Commands in mid-retrieve?

Discussion in 'Obedience Training' started by tx_cowgirl, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Okay, I know at least one member knows how to teach this, because he and Ellie have mastered it. Seen vids. Well done CollieMan.

    So, I've worked some on sitting/down/whatever-stay in mid heel--walking with dog at heel and then giving a command. Handler never stops, continues to walk, but dog immediately drops back into a sit/stand/down-stay. But I'm not sure where to start when teaching a dog to do something in mid-retrieve. In CM's vids I've seen him send Ellie out for a retrieve and have her down halfway there, or sit, or stop, or whatever. I know how to teach the stop, but not the rest. In Skidboot's vids, he will stalk a toy and stop, back up, spin, etc on command before ever getting to the toy. If my question is unclear, feel free to ask. :) Big thanks in advance!!

  2. fickla Experienced Member

    I understand your question but I don't know if I know entirely how to answer it for you. I have not personally done this yet with Lance as we are still working on getting him really motivated for his retrieves so I don't want to interrupt that yet.
    We do however do drops on recall (i interrupt the come by asking him to down) and do "wait" when he's running after something else or just gets too far ahead of me on walks. So I'll just tell you the order I teach those things:

    1. getting distance on my cues. My dogs have to learn that when I say "sit" (or whatever) they do the cue right where they are and don't move towards me to do it. I start slowly and if I'm having lots of problems consider doing it behind a baby gate or with the dog tethered at first. I throw the treat behind them a lot after I click to reinforce not coming to me.

    2. Commands in motion. You've done at least part of this if you can tell dog the sit/down/etc while walking and not pause at all. I also practice this when I'm walking backwards with my dogs in front of me coming towards me. Work up till walking backwards with them, say down, and keep walking backwards without them.

    3. Combining distance and motion towards me (drop on recalls). I start having them stay while I walk away, call them to come, and then drop (or sit) them at farther and farther distances away, always making the distance random though. If I'm having problems with this, you could try Sue Ailsbys method of just having them stop on the recall first, and then start adding in the down. She has the dog move towards her and constantly click a certain distance away, throws the treat away, dog runs away to eats and approaches again, she again clicks the same distance, throws teat, etc. The dog starts to anticipate where she is clicking and starts automatically stopping there. Then she works on adding the cue and doing it at different distances.

    4. Combining distance and motion away from me (Go outs). I teach the dog to touch a target away from me, and then having them sit/down/etc after they touch the target.

    5. Interrupting the go out. I start asking my dog to turn and sit before they reach the target. If you want to have a formal obedience go out you would work on fading the target, but for purposes of just teaching them this you don't need to.

    So that's kind've what I do with my dogs as foundations for what you're looking to do. You've probably already done all of the above, but may want to go back and readdress one of the steps if you're having issues. So if your dog can already do step five, I would start putting out other things to send him to, working up to having his favorite toy out there.

    I love Skidboot! That trick is obviously very complex and requires a lot more than a simple stop on the retrieve. I don't think I would ever have the time to train all that or a dog that obsessed with a toy to do that with!
  3. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    We've done lots of work on commands at a distance, but never commands in motion... If I put her in a sit stay, and go 50+ ft away she'll down, stand, and sit again on command, but I've never tried commands in mid-recall. We haven't done very much on go-outs but I've kind of touched on it a few times.

    Thanks a bunch for the tips!!! Excited to go try them now...^^ Skidboot was great. :doghappy: I think something like this would be my goal for Zeke....his ball obsession is almost unhealthy, and this kind of self-control work would be wonderful for him.
  4. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Found this vid as well by Kikopup.

    I don't use mats for anything but I can see where this would be helpful. But if I ever decided to use it for anything else....
    What do you think?
  5. xena98 Experienced Member

    The only thing you should be careful about doing the drop on recall is that the dog can anticipate the drop. Alot of our competition dogs do fail on that exercise cause they are always practicing the drop. Another problem that you get in competition is the dog slowing down anticipating the drop and not coming in a fast recall.
    Danni and the girls
  6. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    Mudflap has a very enthusiastic "come," lol, so perhaps she wouldn't have this problem....

    Would it help to move the mat to random distances so that she doesn't anticipate the drop halfway through, or 3/4 through, etc? I don't compete, but I do want competition quality performances.

    Or, should I simply use Fickla's advice? Any preference anyone?
  7. fickla Experienced Member

    The mat looks kind've cool, but I don't know if I would teach it this way for long. To me it just seems like one more thing you would have to fade for competition. My dogs already know the mat trick, but if anything I would use it more for practicing sits/downs/stands at a distance from me than a drop on recall or heel. But I guess for purposes of teaching her to drop on retrieving, it could be a place to start just so she understands the action involved.

    And I agree that a lot of dogs do start anticipating the drop on recall. Lance has a great fast come, and is really good at the drop, but after I do the first drop he starts coming slower because he thinks I'm going to drop him. From what I've read, there's generally 2 different strategies that positive trainers use to fix this. The first option is to just do comes all the time, and only rarely ask for a drop. The 2nd option is to drop them all the time at random distances- they believe that dogs start walking slowly because they are not fully confident with dropping in motion or what you're asking them to do, speed will come as the dog understands.
    I haven't decided what I will do with Lance yet.
  8. bighoneydog New Member

    I've taught Honey to drop on recall and I also randomly "drop" her when we are out on walks and she is just trotting around, sometimes away from me. She has a very good instant drop for a giant breed.

    Definitely get the dog used to following commands at a distance.
    Then you can also introduce commands while they are moving - eg, for drop on recall, I call her and run backwards with her running in front of me - then I give her the drop command (we use "Mat!" as opposed to "Down" - slightly different arrangement of the legs, allows her to go down and come up faster - things you have to consider when you have a 70kg dog!) and hand signal. I might pause to make sure that she is starting to go down - but then I keep running backwards. So she learns that when I give the command, she has to drop and remain there, even if I'm continuing to run backwards. Once I'm some distance away, I give the release command and lots of praise for her running towards me.

    Then we practised drop from a distance. Then we combined the two - I would call her to me and when she was quite close - give her the drop command and huge praise if she even hesitated or slowed down and of course, if she actually goes down. If she is doing this well, I would start giving the drop command earlier and earlier so that she is dropping further and further from me.
    AT THE SAME TIME - I was randomly giving her the drop command when we were out on our off=leash walks - so that she understands the command is to drop down at any time, not just only when she is doing recall.

    Honey caught on pretty quick. To prevent her anticipating it, I would practise normal Recalls and Drop on Commands together and vary which one I would ask - so she never knew if the next exercise was a straight recall or a she always comes very quickly. Sometimes she is slow but that's not because she is anticipating the drop - she can be slow on recall too - that is just her being slow because she is a giant breed and she is overheating or getting tired and losing concentration or whatever...

    She did go through one period when she was dropping a bit slowly and I solved this problem by throwing my keys at her front feet, AFTER I gave the command and IF she hesitated. I know this is not completely "positive" but I know my own dog and that she has no noise phobia, etc, so it was safe enough to do and it worked like magic. I only had to do it once - and after that, she dropped instantly whenever she heard the Mat command. But of course, I don't recommend this for every dog. This is what worked for me. You could probably achieve the same if you just try to click for faster drops - but that can sometimes take ages, especially if the dog is not offering faster drops for you to click. Sometimes, in my experience, it does help to introduce a "deterrent" to give the dog more of an incentive to make the right choice...but I know that is controversial, especially on a "positive" forum like this one.
  9. bighoneydog New Member

    Here is a video of me and Honey doing some Obedience exercises - and the Drop on Recall is one of them (towards the end of the video) - as you can see, she is pretty quick for a giant breed and she does it with lots of enthusiasm! :)

  10. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    We don't compete in anything, so mainly our training is fun and learning on both our parts. Mud isn't slow about anything as far as training goes, so no issue there.

    BigHoneyDog, nice vid. ^^ Honey is pretty quick for such a large breed. On the other end of the spectrum, my teacup chihuahua is slower than Honey. Not that he can't move quickly, but simply that he could care less about training. No treat, cooked food, or toy of any kind can get him to enjoy training. Lol! He's a grumpy little guy...but he's older now so if he doesn't want to give training a shot, then that's alright. He can be a lap-dweller. ;)

    Not sure what method to go with. Going to try some things and see how Mud responds. Guess she'll be the one to decide. Thanks a bunch everyone!
  11. xena98 Experienced Member

    Doesnt work I'm afraid. You have to teach them that they must learn the difference between the two commands. My border collie is good she comes flying in and does them brilliantly and every so often she will smack herself into the ground and drops on her own its like someone said drop. my coolie every so often slows down but doesnt drop though but she isnt still fast though and other times she just flies. If you drop them all the time at different distances they will anticipate. One of our rules that people do is every drop on recall its about 6 or 7 straight recalls
    Danni and the girls
  12. snooks Experienced Member

  13. tx_cowgirl Honored Member

    I haven't taught freeze as of yet. That's one I'm still trying to figure out. I'll see what I can do with that link. Thanks Snooks. :)

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