Lab puppy struggling with retrieving

Discussion in 'Labrador Training' started by TEE, May 9, 2019.

  1. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    How time flies. Perci is now 19 weeks old. I guess from next week I should start speaking in months

    Things are going well in part due to the crate and the invaluable advice on this forum. Feels all the issues we face someone already has worked through them and offered advice

    Yet one thing I struggle is the retrieve. And I recognize the problem is with me and the fact I likely didn’t play retrieve related games with her enough. I have started to do a lot of playing with identical toys which I can swap and tug. Although slow to pick up on it we are turning into a good team. Also working in a hallway where I throw a toy and reward for the retrieve to me - getting close to me is already enough. But on the second try consistently she does not return but instead drops down and chews. I guess I am falling at how I reward the trade? Does it require a jackpot treat? Where am I going wrong? Any advice or link to a former discussion much appreciated
    Best,
    TEE
     
  2. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    If you're doing this the conventional way, you'd run away from her to encourage her to come chasing after you with the dummy....

    But really I would recommend the clicker retrieve and fully formalising the whole process for best results.
     
  3. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @TEE you might find the following training film to be of some interest. It relates, in part, to Jo's first sentence

     
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  4. edzbird

    edzbird Registered Users

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  5. Anthony Abrao

    Anthony Abrao Registered Users

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    Great video. I would like to add the important part of the tossing. When teaching a dog to retrieve, it would be worthwhile to only throw the toy a few feet until the behavior is better understood. When Captain and i worked on the behavior, he seemed not to have interest in bringing the toy back all the way. He would go chase it, grab it, carry it for a few gallops, and drop it while still running back to me. The shorter tosses allowed him to see that the reward was with the delivery of the retrieved item.
    We also ran into a development of keep away. He learned that when he brought me the item and dropped it i would quickly take it and toss it after rewarding him. I changed my rewards to some petting, excited talk, a game of tug of war, or even letting him lie around and chew on the toy for a few seconds. This made a quick change that seemed to enforce "it's okay to give this up because i will get something AWESOME in return".
    Nowadays, i use one of those ball throwing devices because Captain enjoys a good game of fetch with long runs. I enjoy his joy, and the level of exhaustion it gives him.
     
  6. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    As always valuable feedback. thanks for that. As luck would have it the same day I drafted my initial note, Perci and I made good step forward. Patience and little steps pay off. That said, I am now left at a x-road in terms of approach. The clicker retrieve suggested by Jo makes all the sense in the world. But equally does the approach of the video. I guess I will try a bit of both and see how Perci and I get on. will report back :tail:
     
  7. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    As always theory is easy, yet putting it to use is initially tricky. Having focused a bit more on the clicker retrieve I must admit it is odd to allow for drop to the floor initially but I understand the rational behind. The pick up is no problem however as the bumper has a loop at the end Perci prefers to pick it up there over the middle of bumper.

    Initially I clicked any pickup but then only C&T when she picked up close to middle. This requires easily 10 tries and me taking steps away. Am I demanding to much to early or should i cut of the loop at the end? I guess ultimately it requires patience and repetitions so will stay at it a bid longer :)

    Also I have realized that the right treat reward does change the dynamics and Perci’s desire to offer the right behavior. Hence I will explore a bit more what she really craves. Certainly will try the sardines:)

    Will report
    Thomas
     
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  8. edzbird

    edzbird Registered Users

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    Perhaps tape the loop down so Perci cannot grip it (the loop is handy for throwing it later). But you're right, patience & repetitions are the key.
     
  9. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    I would get a large elastic band and strap the flappy part of the dummy tight to the dummy. If there is a throw rope on the dummy, remove that.

    But besides those easy adjustments, don't sweat how the dog picks it up - because the majority of dogs will fix this themselves with more experience and more retrieves. They just have to learn to open their mouths wider really. If you are too picky about this, at this early stage, you risk the dog not feeling successful enough and giving up.
     
  10. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    Jo
    Again once more your advice has been spot on. 7/10 she now picks it up perfectly. She is figuring out on her own that in the middle is actually easier to carry or hold. Baby steps ...
    Best
    Thomas
     
  11. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Very good!
     
  12. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    Thought I provide an update on our progress. This morning in the park made her sit and stay. Walked 10 steps into the field and placed bumper behind tree. Walked back, stretched my arm in direction of bumper and sent her off. Retrieved bumper but dropped it short of my hand. Having done this a few times now she really loves this exercise. I am focused not to make it to hard and I also allow the drop as I guess that can be corrected quickly. I also do a lot of playing and trading with identical toys where she gets to retrieve as part of the play game. It always amazes me how little steps can mature into more complex steps. Careful not move to quickly and instead praise and play around with her as reward in addition to food rewards
     
  13. Michael A Brooks

    Michael A Brooks Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi @TEE

    Good work. My ears pricked at your observation that she is enjoying it. Good training. Motivation is a principal component of any training.

    I would be inclined to work on getting her to hold it and deliver to your hand on cue sooner rather than later.. If you put it off too long then the pattern of dropping can become harder to undo.

    I would teach it as a separate exercise in a low distraction and familiar environment, then combine with the rest of the parts of the retrieve, then take to generalizing it..
     
  14. TEE

    TEE Registered Users

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    thanks, Michael. Will continue to work on it. The enjoying part is a real focus of mine - now more than ever before. It is so easy to focus on the skill and forget the fun for the dog. I am the first who is guilty of that. Ultimately, there is nobody to impress, but rather to have a happy dog and a strong bond.
     
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  15. Jo Laurens

    Jo Laurens Registered Users

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    Trying running backwards as she is approaching you carrying the dummy. This will make her accelerate more into you, rather than slowing down and dropping....
     

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