The retrieve exercises are 40% of the points in a Sch trial. I am working on that right now. It is one of the things that I have just not spent enough time on and it is certainly not proofed.
We backchain the whole sequence of learning the dumbell retrieve. Actually we don't teach it as a retrieve at all. The problem with throwing a dumbell and then expecting them to run and bring it back as a game is that it is purely a prey exercise, then. In this case typically what you will see is the dog brings it back much slower than he goes out to get it. Also not taking it seriously, hence the chewing and screwing around.
We start off with the front position, and use a wooden dowel (has to be very hard wood) or 1" plastic pvc pipe with a string attached to it. The dog first learns to take it and then maintain the front position with the dowel. a second person yanks on the string attached to the dowel. if the dog is not holding it securely it comes out. He then gets grief in the form of low level e-collar stimulation until he re-grips. The dog learns to not let go. It then progresses to the dog going out and getting the dowel and bringing it back. There is low level stims until the dog brings back the dowel to the front position. We then progress to a break away dumbbell. My training director, Lance Collins invented this. He allowed Schweikert to produce and sell it (they marketed it as the LC dumbbell). Gappay also copied it and from what I understand makes a better one than the Schwiekert. This process can take many sessions to get to the point where you can proof it.
In this process also a second handler is using a long line to invoke the reverse response in the dog, to increase willingness to be in the correct position and to increase speed, precision and power in the exercise.
Several years ago Lance did a 3 day seminar on just the retrieve, so I do not expect anyone to get much from the little I have written.
Always interesting to hear different techniques. Although it is obviously a very simplified run down, there are very many similarities in this to the method/sequencing that my trainer uses. She typically uses leash pressure vs ecollar, but we are considering using ecollar for Zeus because he responds much better to it. He tends to take the leash/collar as being more personal.
Anyone have suggestions on this? With Argo I started the forced retrieve with PVC. Have not dedicated used much to it since we trial in a couple weeks and I have been busy taking him to other places/distractions. But anyways, in a general front/sit, he will take the PVC but literally just closes his teeth around it for a nanosecond and spots it out. Michael Ellis's method uses cupping their muzzle to encourage holding their mouth closed, and that didn't seem to help at all.