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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can anyone give me any tips on how to encourage Roxy to retrieve a dumbell? I have never really had any problems getting her to retrieve things (socks, dummies, various toys, shoes, etc) as she loves carrying things in her mouth but does not seem overly keen on a dumbell.

Thinking about it, most of the things she retrieves are quite tactile so the dumbell is alot different in texture & feel - not so appealing probably. Today I just started clicking when she touched the dumbell, then built up to getting her to hold it (for a couple of seconds).

I have never had to encourage her to hold anything previously (letting go was more of a problem :rolleyes:) so am keen to get her to be as excited about the dumbell as one of her many & toys.

Should I just build up gradually as I am doing & try to make the dumbell more exciting & get her a bit more motivated by the object itself or ensure that she gets a reward for when she does touch/hold/retrieve it?
 

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As she'll retrieve a sock, why not wrap one around the part of the dumbell she would hold? Stick in place with tape - or fix something else to it that gives it a better texture. Might help her get used to it.
 

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I trained Chester to retrieve the Dumbell with a clicker, once she has a firm hold start lowering it to the ground and then eventually place on the ground..start witholding the click to see what she does, she may sart to pick it up if so ..hold your hands the same as you did when holding it , she may try and put it back in your hands, if she does click when she lets go..

chester goes berserk when we get his dumbell out in training..he loves to retrieve it, and its the only thing he will actually give me back that he retrieves
have a look on Youtube for a formal retrieve with clicker
 

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Elastic bands are good for holding things in place.

This is Indie doing a formal retrieve a few years ago now, training in the back garden when I lived in York.

Well that was Indie a few years ago, just noticed the link no longer works, will try and find an up to date one!
 

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We play tug with the dumbell, obviously us holding end/s dog middle, to increase desire.
Sometimes people find it helpful to bind the spindle with string, others find a wooden dumbells more dog friendly, we just use unbound plastic ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Am I right in thinking you are wanting to teach a formal retrieve for working trials?
Yes, I went to watch a trial local to me last weekend & it was amazing! Roxy would love this & I have been building up training around alot of the various exercises & she is really enjoying these sessions.

I am hoping that we can work towards entering an intro stake in the near future although we still have alot of work to do but at least we now have a goal
 

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I can't log into where I stored the video any more, I'm guessing if you don't use your account for a period of time you are deleted, never mind!

I use plastic ones because that's what the trainers used, and we broke the exercise down so trained the dog to hold the dumbell as an exercise in itself, rather than train the whole thing at once, hope that makes sense :eek:
 
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I like this process - backchaining. Start with the end behavior, and work backwards from there. This is how I trained my guy’s formal retrieve. Obviously you would do it with a dumbbell instead of a bumper. I use hard plastic because I don’t want to encourage mouthing/chewing with wood - we get points off for that.

Clicker Training a Bird Dog Retrieve Part 1 Shaping and Chaining The Basic Retrieve - YouTube

The trick is to not up the criteria too quickly, don’t change the variables too quickly. But not too slowly either ;) Let the dog direct you. The timing of your click really matters too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the advice. We had several short sessions today & she has done really well. She will now retrieve the dumbell, sit & hold it for several seconds whioch I will eventually try to increase. I kept the sessions quite short & then she had a reward of retrieving & playing tug with her kong toy

I think it just threw me at first as I have never really had to teach her to pick things up as it's something that she seems to do all the time usually
 

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Sounds like your doing brilliant, with Chester it took him a while to catch on I wanted him to hold onto it ..

Wish now though I had used something softer, so I could practice in doors..the dumbell is just a little solid for throwing in doors :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Sounds like your doing brilliant, with Chester it took him a while to catch on I wanted him to hold onto it ..

Wish now though I had used something softer, so I could practice in doors..the dumbell is just a little solid for throwing in doors :D
LOL, we practised 'hold' indoors today & it's the holding it she's not overly keen on. She dropped it quickly a couple of times ..... right on my toes! :eek:

Still better mine than hers as I wouldn't want to put her off! :D
 

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LOL, we practised 'hold' indoors today & it's the holding it she's not overly keen on. She dropped it quickly a couple of times ..... right on my toes! :eek:

Still better mine than hers as I wouldn't want to put her off! :D
It may be light....but boy it hurts!!

I need to work on chester actually giving me the dumbell as now he has started to spit it out at me , expecting his treat............you just can't win! Lol
 

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The Clicked Retriever: Amazon.co.uk: Lana Mitchell: Books

This is a good book.

One of the main reasons that many dogs do not retrieve dumbells properly is because they cannot without hurting themselves.

the plastic ones for example do not lie very far off the ground, so for many dogs they cannot get their lower jaw under it properly.

Also many dumbells are the wrong width for the dog

And the corners are not chamfered to keep they eyesight clear.

It is worth experimenting with width, depth etc for one that is "just right" for your dog.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
It may be light....but boy it hurts!!

I need to work on chester actually giving me the dumbell as now he has started to spit it out at me , expecting his treat............you just can't win! Lol
Yep, that's pretty much what Toby does! Roxy is alot better but I think that's more luck than my training!

That's the spirit - no pain, no gain....LOL
LOL, bruised toes today - just another dog related injury to add to my list.

The Clicked Retriever: Amazon.co.uk: Lana Mitchell: Books

This is a good book.

One of the main reasons that many dogs do not retrieve dumbells properly is because they cannot without hurting themselves.

the plastic ones for example do not lie very far off the ground, so for many dogs they cannot get their lower jaw under it properly.

Also many dumbells are the wrong width for the dog

And the corners are not chamfered to keep they eyesight clear.

It is worth experimenting with width, depth etc for one that is "just right" for your dog.
Another member (SLB) recommended this to me when we were on the gun dog seminar - will order it now to add to my collection!

It does seem more problematic for her to actually pick it up, I don't think I appreciated how difficult this could be tbh.

Having seen other dogs just retrieve one makes it look easy but Roxy did seem to have a few problems working out how to pick one up & kept going for the corners rather than the bar.

I will have a look at different ones & maybe get a couple more to experiment with which ones she seems more comfortable with.

Is there anything I should be doing to get her to increase the time she holds the article for? I have watched numerous clips which suggest increasing the amount of time before you click but am just wondering how I can get her to recognise that this is what I want.

I did think of saying 'wait' as she held it but again am worried this is an extra command added to the sequence which may just confuse her.
 
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