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Thread: Finishing the retrieve helper

  1. #1
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Default Finishing the retrieve helper

    My dog is inconsistent about finishing retrieves at heel. She marks well and loves to fetch so enthusiasm is not an issue but usually at some point she'll bolt and go galloping off with the bumper. I've been using a long line but it's a pain. The other day I got the idea of using an overhead line. I put it into practice tonight and it worked pretty well.

    I spent about $15 on materials at Lowes. I strung 100 ft of 1/4" rope like a clothes line: 8 ft off the ground at one end and 3 ft at the other. Then I fashioned an 8 ft lead with a dog clip on one end and a snap ring on the other.

    Then I stood under the high end and threw the marks to the low end. The theory being as the dog approaches the low end it has more side-to-side slack in case my throw is off or if the bumper takes a weird bounce and then as she returns the lead shortens up limiting her ability to stray.

    I'm happy to report it worked out pretty well but we have more to do. The frustrating thing for me is she sits and stays on the sit command and I can walk off 100+ yards and she will come to heel but put a bumper in her mouth and it's a crap-shoot.

    We're also working on holding the bumper since she spits it out at my feet before coming to heel.

    As always I welcome your suggestions.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  2. #2
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    "We're also working on holding the bumper since she spits it out at my feet before coming to heel." Sounds like you need more work on basic OB with the bumper and Force Fetch. I love the idea on your overhead line. Shows your thinking,,,,,,,,,thats great. You don't mention how old your dog is or if your following any sort of training program, which, if not would be a good idea. Keep tasks simple and build to more complex tasks. No fault in returning to a simple task when your failing at the complex task. Thats where a training program will help you. Just my thoughts. Duckdon

  3. #3
    Member Erik in AK's Avatar
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    Thanks Don!
    Yes I always start and end each session with some simple basic obedience. We're enrolled in the weekly beginning retriever classes offered by the AWRC/ARC.

    She's 17 months and behind the curve age-wise but that's my fault.
    She walks at heel and sits reliably. I introduced the whistle just this week but she's catching on fast.

    I'm also doing working on "Hold/Give" independantly of other training--3 to 5 minute sessions 2-3 times a day. Before we move on to more advanced things she has to master the single mark correctly.

    I don't have any deadlines so I will be as patient as I need to be. She's a smart enough dog. I just have to execute my end better.
    If cave men had been trophy hunters the Wooly Mammoth would be alive today

  4. #4
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    She's trying to play with you. Playing keep away, chase me for the bumper, and I don't know what all. If you watch a litter of pups play, you'll see it. One will have something and the others will chase or the one with it will try to entice the others into keep away or tug or chase or some **** thing or other. She is being disobedient but not aloof or anything. She thinks retrieving is a game and you're playing with her. She's playing back.

    I'd force fetch her right now.

  5. #5
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    This is partly repeat from a post on another question. A form of Force or rather controlled, programmed retrieve is needed for sure. BUT -Why should she come to you? Because she will be punished or because she gets another retrieve or a reward? What you want to do is create a chain of events. Hold, fetch, carry, sit, hold and drop REWARD. What ever that is that gets her going. In the same order every time. I go through all the steps individually. If you keep it in that order you train yourself and the dog at the same time.


    Create the "WANT TO DO IT " before you enforce the "HAVE TO DO IT "
    Also if she is running off time to quit but you should try to end on a good note. The last thing you want to do is drag her back where she should have returned and punish her. Seen it done too many times.

    Seriously, If I can get a doodle to do it without old timey force surely anyone with any thoughtfulness can do it.

    Linda Henning and Mr Jack Barkley.

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