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I usually go for the biggest,toughest one i can find as i like to play tug with them as well to encourage them to hold on to it.
 

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I usually go for the biggest,toughest one i can find as i like to play tug with them as well to encourage them to hold on to it.
This is fine, but I only use this dumbell for formal retrieving. Because I do eventually want to go into open and utility.
Tamora thinks of this as a fun toy, but a working toy. It must always be retrieved back to me and give when I say give and finish when I say finish. I only bring the dumbell out at training times. She knows the difference. Other toys, like her frizbbee--there is a lot more flexibilty, she can run towards me like a bucking bronco with it and she does, and or try to kill it on the way with the old doberman head shake. keeping the dumbell and article separate has laid the groundwork for the future for me. Anyway just a thought I wanted to share.
 

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I didn't mean as constant use toy but as with all training i like to make it a fun game for the dog as that makes it easier to train at a formal level
 

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This is fine, but I only use this dumbell for formal retrieving. Because I do eventually want to go into open and utility.
Tamora thinks of this as a fun toy, but a working toy. It must always be retrieved back to me and give when I say give and finish when I say finish. I only bring the dumbell out at training times. She knows the difference. Other toys, like her frizbbee--there is a lot more flexibilty, she can run towards me like a bucking bronco with it and she does, and or try to kill it on the way with the old doberman head shake. keeping the dumbell and article separate has laid the groundwork for the future for me. Anyway just a thought I wanted to share.
Heck, my dog will be going onto open and utility - but still, the db is the only toy (besides myself!) that I can bring in the ring. The foundation from all three training instructors I deal with has been play - kicking into prey drive (Rah hasn't needed that) - the db is a toy rah ONLY gets when I am around and he ONLY gets to play with me. And he LOVES to tug on the db. It's very possible to create a dog that lOVES the db and will not play with it in the ring- these dogs love the retrieve. My dog strains and still has to be held when we practice ROF because he LOVES LOVES LOVES getting his db - it comes out for 5 minutes in a training session,he gets to tug and play with it, and then it disappears just when he wants more!
 
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Heck, my dog will be going onto open and utility - but still, the db is the only toy (besides myself!) that I can bring in the ring. The foundation from all three training instructors I deal with has been play - kicking into prey drive (Rah hasn't needed that) - the db is a toy rah ONLY gets when I am around and he ONLY gets to play with me. And he LOVES to tug on the db. It's very possible to create a dog that lOVES the db and will not play with it in the ring- these dogs love the retrieve. My dog strains and still has to be held when we practice ROF because he LOVES LOVES LOVES getting his db - it comes out for 5 minutes in a training session,he gets to tug and play with it, and then it disappears just when he wants more!
Sounds like what you are doing is working great. Tamora loves the retrieve and loves the DB, but she can`t retrieve like a bucking bronco or trying to kill the DB on the way back to me--I wonder if there is pioints off for that. (grin). Anyway thats why I taught her the formal retrieve. She will retrieve over jumps now and almost looks like some of the pros.
Anyway I guess there is no one way to train, just what works and make it fun. To get to the finish you can accomplish it in many ways. Our show n go (first time last week) she loves--so I think she will compete. She looks happy in the ring and thinks its a game. So we are in it as long as its a game for the both of us.:)
 
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