27. Things To Remember When
Teaching Picking Up The Dumbbell
On Command While Walking
With your dog at heel position, hold the leash wadded into a ball in your LEFT hand. Carry the dumbbell in your right. Start walking, and toss the dumbbell to the floor or the ground a few feet ahead of your dog. Give the command "Take it! Good Girl!" walk slowly past the dumbbell without moving your left arm, and without coming to a definite stop. If the dog reaches for the dumbbell, keep the leash slack so you won't distract her by jerking her collar, and give extra praise while she is picking it up. If she passes the dumbbell WITHOUT picking it up, jerk the leash BACKWARD once to check her forward movement, then repeat the command in a demanding voice. If she still doesn't reach for the dumbbell, pick it up and hand it to her; praise her, then try again.
The first command is given in a happy tone of voice, followed immediately with praise. As explained previously, praise overcomes uncertainty and encourages a dog to take things from the floor when she might otherwise refuse. More important, praise disguises corrections.
When you teach PICKING UP THE DUMBBELL ON COMMAND WHILE WALKING, it is vitally important that you do not move your left arm or lean forward with your body, until you see how your dog reacts. If she passes the dumbbell without picking it up, there is still time to jerk the leash backward as a checkrein, after which you must stop long enough to help the dog take the dumbbell.
It is equally important that praise follow every command. You will get quicker results with praise than you will with force, and your dog will respond more willingly.
For the PICKING UP THE DUMBBELL WHILE WALKING exercise, use an assortment of articles, so that picking up an object on command will not be associated only with the dumbbell. Learning to carry and to retrieve various articles also conditions your dog for the Utility Class training, which includes scent work with different articles.
Train your dog in strange locations, and don't be too quick to remove the leash. You may need it for that all-important correction. When your dog will automatically reach for a dropped object or will pick one up on a single command, whether standing or in motion, whether at home or in unfamiliar surroundings, you are ready to continue training for the RETRIEVE ON FLAT exercise.
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