Friday, January 7, 2011

Totally Fetching - Part 4

Here is the final installment to teaching your hound or non-retriever to retrieve.

Part 1 - Click Here
Part 2 - Click Here
Part 3 - Click Here

At this point, I was satisfied that Seven understood that she should pick up and put the toy in my hand.  So I switched toys on her.  I switched to my favorite toy, the Zanie Flyer.  The stuffy disc is not easy to pick up so it is not ideal for early training, but its very easy to throw a good distance so it was important for me to eventually make the switch.  This video is an awesome illustration of how dogs do not generalize.  Throw down a Zanie Flyer and suddenly Seven's brain turns to mush and she has no idea how to proceed. 
With a new toy, I have to take a few steps back to remind Seven what we are doing.  The dog should progress much faster with each new toy.  The more toys and objects you work with, the more your dog learns to generalize.  Eventually, you can point to anything and your dog will pick it up for you.  Katie was especially good at generalizing and would pick up anything I asked her to.  In this video, one of the dogs had dragged a toy out into the yard.  I was barefoot and did not want to get it myself so I asked Katie to get it.  It was not something we had practiced, but we had worked with such a variety of things she knew what I wanted.
In this video, I run Seven through all of the steps with the Zanie Flyer.  I start by dragging the toy with a leash and C&T the pick ups.  Then I C&T for pick ups when the toy is motionless.  I start to grab the toy.  Notice that I run through all of these steps in just one minute.
In our next training session, Seven quickly started to offer to pick up and put the toy in my hand again so I started to add some distance.  I am sorry the video is so dark.
Now we have a finished "play" retrieve.  At this point, you do not need the clicker anymore.  You can just trade the toy for a treat.  I tend to continue using treats for play retrieves since it keeps my food motivated hounds very motivated to retrieve.  I sometimes will reward every other retrieve depending on the dog.  I also do not use high value treats once the game has a lot of value.

Happy Training!  Please let me know if you have any questions.  I know this seems like a lot of work, but it is only because I broke it down into so many steps.  This entire process only took about a week for Seven.


Running With Dogs said...

I'm in love with these posts as I'm trying to teach my IG to fetch. I have her very interested in touching the toy, but she doesn't actually pick it up. I've had her for 2 1/2 years now (rescued at 5 years old) and I have never seen her actually pick up a toy - or anything really. Do you have any ideas on how to get her to pick up something when she doesn't naturally pick things up? Thanks

houndstooth said...

I think this was really cool. I love that you threw in how to get over generalization, too! Are you planning on doing more how to videos since you've added Seven to the pack?

Never Say Never Greyhounds said...

Sorry, been out of town. Running With Dogs, are you dragging the toy? You might have to move it faster than I did. Also, if she is in a touching frenzy and really loves doing that, withhold the click to see if she tries something else when her touches don't get a click. If she even opens her mouth, C&T. With my greyhounds like your IG, I just hid it behind my back and then would pull it out really quickly and they would bite at it... and this was with a dumbbell... not even a fun toy. Have you heard of free shaping with a box... you might do that but with a toy.

Hi Houndstooth, that is probably the last video ever of Seven on this blog... just kidding. Of course, there will be more. :-) Glad you liked the series.

Ginny said...

I feel like I am still catching up with so much after the holidays, hence my delayed response, but I wanted to be sure to thank you for this fetching series of blog entries. They are just what I needed. My greyhound and whippet both love for me to throw toys for them but then they will pick them up and zoom all around the yard, not returning them to me so now after reading your fetch training series, I will begin training to solve that problem. I am hoping to incorporate toys more in my agility training with my whippet. So, again...thanks!