Returning with an object.

Hints, tips, and discussion in regard to the training of "mini-peakes"

Returning with an object.

Postby jdavis92 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 4:26 pm

I need some help getting Artie to come back with an object. This is a long post so bear with me because I'm a little frustrated right now and could use some advice.

I'm using (to the best of my ability) Bill Hillmann's methods for training. Artie is 4 months old, knows "sit" about 80/20 with the 20 being in a situation with distractions. Knows "here" about 60/40 so I need to work on that. Knows "fetch" as a concept but not a command that has been enforced, I'm still teaching it to her as I am trying to get her to come back to me when I throw something for her to retrieve. If I am interpreting Hillmann correctly, I want to get Artie to be absolutely NUTS about retrieving before I get into more of the nuts and bolts training concepts. I want to keep the "balance" of work and fun for her, and me, but it's tough when she won't bring the object back to me.

Here's a typical session:

Whether in the backyard, or at the park, or in some light cover, I get Artie excited with any number of objects mostly a paint roller with a duck wing, but I've used a small soft nylon bumper, a plastic bumper, a teal dokken, a pheasant wing, a frozen ringneck, you name it.

She gets really amped up and jumping around trying to get the object. I let her take it from my hand with a "fetch" and let her roam with it in her mouth for a few seconds. I'll take it from her with a "drop" and repeat once or twice more.

Then I'll do super short throws (again with the word fetch) for her to retrieve off the ground and again let her walk around with the object a little bit before taking it from her. In both of these short cases she has a rope on her and doesn't run off with the object, in fact she generally stays right around me while walking with the object in her mouth.

Then...................go for something a little longer, maybe 10 yards, out of arms length, just out of rope length (but I could take a few steps and reel her in). Get her excited, throw the object, she bolts after it, usually mouths it a bit (more than necessary I think), I get super excited, act like a goof, say GOOD GIRL, clap my hands, walk backwards a little bit.......and she stares at me, head held high, tail in the air, as if to say " thanks for the bumper you goof". UGH.

A couple of times I have thrown her much longer marks (25 yards) and when she picks up the bumper I say "here" loudly, blow the recall whistle, while backing up more quickly, and she comes running back, but she's not consistent. I've wondered if doing that once, successfully, then stopping the session would be valuable.

More info: I am using food lures occasionally for OB work around the house and when socializing out of the house. I use them sparingly when playing "the game". We take at least one walk a day that is just for exploring the woods near my house.

If you made it this far, thanks. I tried to put useful information in there. If you need more information in order to help me out, I'll provide as much as I can. Thanks in advance.

Jeff in Flagstaff
jdavis92
 
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby jdavis92 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:32 pm

I'll add this, which I hope is useful. She doesn't hold very well. By that I mean she almost never picks up the object and hangs onto it when chasing after it. She'll just barely pick it up and will usually drop it, seemingly by accident, in whatever direction she goes.

I have tried to encourage her to hang onto it more by just letting her fetch it up and walk around with it in her mouth while on the lead. Some times are better than others. She will pick up sticks on her own while on walks and hold them until she's tired of them and drops them.

I thought maybe she has an overly soft mouth but I've observed her rolling and chomping objects with plenty of pressure so I don't know. I hope when her adult teeth come in that this goes away on it's own.

Jeff in Flagstaff
Last edited by jdavis92 on Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby jdavis92 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:55 pm

OK, for those of you thinking, "This guy is a NUT!" You're right.

Came home for lunch. Tried the same old routine in the backyard with about the same results (what's the old saying about insanity?).

Put her back in her kennel and made lunch for myself. I decided to take a step back. I made a "long hallway" with the living room furniture and a wall. I grabbed the smallest, softest bumper I have and got Artie out of her kennel. I positioned myself about 15ft from the end of the "hall" , got her excited, threw the bumper, said fetch, and...she picked it up rather cleanly and brought it all the way back to me. I praised the be-jesus out of her and repeated a couple more times. Then put her away for the day. I'll try again after work. Wife's probably not going to be enthused about the furniture rearrangements.

Any other thoughts?

Jeff in Flagstaff
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby Rick Hall » Wed Aug 15, 2018 10:57 am

Think you've been confusing the heck out of the poor dog with all the "encouragements" in the yard when she's not yet done anything to be praised for and need to stick with simple hallway work and only praising after she's brought the object to you until you've clarified and conditioned the desired action. Then you can take it outside and eventually add distance and distraction - without making a distraction of yourself.
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby jdavis92 » Wed Aug 15, 2018 2:45 pm

Thanks Rick. I hadn't thought about my goofiness being confusing to her.

Taking a step back and doing hallway work is going well. Very short sessions of three retrieves and lots of praise, after she brings it back to me, is working well. Then, as you said, we'll move outside and add distance.

Thanks again.

Jeff in Flagstaff
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby jdavis92 » Thu Aug 16, 2018 2:29 pm

Rick,

Can I get some clarification from you on your comment?

Are you suggesting my level of encouragement to bring the object back, based on what I wrote, is largely unnecessary?

My impression is this; if she's not super enthusiastic about bringing the object back to me, isn't it in my best interest to get a little goofy in order to get her attention and come back to me, even if that wasn't her first thought? I wasn't praising her for running out and getting the object as much as I was getting a little nutty to get her attention and encourage her to come back to me.

I "found" another hallway outside, made up of the house and the shed. The past couple of days I'll throw a cloth bumper or a racquetball (she's teething) in the house and she'll bring it back with little fanfare. Virtually the same set up, just outside, and it seems like she's looking for something else to be interested in after picking up the object. This is where I think I should get goofy to try and obtain/retain her attention.

Thoughts? Thanks.

Jeff in Flagstaff
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby Rick Hall » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:30 pm

Could have saved yourself a whole lot of hassle by teaching "come" first, so you could tell Pup what to do next after it picked a bumper up.

But to clarify my earlier observation, it reads like your vocal "encouragement" while the dog is en route or only part way through the retrieve is a distraction at best and/or a reward for screwing up at worst. If you bite your tongue until/unless Pup has gotten something right, you'll send a much clearer message.
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby jdavis92 » Fri Aug 17, 2018 3:38 pm

Thanks Rick.

I'll dial back what's coming out of my mouth and wait until she does something worth praising.

I mentioned she is 60/40 on "here" and getting better everyday. She's a lot closer to 100% since we've been working on it a lot. Probably unfairly, I was hoping she'd just bring the object back to me because she wanted to...because she figured out that bringing it back to me and getting another retrieve was more fun than anything else.

Jeff in Flagstaff
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Re: Returning with an object.

Postby Rick Hall » Sat Aug 18, 2018 10:43 am

jdavis92 wrote:I was hoping she'd just bring the object back to me because she wanted to...because she figured out that bringing it back to me and getting another retrieve was more fun than anything else.


Could be she was on her way to just that during early hallway play and got moved to a larger, more confusing arena before it was well enough conditioned. But it's still nice to have "come" in place for clarification if and when the pattern's interrupted.
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