Teaching a Retrieve from scratch

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by Criosphynx, Sep 17, 2009.

  1. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Iam in the process of teaching a retrieve from scratch using back chaining..to a 9lb dog lol

    I have been experimenting with this and wonder if anyone else has done it.

    So far I shaped Tippy into biting down and pulling on an object (which was a task in and of itself...wow)...at the click she will drop it (obviously) but Iam wondering when I should add a release cue (ok) instead of a click?

    I can point and she will go to the object (about afoot away) pick it up and turn around (like to come back to me) and then drops it...Iam trying to click now BEFORE she drops it. But if I encourage her to come back with it she simply drops it...Iam guessing Iam moving to far too fast?

    I have also taught her to pull the object off of a box (since she too short for a table) and she does that wonderfully..but once she reorients to me, she drops it.

    Iam guessing I should stick my hand out and only reward for it landing in my hand?


    anyway any help tips with this would be awesome
     
  2. 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
    Yes.

    When I teach retrieve, from the very beginning I try to always make sure the dog drops the item in my hand. Of course that means I'm reaching for the item and the responsibility is on ME to make sure it lands in my hand; if it doesn't, I click anyway and try to catch it better next time. This way the dog is patterned to targeting my hand, and it is relatively easy to later teach them to drop it in my hand on their own.

    I start by teaching the dog to take the object out of my hand and drop it back in my hand. When they've got that figured out, I teach the "give" cue (yes, I teach "give" before I teach "take it" - I like backchaining too ;)) Then I teach the dog to hold the object, i.e. take it and wait before dropping it; the "give" cue is useful here, because to teach the dog to hold it longer you simply wait to cue the give. When he is holding the object for several seconds, then I ask him to do other behaviors while holding the object - sit, down, loose leash walking, etc. - to really solidify that hold behavior.

    THEN I teach "get it," then I teach the dog to pick up the object off the floor. I start with the object right next to me, so the dog still doesn't really have to think about it landing in my hand (up to this point it's still up to me to get my hand under the object when I cue give), but then I start putting the object farther and farther from me so that he has to walk back to me. After that, I fade out how much I help (by reaching for the object), and start not clicking when it doesn't land in my hand; and I recue the dog to pick it back up and try again.

    I've had some dogs take a long time to figure out that the object has to land in my hand, but when they finally get it they tend to really shove it at me. That's really rewarding for me, because it shows me that they finally understand what they need to do. :)


    Retrieve is my favorite thing to teach. :D
     
  3. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    I teach it the same way as Lizzy described.
     
  4. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    awesome! Thank you for the replies... I knew I was missing som'thing important but couldn't put my finger on it.

    I will start tonight putting my hand out... she is a really short dog (think doxie size legs) and so I think I will have to pick a smaller object so I can actually have a split second to catch it before it hits the floor.


    just out of curiousity what object do you use to teach this? I have been using stuffed animal pieces and used a leash to get the initial "bite and pull" behavior. Iam assuming you need a decent reward history before the dog will start picking up wooden or metal objects. :)
     
  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
    I start with a hard plastic dumbell.

    I don't understand what you mean by the "pull" behavior, are you teaching your dog to tug the object? Because - this is very important - "grab and tug" and "grab and retrieve" are two very different behaviors. With tug the dog walks backward, away from you, and with retrieve the dog walks forward, toward you.

    I recently made the mistake of teaching a dog the two behaviors - retireve and tug - at the same time, and it took FOREVER for me to teach her NOT to walk backwards with the retrieve object. It was very frustrating!
     
  6. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    I did teach her to tug on it...as it was the only way I could get her to hold onto the object at all. Otherwise she just holds it so loosely it falls out of her mouth...I have been trying to select for holding it firmly for more than an instant but I haven't been able to get that yet. Perhaps thats going to be one of those criteria that takes a while to get.

    She does not walk away when she tugs on it...she sits and pulls on it. If that makes a difference.

    I have been meaning to buy a dumbell... started teaching this on a whim and wasn't prepared...lol
     
  7. pawzaddict

    pawzaddict New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    5 dogs, 2 cats, 1 snake, 13 ferrets
    Location:
    Arizona
    Harvick will get a toy when I point and tell him "Get it" then he brings it to me to throw or play tug of war, but I don't know if this is the same thing you are doing. Tippy is so smart! Can you get some video and share? :)
     
  8. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Thats the finished product I want yup! lol


    Chili will do the same thing, reliably...but I attribute that to me instilling it very young (its was the ONE thing I was adament he learn)

    I wanted to teach this to a dog which likes to learn but couldn't give a rats ass about toys...kinda as a chalenge for both me and her. Also shes one of the "easier" to train of my dogs, so I wanted to practice on her. Shes very forgiving of my mistakes :)


    i was actually thinking of making a vid tonight to share and for perhaps the more experienced trainers to critique for me. :) Tho I think with Lizzys advice about catching the toy we will progress faster. I'll also work on less "tug" and more "hold" :)
     
  9. pawzaddict

    pawzaddict New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2009
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Occupation:
    5 dogs, 2 cats, 1 snake, 13 ferrets
    Location:
    Arizona
    Ah doesn't like toys, yep that is NOT Harvick lol. Well GL and can't wait to see it!
     
  10. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    I teach retrieves using a curved, plastic conduit that I buy at Lowe's or Home Depot. Then I switch to a dumbbell when their solid on it. That way if I make mistakes in training, I don't create conflict associated with the dumbbell itself.

    I also don't teach them to actually drop it into my hand. I hold the object, they take it from my hand and while I'm still holding it -- we're both holding it -- I have them release it. I don't want dropping.
     
  11. 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
    Yeah, sometimes it does take a long time for dogs to "get it." I taught a collie to retrieve... and was later told that because of their long jaws they have a hard time gripping things. I sure noticed that! What I did with her, though, was to hand her the object sometimes to the side of her head, so that she'd grab it and turn her head back toward me, which helped her hold it a little bit longer. I also found out that if I handed it to her at about chest level she happened to grab it and raise her head; when she raised her head she happened to clamp down on the object, so I started clicking the head raise.

    It's good that she's not walking backwards when she tugs, but what does she do when you let go of the object? If she even moves her head back, it's likely that you'll accidently encourage that behavior as you continue, and you could shape her to go backwards with the object.

    Check out Shirley Chong's Retrieve, especially steps 1-9 (step 10 is where I teach the dog to hold the object and "give," but Shirley moves to teaching the dog to pick up the object from the ground.... I used to do it that way but in my way you'll teach the hold a lot faster, IME). Then you can skip to step 11 and beyond, but don't put the object on the ground, keep it in your hand. It sounds like you might have moved too quickly through these beggining steps (very common!).

    You don't have to use a dumbell to teach retrieve, though I think the shape and size make it very handy. I would suggest using an object that holds its shape, rather than cloth. Sometimes the cloth becomes distracting to the dog if it hits them in the chin or anything. I use wooden dowels and 1'-2' long sections of PVC pipe once I finish the dumbell, but if you don't have a dumbell you could start with those.
     
  12. 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
    Oh, good point. Luckily service dogs will probably never actually be asked to retrieve a plastic dumbell in "real life." :)
     
  13. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0

    Both of these are good ideas...Thank you... I like the concept of us both holding the object...at least at first...Iam also pretty sure I need to switch to a new...rubbery object





    well tonight she actually held it for a second...so I started clicking for holding it a second...but previously she would immediatly spit it out.


    This makes complete sence...I elimated the tug behavior tonight as she suddenly decided to offer actually holding it...go figure.


    I'll check this out after my reply...thank you.

    This dog is pretty small and the dumbells dimensions seemed a bit big for her...correct me if Iam wrong.

    I tried a smaller "part" for the object and also began sticking my hand out...she got the concept rather quickly and was bringing the object from several feet away and shoving it into my hand (your right very cute)

    but then suddenly my timing was off I suppose she began to drop the object as soon as my hand moved...Iam assuming she now things my extented hand is the cue to drop the object...I'll have to work on fixing that now...lol

    I will invest in som'thing plastic or rubber tomorro if I can. :)
     
  14. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    I do know one dog who is both a service dog and an obedience competition dog. ;)
     
  15. 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
    You can get small dumbells. But, like I said, you definately don't have to use a dumbell, there's nothing magical about it that makes it teach the dog retrieve. Though, like I said, I do suggest objects that will hold their shape.

    That's probably happened if you started working on her bringing it to you from a distance before she got the idea of holding it until you ask her to give it to you. It's like teaching stay, and working on distance (walking away from the dog) before working on duration (the dog just staying for longer distances).

    You can definately teach retrieve this way - teaching them to bring it from a distance before teaching them to hold it for duration - but IME it will be extremely difficult for the dog to learn to hold the object without walking with it. One trainer I worked with actually taught retrieve this way, and occasionally she'd get a dog that figured out the hold; but it did not work with every dog (probably only about 1/3) and took much longer (we only have 3-4 months to teach the entire retrieve).

    Again, I suggest reading Shirley Chong's article. It is SOOOO much easier to take your time and do it right the first time, than to make mistakes and have to undo behaviors.
     
  16. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    thanks for the advice. I used a pen last night and she immediately picked it up and handed to me. I was thrilled.

    how important is it that she hold onto it until I say let go?

    I mean I would be happy with her simply targeting my general area with the object.....since this is going to simply be a parlor trick and nothing serious.

    :)
     
  17. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    Well, that's kind of up to you. I train for competition and Lizzy trains service dogs, so for both of us it's very important.

    I do think it's easier for the dog - rather than just bring it to somewhere in my area and drop it someplace where I can reach it - to have a specific target ~ my hand. For her to drop it without a cue can lead to her dropping it outside of the target area, but might not. But the cue could easily be your hand out, palm up, for her to drop it or your hand on the object.
     
  18. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    gotcha... Thanks

    I don't know if I've mentioned before...Tippy has a neurological issue so she bascially stumbles around...I think getting in my hand 100% will be more than her handicap allows...she is however trying her hardest to place it in my hand but she doesn't have alot of coordination...so far I have been clicking her best attempts and recueing her when she drops it too far away.

    This was her first session with the pen, she had never seen a pen before.

    YouTube - Tippy learning to pick objects up

    I have to learn to time putting my hand out better. I do it too soon. Also she wasn't bringing it to me yet in this vid...I'll have to update it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2009
  19. corgipower

    corgipower Tweleve Enthusiest

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    8,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    36
    Occupation:
    4 dogs
    Location:
    here
    That was adorable!! I would work on having her hold it a little longer. She's grabbing it up and then dropping it to look for her treat.
     
  20. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2008
    Messages:
    2,242
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    hahah thank you!

    Like I said before the behavior needs alot of cleaning up...its hard because she can't fully control what she is doing...som'times she goes to stand and fall backward instead...I think she does that towards the end.. She also kept looking at the bowl of food...lol

    The stuffed thingy I was using..she was holding that one much longer...then when I'd put my hand out she would drop it.
     

Share This Page