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Brito – taking the dumbbell

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I’m working on Brito’s retrieve.

Until now, criteria has included interacting with the dumbbell without stepping on it (I extinguished that), any nose or mouth touching, front teeth, front teeth and nibbling, and slightly more than front teeth. Most of the time I hold the dumbbell but sometimes I put it on the ground

In this video I’m working on getting a full mouth bite on the bar; I click for his teeth all the way over the bar.  We’ve worked up to this behavior over two days with a few sessions each day.  His success rate is reasonably high at about 70% and his attitude is usually good.

I’ve started to push him away from the dumbbell to start the exercise; this builds speed and intensity towards the task.  Next I will push him away and I will keep the dumbbell moving slowly away from him (to increase drive to grab it before the dumbbell “escapes”).  I also reward him moving towards me (note the placement of the cookies) – this will help to create follow through after he is picking it up and handing it to me.

You’ll see that I am sometimes “pushing” the dumbbell into his mouth.  Shame on me!  I didn’t even realize I was doing it until I saw it on tape.  My goal for myself is to change that bad habit!

I added a new criteria midway through the session; turning his head to mouth the bar.  I also begin to change the height; both higher and lower than “nose” level.  All of these things encourage a deeper understanding of the correct behavior.

He did very well today; we had a lot of fun:).

About dfenzi

I'm a professional dog trainer who specializes in building relationship in dog handler teams who compete in dog sports. My personal passions are Competitive Obedience and no force (motivational) dog training. I travel throughout the world teaching seminars on topics related to Dog Obedience and Building Drives and Motivation. I own Fenzi Dog Sports Academy, a comprehensive online school for motivational training of performance sport dogs.

4 responses »

  1. For some reason the video won’t work on youtube. I’ve taken off the first link and am trying to repost it. GIve me a few minutes to see if this works….

  2. I was wondering if you can explain a little why you chose the retrieve to work on at this point. Is this the progression you use with all dogs? Or did this seem like something he would enjoy so you chose it to work on first? I just started a new dog this month and was rethinking my usual training progression, thinking maybe I would do some scent article work and stays instead of focusing only on what I usually start out with, heeling and recalls. Would love to hear your thought process on starting a new dog. 🙂

    • Usually I start with scent discrimination but Brito is so determined to stand on things that I wanted to extinguish that behavior before I do scent work (I teach it without a pickup and I don’t want him to indicate the correct option by standing on the tin). So doing the retrieve early on will help him understand to use him mouth in addition to his feet.

      I try to simultaneously do a shaping exercise (in this case, retrieve), a luring exercise (heeling/recall – though recall is now shaping as well); play training (personal play, ball play, tug and food play), and socialization/generalization. I make sure that he understands his power – if he acts then I respond.

      My goal is balance. With each dog I prioritize these differently depending on what I’m seeing. Brito has a bit of reactivity/sudden environmental change (SEC) stuff (but well within the range of normal for a puppy) so most of our time is spend out and about. Maybe 30 minutes a day. He is a little sensitive about coming into my space when I’m standing so we work on that. Training is about twenty minutes over a few sessions. And hanging out developing our relationship is the remainder. I don’t crate a lot so his day is very full.

  3. Pingback: "backchaining the retrieve"

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