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Bella's Beg. retrieve & go outs class is starting in a few weeks and I figured I would get her started with the dumbbell before hand because I heard that the lady teaching the class likes to use the ear pinch method :confused2
So I got the thing earlier this week and have been working with Bella since but she absolutely HATES it, she moves her head away from me, today she even tried to bolt, guess she forgot mom was smart enough to put a leash on her! Can someone PLEASE help!!

So far all I have done is try and get her to touch the thing with her nose, of course she refuses to do it, so I do it for her, I take the dumbbell and touch her nose to it, tell her YES good girl and give her a treat. 3 days of doing this and she still hates the thing!! What am I doing wrong???
 

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Duchess was like that at first too...but eventually got over it. we just continued to make it a positive treat experience and opened her mouth nicely for her while saying "take it" and then when she would allow us to put it in her mouth real quick we would say give and she got her treat...Now we say "take it" and she reaches to it with an opened mouth. :)

so I guess what im saying is...she will get the hang of it...and realize its like a game :)
 

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I taught this when T was 3 months old, but it can be taught at any age. Stand in front of B. say take--you will have to open her mouth--say hold--one hand is under B`s mouth and and the other is on her nose to keep her mouth closed--than say take--a treat is given immediately. Repeat a few times throughout the day. Can be done in kitchen--really anywhere. Eventually with one hand on top and other underneath you will stand in front of her and using the same commands walk with her following you. In the beginning her nub may be down and she will have a posture of I hate this. However, with this positive method she will learn to do it and like it. Whats funny is, you will think you are not making progress when all of a sudden bingo the lights go on. Under no circimstances let that instructor pinch her ear. You will have a dog hating to learn.
If this does not make sense let me know I can have hubby take pics to show what I mean.
Another way is use a clicker. She at first touches dumbell, click--treat. Repeat until she goes to it to touch. After she is good with this you will
have to open her mouth put dumbell in, say hold, say take, click treat.
By using the first method getting Tamora to take her article was a breeze she retrieves both dumbell and article will return and finish for me.
Please no pinching you want this to be fun for her.
 

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here...I have a video...she already learned it...but before this we had to giver her treats just for it being in her mouth...and then we had to put one finger on the bottom of her chin and the rest of your hand on the top of her mouth and when she wanted to spit it out just hold with alittle more resistance so she bites back down on the dumbell...and say "hold it" working up to longer and longer time...
http://www.clipshack.com/Clip.aspx?key=218ADD511801E2D3
 

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Bella's Beg. retrieve & go outs class is starting in a few weeks and I figured I would get her started with the dumbbell before hand because I heard that the lady teaching the class likes to use the ear pinch method :confused2
So I got the thing earlier this week and have been working with Bella since but she absolutely HATES it, she moves her head away from me, today she even tried to bolt, guess she forgot mom was smart enough to put a leash on her! Can someone PLEASE help!!

So far all I have done is try and get her to touch the thing with her nose, of course she refuses to do it, so I do it for her, I take the dumbbell and touch her nose to it, tell her YES good girl and give her a treat. 3 days of doing this and she still hates the thing!! What am I doing wrong???
Hi Kelcoblue,

You aren't doing anything wrong. I've trained retrieves pretty much the way that Alwayhadpets outlined. I don't use a clicker because I've never gotten adept enough to actually be right on target with the click but there are some very good books on how to clicker train--including the retrieve.

Some dogs are naturals at retrieving and some aren't but having taught an Afghan hound to retrieve (and teaching a sight hound something that doesn't come naturally give a whole new meaning to patience) I can tell you that patience is the key. It took me almost a month before he would open his mouth on the "Take it" command and let me put the dumbell in it. And it took fully another month to teach him to actually take the dumbell out of my hand. I did this in very short sessions (mostly in the kitchen--my favorite training ground) several times a day.

We progressed from that point to teaching him to heel with the dumbell, do recalls with the dumbell and do recalls over first a very low jump and slowly working up to full height with the dumbell.

In conjunction with that I was simultaneously teach him to reach out, up and down to take the dumbell from me. We went from that to me stepping a few steps forward and asking him to take the dumbell and to having him take the dumbell off of chairs, boxes and finally the ground. Once he was reliably picking the dumbell up from the ground I started leaving him in a sit and placing it on the ground further and further away and sending him for it--eventually I started throwing it--close at first and further until he was retrieving on the flat at a distance and I repeated the whole process with the hurdle.

I've trained every dog since him pretty much the same way. My one and only natural retriever was actually one of the hardest to teach the take it to--once he had it he'd hang on to it but it took him a long time to "get" that taking the dumbell on command was a no options sort of thing.

I have not faith in the sort of "forced retrieve" that trainers are talking about when they talk about ear pinches and the like and I've seen more than one dog spoiled entirely for upper level Obedience by this sort of training.

I always liked the attitude of a trainer from years back (when forced retrieving first became popular) who said "When we say forced retrieve, you should realize that what we refer to is a dog who will reliably retrieve a dumbell (or other object) each and every time asked, even if they aren't terribly interested in it at the moment. The only way to accomplish this is slow and steady progress through all of the steps we have outlined. Ear pinches have no place in our training techniques."
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well we had a major breakthrough on Mon. I was sitting out back with Bella trying to get her to touch the dumbbell and my sister called, so I had the phone in one hand the dumbbell in the other and the treats were in a bowl behind my back (Bella in a sit stay), So anyway we are talking for a couple of min. and Bella reaches out touches her nose to the dumbbell and of course I have NO treat in my hand for her, so Bella KNOWING where the treats are strains her neck to look around me then looks back at me, and touches the dumbbell again! YEAH! I was SO excited! I had her do this a few more times then we moved on to take it, and hold. I have to open her mouth but once she has it in there she will hold it for a couple of seconds!! We are finally getting somewhere! :biggthump Don't worry NO ear pinching for my girl!!

:dancing_3 :dancing_3 :dancing_3
 

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Ok being a training noob what exactly is the purpose of the dumbell excercise? And WTH is the ear pinch method?
 

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Ok being a training noob what exactly is the purpose of the dumbell excercise? And WTH is the ear pinch method?

Nnyan,

Open Obedience has two required exercises that involve a dumbell. The retreive on the flat where you stand with the dog at your side and throw a dumbell out and then give them a command (usually 'fetch' or 'take it') to go and get the dumbell. The dog goes out, retreives the dumbell and comes back to sit in front of you until you take the dumbell from them and ask them to return to the heel position. The second exercise is the retreive over the hurdle. There is a jump set up in the ring and same thing basically--you stand back from the hurdle with the dog at your side and throw the dumbell over the hurdle and send the dog to retrieve it. The dog jumps the jump going out and coming back with the dumbell and sits in front of you until you take the dumbell.

The practical applications--teaching the dog to run out and retrieve something and bring it back to you--I use tennis balls and a racket and it provides a lot of exercise for the dog and I don't have to keep going out to retrieve the danged ball myself. One of my dogs would actually retrieve the morning newspaper which was usually in the bushes somewhere--handy when it was raining.

The ear pinch. There is a theory in favor with some trainers that only if the dog is "forced" to retrieve will they ever be reliable retrievers. Personally I regard that as so much unmitigated bs. But the ear pinch was a way of starting training by twisting or pinching a dogs ear and when they opened their mouth to protest that "THAT HURT!" you shoved the dumbell into it. Training progressed (and sometimes didn't progress) from there.

I have seen more dogs ruined by doing this sort of "forced" retrieve training than any other way. I don't think there is any excuse for it and once trained, even though it may take longer in the first place all of my dogs who I trained to retreive the long way were completely reliable and happy to retrieve for me.
 

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@Dobebug

Thanks for the info! Well Huxley does a variation on these two exercises (maybe the difference is an east coast thing? ; ).

1. Starts out the same but with the exception that when you instruct him to "fetch" he will immediately get the dumbell and unless it is made of hardened titanium he will proceed to destroy the dumbell. He will then point to the mess so you know where you need to do your cleanup.

2. We stopped doing this as it was getting too costly to replace the hurdles.

All kidding aside that pinch method is something we would never do on our dogs. I agree sounds like BS to me too.
 

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Here is a very brief description/summary of a 3 day seminar I attended. One other progression that is not mentioned is Lance's invention of a dumbell that comes apart. This is used in sequence between using a dowell and moving toward a solid dumbell. He gave the invention to Michael Schweikert, in Germany, who is currently marketing them.

http://www.wcgssc.com/index.php?categoryid=71
 

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At first there was NO WAY I was going to ear pinch my girls. They learned to like the dumbbell well enough on their own, and my girl who has her CDX has a very reliable retrieve. BUT - I have found that the ear pinch has its place in proofing the retrieve, particularly in the face of distractions that can make the dog forget what they were going out there to do in the first place.

To the OP - you aren't doing anything wrong. None of my dogs have "liked" the dumbbell very quickly. And I did not teach/proof with an ear pinch until they were pretty reliable on their own.
 
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