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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 03:22 PM Thread Starter
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The Dumbbell Retreive?

How do you teach the dumbbell retreive? I have heard all the following

Some force open the mouth and place the dumbbell

Some back tie and put pressure on the prong collar (or other collar) until the dog opens his mouth. then place the dumbbell

Others use play drive to stimulate the dog into biting the dumbbell. What if the dog doesn't have the drive?

Still others pinch the ear
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 03:37 PM
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Tried all 3 with my girl at various points...forcing her mouth open & putting it in there worked ok, except she didn't much care one way or another. Back tying her was a dismal failure (as I knew it would be) - that girl is STUBBORN!!! No way was she opening her mouth! Playing...that was key! She is now totally nuts for the dumbbell. Tries to dig it out of my bag, get's all excited when it does come out of the bag, and doesn't like to give it up....it's hers!!!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 03:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimtc View Post
How do you teach the dumbbell retreive? I have heard all the following

Some force open the mouth and place the dumbbell

Some back tie and put pressure on the prong collar (or other collar) until the dog opens his mouth. then place the dumbbell

Others use play drive to stimulate the dog into biting the dumbbell. What if the dog doesn't have the drive?

Still others pinch the ear
I can't go into the whole deal in a couple of sentences. A year or so ago my TD did a 2 day seminar on just the retrieve. First of all we don't start with a dumbbell we use a wood dowel with a line attached to it to start. At the very beginning we use a back tie and kind of use the dowel almost like we would a tug to take it. If they release before they are supposed to then they are stressed until they re-bite. There is pressure applied to the line which is attached to the dowel, so the dog has to grip firmly or loses it and then the stress/conflict is re-applied until they get a good grip. This is done until the dog keeps a firm grip. Then the dowel is replaced with a break apart dumbbell that my TD invented. It is carried by Schweikert in their catalog (The LC Dumbbell) The exercise is done backwards from finish to start. Going out and getting the dumbbell is the last thing they learn. The finished product is a dog that comes back to the handler as fast or faster than they go out to it. There are many, many other components to it but that is kind of a brief outline. Here is a little more:

WCGSSC web site

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimtc View Post
How do you teach the dumbbell retreive? I have heard all the following

Some force open the mouth and place the dumbbell

Some back tie and put pressure on the prong collar (or other collar) until the dog opens his mouth. then place the dumbbell

Others use play drive to stimulate the dog into biting the dumbbell. What if the dog doesn't have the drive?

Still others pinch the ear
Don't do any without the help of an experienced trainer.


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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 04:29 PM
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I agree to work with a good trainer to get timing and consistency. I did the ear pinch a long time ago and really did not like it at all. I do not like correcting for a behavior the dog does not know yet. It just does not seem fair to me.

I PLAY with my dogs to get the retrieve when they are small puppies, or with Rex (age 3 when he learned ) I did clicker. The easiest thing to do is when they are tiny pups, toss toys, then toss a dumbbell with NO formal command. If they are used to bringing a toy back, they naturally bring the dumbbell back. Cheers was running out to get a dumbbell when she was about 5 mos old and bringing it back. I only tossed it at that age 2-3 times a week for a couple of tosses in amidst her other fetch toys. Once she learned obedience commands wait, take it, front....then I used it as an obedience exercise...but she already was very eager to run out there and get it. I added the clicker to this with her once she knew the words involved.

More complicated with a dog who does not naturally retrieve (Rex)and is older (3 yrs old when he learned). I did 100% clicker with him. Hard to explain it all in detail.....

1. Hold clicker and dumbbell in right hand. Hold dumbbell so the bar is horizontal for the dog to get their mouth around. Hold a piece of food in your left hand closed in a fist.

2. Sit dog in front of you....show both hands out in front of you side by side. At first, they will nose the fist but do not open it to release any food. Eventually they will touch the dumbbell in right hand. Click and treat for a touch. Dog will take a day for touch and click most likely. Second day...up the ante as the dog realizes the dumbbell touch releases the food. Click on a harder touch, then a touch of teeth around the dumbbell, then click for teeth totally wrapping around, then a hold of the dumbbell. It may take the dog 3-4 days to get this. Eventually click only when he is taking the dumbbell out of your hand and holding it in front of you. At this point you can say "take it" since the dog is already taking it.

3. Then put dumbbell on a little chair right in front of the dog and click when he/she picks it up. Then dumbbell on the floor in front of the dog, dumbbell 2' from the dog, 4' from the dog. At this point you should be able to toss the dumbbell, say wait (hold the tab on the collar) and the dog will go get it. I said "front" at this point to get the dog to turn and come back to me.

Rex was DYING to go get the dumbbell and he has no natural retrieve at all when it comes to toys, tennis balls etc. However he IS very food motivated. Once they know the command reliably you can then correct for a refusal to retrieve. I've never had to correct Cheers and Rex only 1-2 times.

Last edited by ellenm; 01-07-2009 at 04:50 PM.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-07-2009, 08:52 PM
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here is a lil video of si's first time training the hold for the retrieve.

YouTube - silence 11 months old teaching the hold

Sorry, Steve put in the music, lol. I'm only telling him "Hold" "Good Hold" "Out" and "Yes" for his release and reward. I'm sure me droning on "Hold hold hold...ect" would get annoying.

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 01:17 AM
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Before you decide who to train with for the retrieve, watch how they teach it. Some people believe that without using force, the retrieve is never reliable. Some use the clicker approach. Others use play/prey etc.

I personally like Ivan's way of teaching the hold. Ivan explains it in his book, and it is my understanding that the retrieve will be covered on his 3rd DVD, which is about to be released.

Leerburg has a good DVD on the motivational retrieve with Bernhard Flinks.

Michael Ellis is a super person to work retrieves with. He also teaches the hold command separately. And he plays little retrieve games with his puppies from very early on with the toy/tug. He breaks the retrieve down in little steps that are very easy to understand for the dog if taught correctly.

Please do not try to force your dog to retrieve - at least without an EXPERIENCED trainer guiding you. I did the forced retrieve on one dog under supervision of what I then thought was an experienced trainer. Gosh, it was ugly. The dog ended up retrieving, beautifully, and everything I threw, but boy, did it destroy our relationship and his overall work attitude. I haven't had to force-retrieve a dog since - knock on wood.


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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 01:31 AM
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I've totally forgotten how my dog learned to take the dumbbell, but I know how I'd do it now.

When he had to have his heartworm tablet (and in the olden days they took one once a day), I would put my thumb in the corner of his mouth and tell him 'Open'. Once I got his mouth open, I popped the pill down his throat and then he got a piece of dog biscuit.

Now understand, this dog would stand on his head for food. Anyway, by the end of the first week, all I had to was touch the side of his mouth and say 'Open" and that mouth would open wide. Seems to me there must be some way to adapt that to training.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 02:08 AM
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I agree Dobeman,

That's about as "forced" as my retrieve gets. Happy tones, no collar force nor forcing with pain (the "two collar pull" is just distasteful to me). Ear pinching and choking are not, to me, a good way to treat your partner. Holding and retrieving are two separate things, mind you. What was in my video was just teaching the "Hold" command, and at the end you got to see a little "bring" and that's how we teach it.

Now, having said that, every dog is different, Silence did not take to his clicker or marker training with free shaping, which is how I preferred to teach it. Touch, click, touch, click, ect. He was more interested in um...everything else, lol, including the gum I was chewing and was stolen, yes STOLEN out of my mouth, oops, lol. No worries, he did not get too far with it.

But, yes, do be careful, you can ruin your relationship with your dog if you are too rough, impatient, or just downright frustrated with it. Yes, the dog may retrieve anything, but he will never like you for it.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 07:12 AM Thread Starter
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What determines a good trainer?

[/B]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobeman View Post
Before you decide who to train with for the retrieve, watch how they teach it. Some people believe that without using force, the retrieve is never reliable. Some use the clicker approach. Others use play/prey etc.

I personally like Ivan's way of teaching the hold. Ivan explains it in his book, and it is my understanding that the retrieve will be covered on his 3rd DVD, which is about to be released.

Leerburg has a good DVD on the motivational retrieve with Bernhard Flinks.

Michael Ellis is a super person to work retrieves with. He also teaches the hold command separately. And he plays little retrieve games with his puppies from very early on with the toy/tug. He breaks the retrieve down in little steps that are very easy to understand for the dog if taught correctly.

Please do not try to force your dog to retrieve - at least without an EXPERIENCED trainer guiding you. I did the forced retrieve on one dog under supervision of what I then thought was an experienced trainer. Gosh, it was ugly. The dog ended up retrieving, beautifully, and everything I threw, but boy, did it destroy our relationship and his overall work attitude. I haven't had to force-retrieve a dog since - knock on wood.
You could probably put 3 "good" trainers in a room and get 5 different opinions on training technique. I think what makes a good trainer is one that can read a dog and determine the best way to get the job done.

When I started to teach the "finish" to Sammy, I used food. Sometimes he would come around and sometimes he wouldn't. The trainer told me to wrap the leash around the back of my knees and when I give the command to "fuss" (heel) step back with my right leg and pull the leash forward with my left hand sharply. In two days Sammy was finishing like pro. Some say the dog will wait for the step back and that is no good bot Sammy didn't.
It taught me that compulsion works (for my dog) as long as he knows what is expected.
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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 08:59 AM
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there's a bunch of ways to teach a retrieve, and i think you need to take into account every dog and how they react, know your dog, your teaching style, what you feel comfortable with, and like someone else says, have a good trainer.

rah has an amazing retrieve - and its all play. after 3 years ive added some compulsion, but they are collar pops only - he will retrieve almost anything i tell him to retrieve purely because he wants to. the db is his most favorite thing on earth aside from tennis balls, and he will do anything to retrieve it. for him, he needed pretty much no training whatsoever except for some teasing with the db to jazz him up. i was able to teach him the individual parts of the retrieve with no force at all.

for berlin, she's a natural retriever and as a pup she would retrieve the db, but she doesn't WANT to do formal retrieves, so i had to use some compulsion to get the parts of the retrieve. i've taught her to take it, separately i've taught her to hold it. we've worked on longer distance take it's, and now I'm working on her moving with the db in her mouth and back-chaining it to front position, which is working better for her than anything else. together my trainer and i have decided that doing a full force retrieve is not going to go over well with her - - she's truly not understanding the point of all this, it's not that she is disobeying me, and we can get there in other manners right now. once you pinch, you dont go back. i can always do it later down the line.

last night berlin enthusiastically took it fron 3 feet in front of me and rushed it to front position for 6-8 minutes, which was a huge breakthrough - and i was able to do some moving fronts and attention with her as well.




So much of training has to do with motivation for the dog. FOr me, my dogs have a high level of precision I will demand of them, and they will have to be doing this things so many times - when Rah gets to his UDX classes, he has the potential to be doing this twice a day 3-4 days in a row - he needs to truly LIKE what he is doing. I want to keep him WANTING to do this, not doing it purely because he has to. I certainly instill some have to in there (you need to with Rah!), but I want most of this being "want to" when they do it - a lot of people have problems teaching extreme precision and keeping the "want to", and it's a very fine line. It's easy to get general movements and the basic concepts, but when you refine some things down to centimeters, exact motions, etc - a lt of dogs can find it demotivating (not to mention the people).


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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 11:49 AM
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The dumbell retreive

I have been training schutzhund for several years and have been very fortunate in being able to train with a very good club, and to have the training advice of Dean Calderon, who happens to live near us and trains with our club on occasions. I have been a GSD owner trainer for most of those years but recently aquired a Dobe through a rescue situation and have been working her in obedience and schutzhund and have just started the dumbell retreive with her, I have always been taught and used the method of truly finding out what works best for the dog your working, while yes there are lots of ways to fine tune the act once you teach it, to make it crisp and right on, You still have to find out the best way to start this training with your dog, wether it be with food, with toy, with praise,etc, I am personally using the toy drive and praise with food, This is whats working for me with this particular dog. I would say find out what works best for your dogs drive and termpermant, this is what will help you to be truly succesful in your endeavors. Dont forget that training with an experienced trainer and doing the research to learn the best way to train properly is always the best step.

Just an opinion

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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 01:04 PM
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Picture of My Dobe

I just thought since I have been on the list and speaking about training Dobes, that Id post a pic of the little girl I am training now. She is a really pretty little girl who loves to please.

Dale

Attachment 4933

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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 03:13 PM
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I meant to add to my earlier comment about dumbbell retrieves for obedience people wanting to do Open and Utility:

It is SO MUCH EASIER to teach your dog to pick up articles for upper obedience levels (the leather and metal articles for Utility) if you start them on this when they are little also!

Since my Rex had not ever picked up a metal object, he really did not like the metal article. He had to be reshaped for the articles just like the initial dumbbell retrieves. I had to spend about a week just getting him comfortable picking up something that felt different in his mouth.

Since I knew I would want to do Utility with Cheers eventually, I taught her to pick up leather and metal articles months ago. I have a few extra of each type and keep one of each in my training bag. I just heave out a metal article randomly during training and say get it....and she races off to bring it back. Same with the leather. I won't even be doing Utility with her for probably 2 years, but I have avoided a set back in her training at that point by making this part of her early training. She loves to retrieve these Utility articles as much as the plastic dumbbell.

Little things like this really help in the long run, and keep a younger dog from being bored by the Novice level requirements. They can learn retrieves way before they ever need them in the ring and it is fun for the dog.
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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-08-2009, 07:28 PM
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Personally the way Im doing my girl now is to make the dumbell a toy. She loves to get the ball or anything thrown. I am therefore making the dumbell a toy. I started with just holding it and getting her excited about it and wanting to take it from me, when she bit it i let her take it and run around with it and then recalled her to me. I would then repeat this and "sitz" her when she came back and take it from her with a gentle "aus" as she already knows this means let the ball go so I can throw it again. I am just making a game of it for now so she wants to get the dumbell just like a ball or toy. That to me is a great way to create that real drive like appearance when they go after the dumbell. I would suggest adding food to it as well as I do, when she brings it back and sits and I take it with the aus command I then give her a treat and we do it again, I am adding two things she loves, playing and treats, this is really beginning to bring this drive out. And to let you know where I am coming from, this girl was rescued and came from being abused and was intensly shy and afraid at first, but now does beautiful obedience and LOVES to work. I am working to not only bring her out of her shell so to speak, but also working to help recreate those inherent drives she hasnt been able to tap into before now.

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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KieferstahlDobermann View Post
here is a lil video of si's first time training the hold for the retrieve.

YouTube - silence 11 months old teaching the hold

Sorry, Steve put in the music, lol. I'm only telling him "Hold" "Good Hold" "Out" and "Yes" for his release and reward. I'm sure me droning on "Hold hold hold...ect" would get annoying.
Thanks so much for the video. Baron will open his mouth to put the dumbbell in but won't hold it. We have been working the retrieve on flat with a soft toy earmarked specifically for that task (he doesn't get to play with that toy). I want to start transitioning him over the dumbbell and like your method. Would never do any ear pinching and don't like the collar correction thing either. Want him to have fun with it. My trainer also suggested rubbing something yummy on it. Thanks again.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 03:42 PM
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Quote:
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Thanks so much for the video. Baron will open his mouth to put the dumbbell in but won't hold it. We have been working the retrieve on flat with a soft toy earmarked specifically for that task (he doesn't get to play with that toy). I want to start transitioning him over the dumbbell and like your method. Would never do any ear pinching and don't like the collar correction thing either. Want him to have fun with it. My trainer also suggested rubbing something yummy on it. Thanks again.
The problem with rubbing something yummy on it is that it will create a chewing problem and he will chew on the dumbbell trying to get more yummy-ness out of it. All I did in that video (which yes, that was his first time learning it, so you guys saw how we teach it) was squeezing his mouth on the dumbbell and tapping the sides to make sure he has a firm hold. Stroking and praising all the time (dogs typically don't like it so we need to make it a positive experience.) Good luck and let me know how it's going!
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 01-09-2009, 04:50 PM
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The problem with teaching the retrieve like with chasing a ball, is that often the return is much slower than the going out. This is costly in competition.
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