Some training snags

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Catsi, Nov 15, 2008.

  1. Catsi

    Catsi New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Hi,

    I'm new to Chazhound and I can't wait to look around! I have hit a few snags with training at the moment, and I was wondering if anyone could offer any advice or links etc to help me out.

    I am having a few issues teaching my dog to retrieve. This isn't a retrieve for obedience (although I am sure the principle is the same?), it is more so that we can have another fun game to play and also a reward for training.

    I went out and bought some flat plastics rings - a bit like a frisbee but a hollow in the middle. The only reason I chose this over a ball is because they are easier for her to handle as she is a small dog. At this moment we are having all sorts of problems.

    I haven't been able to get consistent results, she may retrieve it for me, but she is just as likely to run off and chew it. She thinks that is very fun. I have refrained from encouraging her to run away. I just ignore her and when she finally does come back to me (sans ring) I switch to another exercise and put away the toy, so I don't reward her. I have tried to just play simple exercises where I place the ring on the ground and ask her to get it for me - again inconsist results.

    I would love some tips, I am finding this very hard. I tend to be pretty systematic with training, I try not to introduce too much new stuff, but just enough to keep it exciting. She is also not liking our current trick 'roll over'. She will do it with the lure, but I have had a hard time extinguishing the lure. Time to forget this one for now - move on do you think? Try again later? I just don't seem to be getting anywhere. :p

    Cheers, Catsi
     
  2. AgilityPup

    AgilityPup Agility freak!

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Messages:
    5,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Dogs;3, Cats;1, Horses; 2
    Location:
    New Brunswick, Canada
    What I did with my GSD Bella, was I took two of her fav. things, which happen to be sticks, and I'd throw one, when she picked it up go "Okay! Now come get the other one!" And wave the stick I still had in my hand around. She'd bring it back, drop it at my feet, and wait for me to throw the one in my hands, I throw it, she chases, I repeat with the stick she dropped at my feet...

    Another that I did with my mini aussie was throw the ball, when she had it, run the OTHER direction yelling "Come on! Come on!"....

    Some people also will throw the toy, then offer a treat to try to get them to come back with the toy. I had a problem with that because my dog drops the toy for the treat LONG before she's close enough to me with the toy to consider it retreiving. :p
     
  3. Here is how I did it. It is easier to start with an actual dumb bell since it is so easy for them to pick up.

    -------------------------------------------

    To start you will need an object that is very easy for the dog to grasp and hold. I use a dumb bell. You could use a properly sized dowel or other sort of retrieving dummy.

    If you use a piece of doweling, cut it about 8" long.

    Get ready MANY MANY pieces of some reallly tasty sort of bait, cut into small pieces.

    You will also need something to mark the behavior with. Some people use a clicker. I use the word "YES!"

    Make sure you have something cool to drink, and something you like on the TV.

    Sit in your favorite chair, with the treats nearby, and the dowel, or dummy, or dumb bell held between your knees. Wait for the dog to come close to the object. Set a target distance of say, 6". When the dog reaches this target distance, mark the behavior, and treat.

    The dog will, guaranteed, approach this area again sooner than later. Again, mark and treat. Mark for looking at the object as well. If the dog happens to accidentally TOUCH the object in any way, JACKPOT the dog, by praising a LOT and giving a handful of treats all at once.

    If the dog takes too long to come towards the dumb bell, reduce your "criteria".

    Mark and reward any time she comes towards you, or looks at the dumb bell.

    You want to find as many reasons to mark and reward her really fast in the early stages as you can. You can then RAISE your criteria, and the dog will work to find out what makes you "click".

    Every so often, say, for example, every 3 or 4 "marks", take a break from this activity by tossing a treat across the room for the dog to RUN towards.

    Next increase your criteria for the behavior by requiring that the dog touch the object to get a marker. Once the dog gets to this point, things usually progress quickly.

    Keep this training up ONLY as long as the dog is interested in playing. This varies from individual dog to dog.

    Once the dog understands that touching the object gets him a mark and a treat, wow, the game is on. This becomes SO MUCH FUN for the dog, because he feels he is controlling his rewards. (And in a way he is, isn't he?)

    Then once again, you withhold when the dog touches the object. NOW you want the dog to touch or lick the BAR of the dumb bell. When a dog reaches a new level and moves up this behavior closer to what you are looking for, you can JACKPOT the dog again.

    As you practice marking behaviors and rewarding like this, gradually increase your criteria until the dog is holding the object as you gently release your knee pressure.

    Use NO negatives. An exception is a very gentle, mild plain voiced "ah ah" if the dog needs a bit of help away from some behavior you don't want.

    When you get to the point the dog is firmly holding the object, you can then start placing it on the floor near your feet.

    Now all this time about every 3 or 4th reward, you've been throwing a treat for your dog to run out for. Did you realize you were going to LINK this running after the treat behavior to the dumb bell?

    Once the dog is picking up the dumb bell from the floor, and happily delivering it to your hand, you can start gently sliding it across the floor and rewarding the dog for fetching it. Most dogs RAPIDLY progress to running and fetching things you throw with delight.

    The last 2 dogs I trained using this method were RUNNING and fetching by the end of the 4th session.

    Bored this weekend? Too hot to play outside?

    Try this with YOUR dog and see how long it takes for the dog to actively fetch. Big Grin

    A HUGE benefit of this sort of training is that dogs once they learn this, can easily be taught to hold and carry almost anything.

    Shopping bags.

    Bank bags.

    Baskets with goodies in them.

    Etc.
     
  4. Catsi

    Catsi New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Wow, thank you for the quick responses!

    Lol, AgilityPup, I have tried offering the treat and she just runs up to me without the item as well! And then I think I just confuse her.

    Thank you Redyre, I will get some doweling and start this asap. Makes a lot of sense by really breaking the process down. :D Thanks!
     
  5. lizzybeth727

    lizzybeth727 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    Messages:
    6,403
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    Two dogs, three cats
    Location:
    Central Texas
    Welcome to Chaz!

    Does your dog like to play tug? That's how I started teaching my dog to retrieve.... She loves playing tug, so to her all the fun stuff came through bringing the toy to me. I just started throwing the toy, very short distances at first, and she'd want to get it and bring it back to me. Once she got good at it from farther distances, that's when I started adding a cue.

    As for roll over, you're right, probably the hardest part of this behavior is fading out the lure! This is the way I do it: Get the dog really good at rolling all the way over following the treat in your hand. Once she can do this easily and quickly, then pretend like you have a treat in your hand and lure her the same way. If she rolls over, give her SEVERAL treats, to make that more exciting than just the one treat she gets if you have to lure her. If that doesn't work, a good intermediate step is to lure her around with a treat in your hand,but don't give her that treat, reach into your pocket or wherever the treats are and get her a different treat. Then she'll start to learn that the treat in your hand is really not that big a deal.

    When she'll do the roll over with no treat in your hand, then just very gradually make your hand signal smaller and smaller. I like to do several quick repetitions, so that the dog KNOWS that you're about to do another roll over, and she will be much more likely to do it even if your hand signal is a bit different. This could take time to shrink your hand signal, but be patient and remember to keep it gradual.
     
  6. Angelique

    Angelique New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2005
    Messages:
    547
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    One dog
    That's great Red!

    I remember you describing this before on another board. :)
     
  7. Catsi

    Catsi New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Thanks Lizzybeth. I'll take it slower with the fading of the lure. I was obviously too quick with trying to get rid of it. :)

    Yes, she loves tug as well - I guess it wouldn't hurt to encourage some retrieving that way as well.
     
  8. Catsi

    Catsi New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2008
    Messages:
    922
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Wow - they are just gorgeous and so clever. Beautiful. :lol-sign:
     
  9. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    Why wouldn't you reward her for coming back to you? Playing tug is great for teaching the dog that bringing the toy back to you is fun. Also when the dog releases the toy to you, give it back or throw it again immediately. End the game by having her release and giving her a treat, so she still gets something positive for ending the game.

    Agilitypup said:
    This is also great, and if you don't run away you can get down on the ground and call and encourage the dog to come to you. Make yourself part of the game.
     

Share This Page