I separate all the parts into individual pieces. I train each piece separately before I put it all together. I still work on fronts with the bell, each article and glove without the retrieve part. I would emphasise the hold part and reward the sit, even if it is not straight initially. That part will come. Break it down to the smallest pieces you can.
    Susan
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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    You know Ruby and have to do what is right for her.

    That being said, I disagree with your trainer about it not being fun forever. Gabby is force fetched - which was not a fun process- but she freaking loves it when the dumb bell comes out. It's just mandatory fun.

    To me it doesn't really sound like you've got a sit-finish-give problem. It sounds like you've got a hold problem. IMHO if she's dropping it at your feet, you need to go back and work on hold until she's solid before adding other elements.

    The other thing- I like Pat's two fingers under the chin thing. We also in the very beginning put a buckle collar on Gabs and a leash. We looped the leash so it was underneath the dumbbell and her chin- ie, if she started to drop the dumbbell you could pull up on the leash (not loose the dumbbell all the way) and say "no, hold it) and fix.


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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    I'll try to get a video of what's happening at class this week. I think it will be easier to understand! If I do the front with my hand under her chin, she totally rests the whole weight of her head in my hands and if I remove it, then she drops the dumbell. We're doing very short fronts, very few times, because the command hold changes her body posture.

    We'll see if Steven Speilberg is available to come and shoot what is happening...

  12. #10
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    DefaultRe: Time for the fun to stop being fun?

    Quote Originally Posted by gabbys mom

    To me it doesn't really sound like you've got a sit-finish-give problem. It sounds like you've got a hold problem. IMHO if she's dropping it at your feet, you need to go back and work on hold until she's solid before adding other elements.
    I agree. People tend to rush this process before the dog fully understands. Go back like Linda and Susan said and work the parts individually. Make sure especially that Ruby understands she MUST hold UNTIL you say release. If she doesn't get this part, don't try to add the retrieve until she does. The retrieve takes a really long time so take your time. It took a really long time for Murray to understand this and he is a natural retriever. When I say long time I'm talking 4-6 months (I've tried to block the exact amount of time out of my memory ).

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