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    Thread: Hold help

    1. #1
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      Hold help

      OK, i am obviously not doing something right. Scout still does not have the "Hold" concept down. He has been soooooo easy to teach other things to, so somehow what i'm doing isn't translating to what i want. Input appreciated! this was supposed to be what i taught him over the winter before we got back to training, but we've been very fortunate with this unusual weather such that we've been able to train most of the so-called winter!

      I have tried a few things (including when he is fun retrieving to me in the yard backing away and saying hold hold hold, and only when ready saying Out , thinking that will re-enforce the idea to hold on to objects until told to release), and the main "teaching" thing i have done inside has been something one of the breeders has been doing with her dogs to teach hold. Start in a chair, hold the bumper/dumbell/whatever in your hand in front of your knees. if the dog reaches for it, say yes (or clic if you do that, i haven't), eventually they touch it, bigger yes/reward. dog opens mouth and places it around bumper, really big yes/reward. all the time stepping up expectation to get rewarded. dog actually has bumper in mouth, really big reward, and no more rewards unless its in the mouth. All good so far. but no sooner does he have it in his mouth, than he wants to spit it out. and much of the time, i let go and he drops it. hard to introduce the command "Hold" unless its in his mouth, not being dropped out. I have tried (very limited trying) holding his mouth closed with the bumper in it - thats just a big struggle, and didnt seem to be getting us anywhere.

      do i just need to persevere with physically holding his mouth around the object? i have wanted this retrieving game to be fun for him-it really is the one thing he seems to get excited about, but unless i can teach this, we aren't going to be able to continue this spring. its a bit frustrating for me, the group we train with, for crying out loud, the 2 young dogs/puppies (just over a year, and about 9 months) both proudly prance around HOLDING whatever they're given.

      And yes, "excited" is a relative term.... Scout's idea of a retrieve is to quickly canter (the only time the boy seems to all-out sprint is after rabbits and squirrels, and he is fast enough that he catches them) out to the fall, pick up the duck, and trot back to the line.... not a Rocket Dog by any stretch, but i swear, he quivers on the line, tail is going the whole time, and he is thrilled when he knows its dead duck day... I believe the word a few folks have used is "methodical".

      strangely, coming out of water, he seems to hold the duck longer/better than he does on land retrieves. i had wondered if that had something to do with the stronger desire to get it to me and get back to my side so he could go again- definitely more enthusiasm for water work than land work. I was thinking about RD's ability to maintain a sit/heel position so that she could be released for another retrieve, vs breaking the sit/heel position in the petstore.

      Saturday we did back to back singles, on 90 degree angles, but thrown from the treelines again. The one dog working on her JH got that turned into a double. Then we worked the push/pull drill, tying it into the wagon wheel drill. That was out in the middle of the field, but they did better than last week, i think it had to do with the push/pull, so better at watching where they were pointed, rather than running off the treeline. Funny, the 1st and 2nd retrieves of the drill were his normal speed, but the more retrieves we did (there were 6 "spokes" in that drill) the faster he got. AND the better he got at bringing the bird all the way right back to me, and getting his butt planted beside me. I think the last 2 birds were actually to hand.

      The golden retriever i had previously mentioned that had cancer, he was out on Saturday, having a fantastic time, happy as all get out. He did great! and other than his snout being swollen, you';d never know anything was wrong. Got an email today at lunch, they let him go this morning. I think he was going for his bi-weekly checkup this morning. They'd both said they didnt want to see him not being himself, wanted to let him go before it got to that. So glad that he got to come out the last 2 saturdays to do what he loved. He was just 6 yrs old.
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    2. #2
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      I can show you what works for us, but it's hard to explain. If you're interested I can make a video and send the link.

      I went through this as well and when I tried to (gently) hold my dog's mouth around the object, he became afraid of it and I had to re-introduce him to it over about a three month period. That was awful. I might as well have hit him with it. Repeatedly.

    3. #3
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      Sure, if you wouldnt mind, all ideas welcomed!

    4. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Scoutpout View Post
      Sure, if you wouldnt mind, all ideas welcomed!
      OK, it might be this weekend. And maybe I'll do it on Sam (I haven't worked on hold with him at all) as well.

      I take you have a good pick-up?

      And, is this just on birds or are you looking at bumpers, dumbbells, scent articles or anything else specific?

    5. #5
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      Probably an unpopular opinion on this forum (although not at all unpopular with 97% of the rest of the dog fancy) but I would think stop dragging this out and get it taught.

      I'm all for going slow and shaping stuff...but it's not working. Open his mouth, put a bumper in. If he spits it out, open his mouth again and put the bumper in. If he spits it out again, open his mouth and put the bumper in. He'll figure it out, praise when he keeps it there.

      My puppy learned a reliable hold (at 4.5 months) in 1 day. My older dog learned a hold as an adult...he was reliable in 2 days.

      Sometimes shaping drags things out longer than it should. Easier and much less frustrating to the dog to just give them some gentle direction and get the job done. Then move on to more fun stuff!

    6. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      OK, it might be this weekend. And maybe I'll do it on Sam (I haven't worked on hold with him at all) as well.

      I take you have a good pick-up?

      And, is this just on birds or are you looking at bumpers, dumbbells, scent articles or anything else specific?
      I feel "HOLD" should apply to whatever he has, a bird, bumper, dumbbell, whatever it is we're working with. for all practical purposes with him, it will be birds dumbbells/dokkens and obedience dumbbells.

      "get it" usually gets it picked up....

    7. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by indybindy View Post
      Probably an unpopular opinion on this forum (although not at all unpopular with 97% of the rest of the dog fancy) but I would think stop dragging this out and get it taught.

      I'm all for going slow and shaping stuff...but it's not working. Open his mouth, put a bumper in. If he spits it out, open his mouth again and put the bumper in. If he spits it out again, open his mouth and put the bumper in. He'll figure it out, praise when he keeps it there.

      My puppy learned a reliable hold (at 4.5 months) in 1 day. My older dog learned a hold as an adult...he was reliable in 2 days.

      Sometimes shaping drags things out longer than it should. Easier and much less frustrating to the dog to just give them some gentle direction and get the job done. Then move on to more fun stuff!
      Not really unpopular, i had just figured i could get the concept to him without the physical putting it in his mouth bit. Those 2 young dogs i mentioned (in mild frustration) in the 1st post? they were taught with the method i was trying to teach Scout. they LOVE to hold things. sigh. looks like i've wasted almost 2 months.

    8. #8
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      Yes, my dogs too love to hold things...my young guy is obsessed with holding things. His feelings were not hurt when I added a few rules to his favorite game!

      I just think drawing this out is handicapping you guys. How will you ever progress to disciplined casting, swim by, and cheating singles if he can't simply hold a bumper? Heck, how will you even progress to passing a junior test without a hold?

      He obviously loves what he is doing. Imagine how much fun he'll have when you start learning new stuff instead of hitting the same thing (hold) everyday

    9. The Following User Says Thank You to indybindy For This Useful Post:

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    10. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Scoutpout View Post
      Not really unpopular, i had just figured i could get the concept to him without the physical putting it in his mouth bit. Those 2 young dogs i mentioned (in mild frustration) in the 1st post? they were taught with the method i was trying to teach Scout. they LOVE to hold things. sigh. looks like i've wasted almost 2 months.
      It took me awhile, too. I started when he was older, so it was much harder to change criteria, which is what you are doing as well, but with a much longer history.

      I did start with the method IndyBindy suggested (with a trainer) and it worked against us. Took me months to get him from being afraid of the exercise, let alone anything that looked like a dowel or dumbbell. I could have stuck with it, and he eventually would have done it, but it would have been submitting to it out of fear, which isn't my thing.

    11. #10
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      Lol, knew this would happen. Hilarious. My older dog learned this as an adult too. Did he turn into a quivering puddle of a labrador? No, he didn't. He learned a new thing and then we moved on.

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