Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Totally Fetching - Part 3

Let us get back to teaching your dog (especially hounds or other non-retrievers) a "play" retrieve.  If you are new here, be sure to check out Part 1 and 2 first.

Part 1 - Click Here
Part 2 - Click Here

The goal before the holidays was to teach your dog to pick up the toy and for the trainer to grab the toy and click & treat (C&T).  I want to remind you about a few things. 

First, you must give frequent, positive feedback so your hound stays interested.  So lets say twice in a row, your hound picks up the toy and you try to grab it, but your hound drops it before you can reach it.  Therefore, your hound has done two things without any positive feedback.  Immediately take a step back and C&T for the dog just picking up the toy again.  Make sure you are standing up tall so your dog will pick up the toy and tend to bring his head higher up towards you... versus you looming over him and the dog keeping his head lower to the ground.  C&T for when the dog brings the toy up to a nice high position. 

Once your dog is back to picking up the toy, start trying to grab it again and C&T.  The first few times you succeed, C&T, but give your dog 3 treats and really let him know that putting the toy in your hand is super special.
If you are training a small dog, you may need to sit or kneel on the floor so you are not bending over him at this stage of training.

Shorten your training sessions if your dog is losing interest.  End each training session with your dog wanting more.

Remember to restrict access to the toy when you are not ready with your treats and clicker.

In this video, Seven is showing more propensity for moving the toy towards my hand and turning towards me with the toy.  Remember that retrieving is simply teaching the dog to put something in your hand.  Once you have that, adding distance is the easy part.
Here we start adding some distance.  Seven shows that she knows to put the toy in my hand because she quickly recovers the toy when she drops it on the ground and tries for my hand, but she still is clumsy.
Happy Training!


Lindsay said...

Seven is so adorable in that last video! Zoomies!

houndstooth said...

Seven! <3

I think it's really cool how you've broken this down! Thanks for sharing it!

jcp said...

I'm going to use your technique to work with Kassa to get him to drop it in my hand. Right now I just have him dropping it near me on command. 'drop it'. 7 looks like she is having a great deal of FUN!

Marta said...

it' so funny when she just plays with the toy for a while before retrieving it to you (in the third video). my hound does this all the time too. Even with other commands, unfortunately. First minding his buisness and when he has had his fun, he finaly follows the "command".

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...


I'll have to post a video of Riley fetching soon. Riley runs about 6 laps in all directions like a crazy greyhound before she returns the first throw. Then she settles into down and back. Travis did the same thing. Since this is just a play retrieve, I let them play if need be. So far I have not had anyone do that with a dumbbell. :-)

Granted Wishes Greyhounds said...

OMG, the best! <3

E.A. said...

Brilliant! Never thought greys could be taught to fetch. But I will give it a go.
My little girl is not very food-motivated though, rather I use the toys which she loves as reward. I don't use clicker training, but I will try it - I wonder if you have made it work with greys that aren't that into treats?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...


Use better treats (i.e. cheese, chicken, hotdogs, hamburger). Don't use anything actually labeled as a "dog treat". Today, I am training with smoked turkey and Swedish meatballs.

Also you can make your dog more food motivated by making sure they are not chubby, feed a high calorie food so you aren't feeding a bunch of filler, and train before meals and skip the meal if you don't get much effort and try again later.

But I find that lack of treat interest is usually due to the lack of quality... its just that boring food is being used... not all cases, but in most.