Friday, December 17, 2010

Totally Fetching - Part 2

Part 1 - Click Here

At this point, your dog should be very interested in his toy and offering teeth grabs. If not, keep working at it. Do you need a more attractive toy? Maybe you need to drag the toy faster and further to stimulate prey drive. Are you clicking & treating (C&T) frequently? Do not let too much time pass between clicks or the toy's value to the dog will not grow. Make the dog feel really awesome about all silly interactions resulting in a C&T. I did not show much of that with Seven in Part 1 because she was quick to offer the teeth grab so I focused on that.In this video, I raise my criteria for Seven. I am no longer satisfied with teeth grabs as I want to her to pick up the toy. So I C&T when the toy is lifted up off the ground. Secondly, I would like for her to pick up the toy without me having to move it. I want her to pick it up just because it is in front of her. Gradually, I reduce the amount of movement until the toy is sitting still, but the dog is still motivated to pick it up. At the end of this video I remove the leash from the toy.

If at anytime, your dog becomes confused. Take a step back. Continue to drag the toy and C&T for touches or teeth grabs. Do not let even a half a minute pass without C&Ting your dog for some success. Continuous positive feedback is important. It is what gets your dog excited about participating and playing with the toy.If your dog is doing a great job of lifting the toy up off the ground, start trying to put your hand on it. C&T as soon as you grasp the toy that is in your dog's mouth. Again, do not allow for a lot of time to pass between C&Ts. If you miss grabbing the toy a time or two, go back to C&Ting teeth grabs and pick ups. You do not want your dog to lose interest in the game.

Recall this in Part 1 - My dog is extremely interested in the toy and tries to run off with it. Skip Part 1 training. Your dog can start at a later step that I will point out in Part 2... Here is me pointing out your starting point.

Put your dog on leash so he cannot take off with the toy. Drop the toy and as soon as he picks it up, put your hand on it and shove a treat in his mouth. If you are super organized, feel free to use a clicker, but it is not necessary with a super toy motivated dog that is picking up the toy as soon as you drop it. Its more important that you use your hands for holding the leash, grabbing the toy, and shoving a treat in his mouth so he has a reason to let go. You are basically teaching him to trade the toy for a treat.

If my greyhound is a toy snatcher, I will yelp and make a big fuss if he touches me with his teeth. I do not wait till it hurts. I do not tolerate and will disagree with carelessness. He has to be careful around my skin.

At this point, the goal for everyone is to teach the dog to put the toy into your hand. You should start to notice your dog holding the toy if you are slow with your hand. Or if the dog drops the toy, you may notice him immediately pick it up and try again.

Hopefully this will keep you busy over the holidays. I will finish this series once the hustle and bustle is over.


Sue said...

Thanks for taking the time to do such an informative post.

Granted Wishes Greyhounds said...

Oh my gosh, these are fabulous. Thank you so much!

It really points out to me why my hounds lose interest... I am just in too big a rush for them to learn.

Andreja said...

It's great to see this described step by step! I wish I had such a detailed plan when I was teaching Ruby a play retrieve.

I would like to add one more thing to today's problem solving section:

Ruby was the kind of dog that would run away with the toy, but once I started trading it for treats, he changed his attitude completely: now he would get the toy, drop it right away and eagerly look for a treat.

Of course I didn't want that, so I switched to two toys that were exactly the same, and trading one toy for another (got this from Ron Watson for teaching frisbee dogs). This worked better, especially with light tugging on his toy whenever he came to get the one I had in my hand. If he didn't show interest in my toy, I ran around with it and made a fool of myself until it became more interesting to him.

I should mention that by the time I taught this he already knew Drop (let go of whatever is in your mouth), which was taught with chewies.
I also had to balance things all the time - one day I had to encourage him not to drop the toy and on the next day I had to put more emphasise on Drop.

It was quite tiring for me with all that jumping around, but soooo worth it! He will now eagerly do agilty course for a short game of fetch :)

Sam said...

I'm really enjoying reading these. Marge is good about picking things up with her mouth, but not so good about holding them until I take it from her. We're working on that (and also trying to get her to stop mouthing and just hold it quietly). So, I'm looking forward to your later posts!

BrittBeah said...

This must seem so strange to people with "normal" dogs to have this all explained like retrival is a strange game. I must say, very nice instructions.

jcp said...

Thanks for these tutorials Jen. Its good to have some step by step stuff to work on.

Amy / Layla the Malamute said...

I really enjoyed reading these! Malamutes aren't much for retrieving either. A ton of posts on the club's Yahoo group are about people having to drop out before trialing in Open because they can't get their Mals to retrieve. At a match, and at several different places afterward, all-breed trainers have come up to me and said things along the lines of, "Oh, a Malamute? You'll never get a reliable retrieve without ear-pinching or worse."

I got lucky and played around with spite (making a huge fuss over Casey for any interaction he made with the toy, so of course she had to outdo him), and now she'll retrieve random objects.

Now all we have to do is get to the point where we can trial in obedience and put that to use! In the meantime, I'm enjoying that she likes retrieving.

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Andreja, thanks for some added details for the really toy motivated dog.

It sounds like I'll need to teach Seven a dumbbell retrieve soon so I can post about it. I have never ear pinched my greyhounds and my two greyhounds that earned CDXs and 1 UD never refused to retrieve.

Thanks everyone.

maggie davis said...

what fun! i am stuck, though.
my handsome brindle and white friend, Muse, took to touching the toy with his nose fast. but! he doesn't have an ounce of prey drive in him (maybe that's why he's such a great therapy dog and feral cats walk up to him in town to say hello to him, nose to nose)
i even put the toy in my own mouth(shake. shake. shake) to encourage him. no dice, which is a shame since he's a natural fetcher. if he's in the mood he'll bring back a squeaky ball when i throw it for him and drop it at my feet--again and again, if he wants to, which isn't much of the time.
i'd appreciate any help. in advance, thank you!

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Maggie, he has some prey drive if he fetches or chases a ball. Can you make a video on Youtube of where you are stuck? Is your toy easy to pick up? Is the toy interesting? Have you built enough value? Even with no prey drive, if he loves touching it and loves his treats... he should naturally not want to let it get away if you are dragging it. You might have to drag it faster. You might need better treats to really increase value. If he does naturally fetch occasionally, trade him a treat when he does. Even if he drops it at your feet, its at least a start and you can work on placing in your hand later.


Potty Pip said...

Hi, I have just read Maggie's post and this is exactly the same as Pip. He will bring you a squeaky toy if you're watching TV and he wants attention and he'll bring it back when thrown and will do the same if he wants his dinner. If I was to give him a treat when he gives me the toy and retrieves it he would ignore the toy and just focus on the treat. He will only play on his terms and when he is in the mood. Otherwise he will just ignore the toy or look at you like your lights have gone out!