How to get 3 month olds to retrieve
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Thread: How to get 3 month olds to retrieve

  1. #1
    texas1992's Avatar
    texas1992 is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultHow to get 3 month olds to retrieve

    I have two brothers that are 3 months old. One is black and the other is yellow. I take them outside at separate times and work with them in the yard. They have sit and stay down pretty good but now I am trying to get them to retrieve. The yellow used to retrieve but since I started using treats for training even he has stopped retrieving. The black just wants to party and eat treats. He is going to take a lot of work.

    What can I do?

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    slackercodemonkey is offline Senior Member
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    Make your training sessions short. Always always stop your training sessions before your dog wants too.

    Don't throw objects that far away. If you dog isn't retrieving something when you toss it a couple feet your dog isn't going to when you throw it fifty feet.

    Make sure you are the most exciting thing around when training. If there are other dogs butt's, children at play, etc your dog will generally not want to retrieve.

    Use two objects. When your dog is coming back with one, toss the other one.

    When your dog gets the object in their mouth turn your back to them and walk or run away. Use chase to get them to retrieve.

    MAKE RETRIEVING FUN!

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    Below is a post I've frequently posted to questions about how to teach retrieving; hopefully there's something in it you'll find helpful.

    ================================================== ==============

    Many people assume that a Lab should retrieve automatically, without training.

    While SOME Labs do, probably the majority need some training to retrieve.

    Chasing after a moving object is native and instinctual for almost all dogs but the bringing it back to someone and giving it up is not, so that part of retrievi ng usually needs training.

    However, for many Labs, once they learn to retrieve, it's often the thing they most enjoy in life and they often have an endurance for fetching far greater than that of the arm of the person throwing the object.

    That's not bad because most Labs need a lot of daily vigorous exercise to be docile and civil. "Fetch" is a wonderful way of meeting most of those needs.

    However, a few Labs become too obsessed with retrieving and need to have limits imposed.

    And a very few get EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) and become weak and shaky; this is a genetic fault of a few Labs and was investigated by a consortium of US & Canadian Vet colleges. The Labrador Retriever Club's website has a section on this (behavior, symptoms, recommended treatment) if you're interested.
    Teaching to retrieve --

    For a puppy, if you have a blind hallway, you can start by rolling a ball or toy down the hall toward the blind end. The pup will run after it and has no choice but to come back to you. At that time, praise, and exchange a treat or a bit of kibble for the ball/toy along with more praise. (It's helpful to pre-measure your pup's next meal and use some of that kibble for treats. That's a help in not over-feeding.)

    Repeat 2-3 times. ALWAYS QUIT WHILE IT'S STILL FUN AND INTERESTING TO YOUR PUP/DOG.

    I didn't have a blind hallway and we used a 25 foot/8 m. kite string tied to a rubber toy dumbbell.

    We went out in the front yard and I'd throw it in first one direction, holding on to the bitter end (i.e., the non-toy end) of the line. Puff went after it and when she picked up the toy, I reeled back both Puff and the toy she was holding, praised her, and gave a treat in exchange for the toy. You might also say, "__(name)__, Give!" at the time you're offering the treat and getting the toy delivered to your hand. Then you'll be teaching another VERY useful command: ("Give!").

    I threw it in a different direction next time. Repeated as above
    .

    You do need to vary the directions you throw it and the locations you use because young dogs can easily (too easily) become site-specific in their learning.

    E.g., a woman 8-9 years ago on JL complained that her Lab would retrieve when she sat in a particular chair in her living room and threw a toy from there but would not retrieve any place else. When you vary the locations and directions it helps them easily learn to generalize.

    ALWAYS KEEP THE RETRIEVING FUN, NEVER WORK.

    If your pup's enthusiasm starts lagging after 5 trials, drop to 3 or 4 the next time you try it. If it lags after 3 trials, drop to one for awhile until the interest and enthusiasm builds up.

    If you train just before normal feeding time, your pup's motivation for food will be higher and pieces of kibble exchanged for the toy will have greater reward effect.

    As your pup learns to retrieve and enjoys it, you can gradually increase the # of trials.

    When you switch from fetching a toy to a training dummy, I prefer the 2" x 12" Lucky Dog (brand) vinyl training dummies. I've found them cheapest at gundogsupply.com's website -- roughly $4 @.


    Last edited by Bob Pr.; 07-29-2013 at 06:42 PM. Reason: update price
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    texas1992's Avatar
    texas1992 is offline Junior Member
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    Thanks for the advice. My problem is that when I introduced treats for when they successfully retrieved a dummy then that was all they could think of. They wanted the treat. They would go out to the dummy but instead of picking it up they would start searching for a treat and then come back empty handed.

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    It's a bit much to expect drive and work ethic from a 3 month old puppy. Keep the training light and fun and brief and let them grow up a bit.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

  8. #6
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    My problem is that when I introduced treats for when they successfully retrieved a dummy then that was all they could think of. They wanted the treat. They would go out to the dummy but instead of picking it up they would start searching for a treat and then come back empty handed.
    Then you need to modify the procedure until you get the desired behavior.

    For instance, scheduling the training session after a meal or after eating 3/4 of a meal might help -- or possibly you're using TOO desirous a treat?

    Are you using a small piece of the usual kibble or whatever your dog gets for its usual meal? That's what works for most dogs.

    Or are you using something fantastically desirable to them, like balls of raw hamburger or dollops of ice cream?

    If it's TOO desirable, then use something still desirable but less so.

    Your dogs' behaviors is telling you something: that something is interfering so it's making a (usually) workable procedure go wrong.
    So modify what you're doing until it works right. For example, if offering treats doesn't work no matter what you do
    (training after meal times, or using smaller OR less desirable treats) then try using effusive praise and petting of your dog as its
    reward for each successful retrieve.

    Learning always takes place when a particular response quickly brings a reward to the creature --
    them, us, whoever and whatever. The quicker and more consistently some desired reward follows
    that particular response, the quicker and better the learning.


    That's unchangeable.

    The response you want is your dogs learning to retrieve.

    Figure out what's the reward that works for them that leads to establishing the learned retrieve response.

    ETA: Are you working with one dog at a time? Where's the other dog when one dog is retrieving?


    Last edited by Bob Pr.; 07-31-2013 at 03:53 PM.
    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    BigBrownDog is offline Senior Member
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    Not dogs, Bob. 3 month old puppies.
    Sharon, Blaise and Diesel.

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    texas1992's Avatar
    texas1992 is offline Junior Member
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    Great advice! I have had plenty of labs before and trained most of them. However, this is the first time I have trained using treats. I have always used praise. I do know that the treat is VERY desirable to the puppies. What the hell, they smell good to me :0). I do train them separately. I leave the other one in the house while I train the one. I keep the sessions under 5 minutes. It is interesting how different their personalities are. I see this as I train them.

  11. #9
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    Not dogs, Bob. 3 month old puppies.
    Thanks! Good point. 3 months age, for many puppies, may very well be too young. Many? some? may be too
    bubbly active and distractible.

    And, I think that "under 5 minutes" could be w---a---y __ t---o---o __ l---o---n---g for this age puppy. I suggest
    you limit it to 2 or 3 repetitions at a time until it becomes more of a fascinating game to each pup. (You should
    never repeat it until the dog is beginning to lose interest. You need to stop while the pup is still feeling
    "More!" "More!" "More!" )

    If you have a blind hallway, you might try taking just one pup (the other one being out of sight, out of mind) to it,
    holding it momentarily while you begin rolling the ball toward the other end and then let it go while the ball is still
    rolling (a moving object usually triggers a dog's desire to chase).

    If this works, then say something like "Fetch!" when you release the pup.

    If it brings it back -- great!

    Give lots of praise and petting. (At this young age, don't do many repeats -- maybe only 2 or 3 a session?)

    If the pup goes after it but does not grab it, then try a toy tied to a kite string so you can pull it back. That will
    almost guarantee your pup will grab it as it's moving. So give the praise to your pup when it returns and you take
    the toy.

    Sharon is right -- 3 months is young and possibly too young for some Lab pups, maybe yours.

    If so, mark your calendar and then try the toy and string (in a hallway if you have one) with one pup (the other one
    out of sight to avoid distractions) again after another week's age. Then try this once a week, no more than 2-3
    repetitions, until the pup seems to be getting the idea of the game. Then you can up it to every other day and, after
    awhile, daily.

    Then you can try the training I recommended.


    BUT -- ALWAYS KEEP IT FUN FOR YOUR PUP.


    Hope this helps.

    Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]

    Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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    nicole is offline Senior Member
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    First off, what is your goal for retrieving? An exercise outlet for them? Hunt tests or actual hunting?

    I don't use treats for retrieving at all... retrieving is the reward! I praise like crazy and tell them how good and smart they are when they bring the bumper/toy/bird back, but no food items.

    Your other battle is you're not as fun as the other puppy, and I'm assuming you let them play with each other. In training two puppies, the best thing you can do is separate them A LOT! Then take them out one at a time and start with short throws with a toy (bumper) that they only get to see while doing this training. When they bring the toy back, make a big deal out of it... talk to them, pet them, etc but don't take the toy right away. When you do take the toy, rev them up (ready, ready, ready) and toss again....

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