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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay...just to throw something out there.......

This morning at the tracking field, someone who we train with mentioned that Rommel's obedience was really coming along nicely. He said that he thought he looked super, but warned me that he has seen it before....a dog looks really nice, and then in about a year the dog starts looking sloppy and that I should start now doing "motivational training" like with a tug or ball or something.

I will admit, Rommel is Tug-Crazy (make that….Tug-Bonkers!), but that is part of the problem....He would jump over my head to get to it, he just goes into super drive, and I am afraid that he would lose alot of the focus that I have right now. As far as a ball goes...I play with his kong in the backyard every now and again, but I have never played "retrieve" games with him because I wanted to wait until we got into dumbbells and teach him retrieval that way. I have never worried much about whether he brought toys back to me or not, (I have never pushed it anyway, if he brought it back…fine, if not…fine) and if I used a ball in obedience...obviously, he would have to bring it back.

At this point, alot of his OB work is done without me holding on to the leash, so to have to put him on a long line and MAKE him bring the ball back, to me...would be going backward. Because as I said....I want the dumbbell to fill in the retrieve "game" when we get there. Am I wrong for thinking that?

To this point, his reward has been food and verbal praise or petting. The food has started to slack off, but the verbal praise and petting is still there. I have used minor forms of compulsion with him, if I KNOW he knows what I am asking of him, and he ignores it, he gets corrected. But he has made awesome progress, he is so smart and willing.

I don’t want him to start hating OB work, but I also hate to screw up a good thing by going backward. Or is it REALLY going backward??? Just using a different approach? I think that the tug would work, but I am afraid he would get really sloppy because he would just be paying attention to that!

I’m just curious to hear your opinions on it, I am new to this so I will take all the advice I can get. How do you teach obedience, and what do you use to "motivate" or do you???
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Oh, one more problem with the tug.........as soon as he sees anything made of "jute" he will NOT stop barking, because he has learned that when you see it.......if you want it to "come alive" you HAVE to KEEP barking (obviously leading up to the bark and hold) so he WILL NOT shut up! (And I for sure dont want to screw that up, because he is doing great in that department)
 

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BIB, I don't think you are doing wrong as far as holding off on the retrieve exercises since you are pursuing OB, and here's an example why. Oscar loves his tennis ball like Rommel likes his tug. Since he was a wee pup, he loved fetching and gleefully brings it back to me at full speed every single time but NOW he won't "give it" or "drop it" anymore. He will give me anything else I tell him to retrieve, but not "his" ball (the motivational toy). He wants to hold onto it or play tug with it. Fast forward to last week in obedience class we introduced him to the dumbell. He showed only mild interest but would get it, bring it, sit perfectly square in front of me, then immediately spit it out quick like "ok, I did it, so give me my ball" (reward). In OB he needs to sit and "hold" the dumbell. Well, Oscar doesn't want the stupid dumbell--he wants the ball in his mouth. And that is why I think the dumbell retrieve exercise should be taught one step at a time, with praise and treats each time he learns a step (sniff it, get it, bring it, hold it, give it). Anyway, that is an example of how a motivational toy can backfire on you in OB. If I hadn't let him become so "in love" w/the ball OR if I had taught him the "hold it" when he was much younger, I wouldn't have to backtrack now. Oscar and Rommel are about the same age. Learn from my mistake. If you give him a motivational toy, I think it should be something he gets to keep and play with on his own, and that he is able to mentally separate (playtime "toy" vs. work "tool"). But definitely continue with the praise and treats as they are great motivators. JMHO.
 

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Sooz, as someone who is training the dumbbell right now, the first step we learned was simply getting the dog to take it in his mouth and look upwards to my eyes. As soon as he did that, I say "give", take it and treat him. Gradually lengthening the time he must hold it looking into my eyes.

Then we moved on to him sitting, holding the dumbbell in his mouth and me moving my hands as if I were going to take it but not taking it. Learning that he must hold it until I say "give" and then take it.

Tonight we were adding a bit of movement to the whole thing. He had to stand, hold the dumbbell, look up to my eyes, sit, maintain eye contact, hold for a second and then "give".

Next week, I believe we'll be trying to add a few steps / little more movement to this.

I've never seen dumbbell training start with the dog retrieving a dumbbell. There is a lot of lead-up work to that.
 

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Mary, I would just drop the dumbell on the floor beside me or go to where it was laying, then tell him to "get it". That IS his command to take it in his mouth and look up at me. I hope I didn't imply that I was throwing it across the room and commanding him to "fetch" or "retrieve" as a first-timer. Otherwise, I think we're both basically doing the same thing. I'm curious--what command do you use to get him to pick up the dumbell?
 

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We start ob when the dog is about 7 or 8 months, before that we raise them and play a lot with them on the field, the bal is a big part in it.

When we start OB we do short sessions, to keep him motivated and the ball is still part of it, first he sees the ball later on I keep it in my pocket, Zabar is one year now and I try to get him ready for his BH in a few months, take my time not hurry.

We all do it this way overhere, ok some uses food cause there always dogs who do the things differently.

With the dumbells we just started, he must learn to hold it first before he retrieving the dumbell, and when he hold it we just play with it and say to hold it and then praise him for holding it, we never play with the dumbell like we are playing with a ball, and when we play always together.

Yordi is almost 7 years, and when I train him he knows the ball is in my pocket and may be you never know, she throw him while we working! Probably he thinks that.
Even the ball is not there I believe he is thinking it is still there, I always did it with yordi the same way, and when I have a trial with him mostly we were good for 93- 94 points, mostly loose some point on not sitting straight or something, but never much.

We also don't train to much, better everyday a short part then endless sessions.

When your ball arrive BIB try it in training, there is a rope on it that you can play easily with him, and its a nice one to hold in your pocket!
 

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Sooz said:
Mary, I would just drop the dumbell on the floor beside me or go to where it was laying, then tell him to "get it". That IS his command to take it in his mouth and look up at me. I hope I didn't imply that I was throwing it across the room and commanding him to "fetch" or "retrieve" as a first-timer. Otherwise, I think we're both basically doing the same thing. I'm curious--what command do you use to get him to pick up the dumbell?
I don't ask him to pick up the dumbbell at all yet. We're not there. We're doing the lead up work to that point. Right now, I hand him the dumbbell and say "take it".

What if your dog didn't take the dumbbell from the floor when you first started that?
 

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Then I would have encouraged, then rewarded him for showing interest (treat), sniffing it (treat) and touching it with his nose (treat), working forward from that order. Fortunately for me, Oscar is somewhat of a thief, and happy to pick up things in his mouth.
 

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If the dog really don't like the dumbbell, we do a eye on top of the dumbbell and put the long leash on the dumbbell, and play with the dumbbell just what you play like with a cat, move the dumbell that the dog chase it, when he hold him praise him and keep the counter pressure on it and say that he must hold it and that he is a good dog, this works with a lot of dogs who don't want to hold the dumbbell.

Hopefully you understand it, if not I will make pictures of it.
 

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I taught my GSD Elf to retrieve by throwing the dumbbell, because I did it by myself and didn't know any differently. Elf was a natural retriever, and she learned to sit by my side while I threw it, go get it when I told her to, and also to do the same over the high jump. My next dog was not a natural retriever and wouldn't do that. So the most conventional way to teach the retrieve is to start by getting the dog to hold take the dumbbell from your hand, and once he learns a command for that, you can start putting the dumbbell farther and farther away, and eventually put it on the floor and later get to throwing it. You teach the whole exercise in small pieces and then eventually put the pieces together.

I taught Mic to take the dumbbell from my hand by using a clicker and food. He learned it in about half an hour. I sat in the living room watching tv and simply held the dumbbell in one hand. I didn't say anything to him. When he even glanced at the dumbbell, I clicked and treated. Eventually I wouldn't click/treat unless he touched it, which he did, because he was trying to get that treat. And it just progressed from there.
 

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ive used the clicker and im using both methods (i also backchained it with my last dog) - rah will take the clicker from my hand but isnt taking it from the floor, so i reward him for taking it FROM me, and i also am using the clicker to shape picking it up - with one session of that, i have him mouthing it and briefly picking it up.


personally, i dont see that denying my dog fetch will lessen his obedience - in fact many of the schutzhund trainers ive talked to etc love the "two ball" game or the two tug game as a way to teach outs, etc (doesnt ivan b also recommend it, as well as dildei in the training in drive book?).

i use all three things in training - food, praise, and toys/tugs. in fact, i prefer the tug over other toys since its interactive with me - i want him to play WITH me, not chase the ball and enjoy it without me (once i get rid of the ball, im out of the picture). my dog goes crazy for tug too, so i use it in th eright spots - jackpot rewards, end of sessions, or end of series activities where he DESERVES a big reward. if its that huge a reward, no reason to ignore it, just use it for what it is - a HUGE reward for the dog doing something awesome. my dog doesnt need a huge reward for doing something simple, but if he shows flashes of brilliance which he is occassionally prone to accidentally doing, i will damn well reward with a nice tug session to reinforce it.
 

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BackInBlack said:
How do you teach obedience, and what do you use to "motivate" or do you???
Personally, I use praise (verbal and petting), food, and toys.
At first my male was SUPER SUPER hyped up for the tug (just like he was with the food, the more it smelled, the more hyper he became) jumping about like a fish, barely able to contain himself, he didn't want to heel, he wanted to play!
but I made him learn to focus on me before being rewarded, which wasn't an easy thing to do, but he had to learn self control in high drive. And tug made a wonderful reward and I knew he would work for it. He still goes crazy for tug, only now I can control his on/off switch much better if I need to do so. That also comes with age, as they get more mature, they are able to focus better. Your boy is still very young.
My female was/is easier, she LOVES tug but comes with an on/off switch that I didn't have to train for as much. I haven't started doing serious or formal obedience work with her though, just basic stuff and I keep it very short, upbeat, and fun.
I use praise, food, and toys/games - like tug or fetch with certain toys, we have this fleecy tug that is special and fits easily in my pocket and ONLY comes out at training times for my guys, my male is training in open and I use praise, food, and tug.
I play lots of fetch at the house and at the dog run at the dog club, using two balls works best for them, makes the game go faster and they have lots of fun. I also use two flying squirrels for fetch. But mine were/are both naturals, doing retrieves at 8 weeks old on their own with balls, toys, and my female has played with a dumbbell from around 10 weeks old, getting praised for her interest, she likes to prance around with it in her mouth. They both love fetch and fetch most anything from sticks, frisbee's, toys, and dumbbells. =) I use the wooden dumbbells.

I don't see any reason why you can't play a nice game of fetch.
Good luck with your training, sounds like he is coming along nicely. I will ask the presidents of our Sch. club what they think too if you are really concerned. Just PM me and I will ask this Sat.
I personally think you can carry a very special tug (one he only gets for working with you, one that he knows is special) or a ball with rope and teach him to control himself in high drive (i.e. not go crazy at the mere sight of it) before he gets to play. For example, he does some nice heel work, reward him big with tug. But it is really up to you and what you feel comfortable doing.
 
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