30. Retrieve On Flat Problems
How To Overcome Them
Dog Doesn't Start On First Command
See RETRIEVE ON FLAT for ON-leash training.
For off-leash correction, give the command, and if the dog doesn't start, reach back with your RIGHT foot and tap her lightly on the right flank. Give praise as you do so, then rush forward and encourage the dog to pick up the dumbbell.
If your dog is foot-shy because you previously made a bad correction, "spank" the dog forward with your left hand, giving praise!
In extremely stubborn cases, an assistant faces the owner and her dog, and holds the leash at its full length. The dumbbell is placed between them. The owner gives the retrieve command and follows the command with praise. If the dog fails to start, the assistant pulls the dog forward, toward the dumbbell, with one snap of the leash. The owner then runs forward and encourages the dog to pick up the dumbbell.
Dog Anticipates Retrieve
Tell your dog "Stay!" and throw the dumbbell. If the dog starts before you give the command, pivot quickly and WALK AWAY from the dumbbell. As you turn, DEMAND "Heel!" The obedient dog will resist her desire to chase the dumbbell and will remain at heel position. Circle around, return to where you were originally standing, then give the retrieve command.
Alternate correction: After you throw the dumbbell, ask an assistant to pick it up and hand it to you to throw again. Or, pick it up yourself while the dog remains sitting.
Dog Is Slow When Going For The Dumbbell
See RETRIEVE ON FLAT for ON-leash training. When you snap the leash, do it forcefully. The dog knows the exercise and is merely being lazy.
When the leash is off, there is little you can do except to chase the .dog, spank her rear in play, or toss something at her heels, then run forward in a playful manner and encourage her to speed up.
Dog Returns Without The Dumbbell
Hold your leash or some other small object that you can throw. When your dog starts back without the dumbbell, block her by tossing whatever you are holding directly in front of her. Rush forward, pick up the dumbbell, toss it at her feet, and repeat the command in a more demanding tone.
Dog Is Slow To Return After Retrieve
After your dog picks up the dumbbell, turn and RUN, or turn your back and clap your hands. The dog may instinctively speed up. If not, ask an assistant to stand where she will not be seen. Just as the dog slows to a walk, the assistant tosses something in back of her, then ducks out of sight. Four things are important: (1) Do not let the dog see the object when it is thrown; (2) give praise WITH the correction; (3) have the object thrown ONLY when necessary; (4) clap your hands in a playful manner after the correction.
Dog Stands Over Dumbbell Without Picking It Up, Or Stands Holding It
See RETRIEVE ON FLAT for ON-leash training.
Off-leash correction: WHEN THE DOG ISN'T LOOKING, toss some object at her feet, to take her by surprise. Run forward, repeat the command, then run backward, giving praise in a cajoling voice to encourage her to return with the dumbbell.
An assistant can make the correction by tossing the object from a hiding place, providing the dog doesn't see her do it. Having an assistant make the correction is especially effective when the dog just stands and glares at the owner.
Dog Refuses To Release Dumbbell
Hold one end of the dumbbell and command "Out!" Wait a moment, then cuff the dog's nose ONCE with the free hand. Say "Good Girl!" after she lets go.
Dog Grabs Dumbbell From The Owner's Hand
Carry the dumbbell in your left hand, and a small, rolled magazine in your right. When the dog grabs for the dumbbell, flip the magazine in front of your body and cuff her on the nose. After the correction, stroke her head with the dumbbell. If she grabs for it again, repeat the correction.
Dog Grabs The Dumbbell When Steward Or Judge Hands It To The Owner
Ask an assistant to hold the dumbbell in one hand, and a rolled magazine in the other, keeping both together. When the dog grabs for the dumbbell, the assistant flips the rolled magazine at the dog's nose, then backs away. Repeat this correction until the dog will quietly accept the dumbbell WITHOUT grabbing.
Dog Mouths Dumbbell
You may never completely overcome your dog's mouthing but if you follow these suggestions, she may mouth her dumbbell less:
- Use a dumbbell made of hard wood, such as maple. The
harder the material, the better.
- Select a dumbbell with the centerpiece no wider than the
- Discourage jaw movement by cuffing the dog under the chin
whenever she moves the dumbbell in her mouth, and telling her
- Train your dog to carry things that are breakable, such as
raw eggs, or a small balloon. If what the dog is carrying breaks as
the result of her playing with it, she may learn to carry with
- When your dog is at a distance and starts rolling the dumb
bell around on her teeth, warn her with "Easy! Easy!"
Dog Picks Up Dumbbell By The End Instead Of Centerpiece
On each end of the dumbbell, fasten a square block of wood large enough that the dog can't get her mouth around it. Tell her "Stay!" and PLACE the dumbbell some distance away. Return to your dog, tell her "Take it!" and let the dog figure out how to take the dumbbell from the floor. When she learns to use the centerpiece, gradually reduce the size of the end pieces, until you can remove them altogether.
Dog Drops Dumbbell At Handler's Feet
After your dog returns with the dumbbell, and just before she sits in front, do an about-turn and command "Heel!" Come to a halt, then command "Sit! Stay!" "Good Girl!" Practice this until your dog will hold the dumbbell while sitting at heel position. Later, when she brings the dumbbell to you and sits in front, use the "Stay!" command, followed by "Good Girl!" Eventually she won't need the voice command.
Dog Anticipates Finish After Retrieve
Take the dumbbell while your dog is sitting in front. Wait a moment, then pivot back to heel position on your LEFT foot. If the dog moves before you give her permission, DEMAND "Stay!"
In practice, take the dumbbell, then stand up straight, wait a moment, and give the dumbbell back to the dog. Straighten up, wait, then take the dumbbell a second time. If the dog starts to heel position without permission, tell her emphatically "STAY!"
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