Teaching A Directed Retrieve

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by mtagntz, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. mtagntz Active Member

    I have been trying to teach Thor how to do a directed retrieve, and failing.

    I was diligent with him not chewing on or carrying around something that wasn't "his" and now he doesn't seem to want to pick up anything that he doesn't think is his.

    I am trying to teach him to bring me a phone as a task, and he just plain old won't do it. I have tried clicking and treating for touching it, but he won't go beyond that.

    Should I wrap it in something to make it more appealing? Anybody have any suggestions on this?
    MaryK likes this.

  2. MaryK Honored Member

    Cannot offer any really good solutions as I am having the same problem. I couldn't get my boy to even target, until I put organic peanut butter on the end of the target stick. So what I suggest is to try smearing something, maybe not your phone, like peanut butter on an object which isn't his and when he touches it click/treat.

    I am sure that others will know more and I too will be glad to learn from this thread.
  3. southerngirl Honored Member

    Have you taught him to hold and walk around with one of His toys yet? That's what I had to do before teaching my dog Missy to carry other objects.
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  4. mtagntz Active Member

    He will carry HIS toys perfectly. I can tell him to go grab it and he will happily bring it to me and hold it. It is just stuff he knows aren't his toys. He won't even do his leash.
    MaryK likes this.
  5. southerngirl Honored Member

    Hmm.. How about having an old phone and making it a game, get him really excited about it than toss it and call him when he brings it to you and tell him drop it "make a huge deal out of it click, jackpot and good boys. After he's fetched it a few times simply put it on the ground and tell him to pick it up or whatever word you use for it.
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  6. Dogster Honored Member

    I think you could teach him to fetch objects if you tied one of his toys around the object (best thing to use is those Skineez stuffing free toy:))
    MaryK likes this.
  7. Adrianna & Calvin Experienced Member


    I think a phone is a difficult thing to teach at first. In general, dogs are more reluctant to pick up hard things than soft, so why not try a rolled up pair of socks as a starter? And then once he learns the behavior, move on to a slipper, a shoe, and so on.

    I'm sorry, I can't remember if I mentioned this to you already or not -- have you checked out Sue Ailsby's Training Levels? You can get the latest version as an e-book for $25. She has written the whole book as a way to create a foundation for any type of training, and many people use it as a basis to train their own service dogs. I highly recommend it. There is an associated yahoo list called 'training levels' (IIRC) that you can join to ask questions as you go along.

    ETA: This Youtube trainer is really good, I haven't seen all of her videos but I've seen many and she knows what she's doing. She does a lot of service-dog-oriented stuff:
    part 1

    part 2
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  8. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Good advice A & C. I agree, I think you're starting with something much too hard (in his mind). A phone is a hard, heavy object; it's true, many dogs do take issue picking up and carrying hard objects (except maybe rocks in the yard, and things they shouldn't :rolleyes:) . Start lighter (assuming you're not talking about a little smart phone) and softer - and gradually work up. Work in tiny tiny increments. You said you were diligent about him not touching things that weren't his - so depending on what that means and his temperament, you could have a lot of convincing to do. Be patient and make sure you reward quickly and heavily for anything and everything. Watch as many videos as you can also, as you can most likely find things to draw from, even if you don't find specifically what you're looking for.
    Dogster and MaryK like this.
  9. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Have been at a seminar all weekend, and a lot of time was spent today on holds with duration and directed retrieves. The seminar was given by Michele Pouliot, she's been with Guide Dogs for the Blind since 1974, so knows a bit about training service dogs. They start with dumbells and once that is solid, then intro other articles, but depending on the dog, it can be a slow process, going only as fast as the dog can go. We saw lots of video, and some went fast - others had trouble. Do watch as many videos as you can, and start slow, use a dumbell or maybe a rope (as shown in the one video), get a solid hold with duration, then a give, then a retrieve, then the whole thing. Then work up to the phone. Don't rush Thor, start with the basics -- ya gotta walk before you can run. :)
    http://cdf-freestyle.com/about.htm (Michele Pouliot's site, for reference)
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  10. Dlilly Honored Member

    This video helped me out so much! I used the method where I have Shiloh touch my hand. That worked perfectly for her.

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  11. slimbek Well-Known Member

    As a slight aside - I'd love to know of any existing posts out there that teach dogs to leave objects that aren't theirs... we're expecting our first child in December and there'll sure be a lot of items about that we don't want Richo getting a hold of!
  12. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I don't want to see this thread get hijacked - does Richo know a good solid "leave it"? If not, start working on that now, as a new baby with baby toys will mean constant monitoring - as toys are toys, and a pup just can't be expected to know what's his and what's not. For more info or help, please start a new thread so this one can still be dedicated to a directed retrieve, and lots of us will chime in with help and suggestions. Please don't think I'm being rude or mean - just trying to keep this thread on the subject - and encouraging you to start another one dedicated to your subject.
    Dogster, southerngirl and MaryK like this.
  13. slimbek Well-Known Member

    Of course!
    Thanks for that.
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