Teaching Retrieve

Discussion in 'Dog Tricks' started by Evie, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Evie Experienced Member

    Well I was about to hijack the other thread on 'mouthing while teaching hold' but thought I better not lol. So here's my question... how do you teach a good retrieve?

    Evie LOVES to play frisbee with me, but she NEVER brings the frisbee back to my feet, I usually have to walk 5-10 meters to where she's dropped it. Fickla mentioned in the other thread that they teach a good retrieve before even attempting hold... which is the exact opposite to what i'd been thinking lol. I'd intended on ensuring we have a fool proof hold, and then teach retrieve from that.. :confused:

    Any ideas or suggestions? Before this was mentioned I'd never even considered improving Evie's retrieve ...
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  2. Mutt Experienced Member

    Mazzel didn't retrieve at all (so much for a retriever huh :rolleyes:.
    He naturally started offering it after I learned him to tidy up toys. Just like that he nicely placed the ball in my hand if there was no box he could put it in.
    So what I would do is to teach Evy to put the frisbee in a box/on a bord or omething. Increasing the distance everytime, placing the box in front of your feed. As she gets the idea you can than remove the box. so she has a reference point at first of where you want the frisbee.

    Though I'm very interested in how to teach a hold after you have learned to retrieve. I just can't figure out how to teach it. The dogs spit it out as they don' see a purpose for it (like putting it in a box).
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  3. raymond upton Well-Known Member

    what I do to get jerry to bring the frisbee all the way back to me is when he starts getting close to where he would drop it i start walking backwards calling and praising him &clapping my hands together it works most of the time
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  4. sara Moderator

    I never taught Ollie to retrieve... my friend's Pit Bull did it for me LOL seriously, he learned by watching and playing with another fet/ball crazy dog LOL. I also taught him to "play catch" which involves him throwing the ball back to me, so he likes that and will always attempt to throw the ball for me to catch. so I never have to move :) not an obedience move, by any means, but fun for me and him :)

    here's his play catch it's at 2.54
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  5. DevonW Well-Known Member

    The picky reader trick killed me :LOL:
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  6. Dice Smith Well-Known Member

    I used a few different methods when I taught this to Kodi. The funny part was I never knew that some dogs had to be taught how to fetch, I always thought it was an inherent thing they instinctually did lol because my chihuahua T.C. loved to fetch and I never had to teach him it. So I was shocked when Kodi didn't know how to fetch!! :p

    Here's the few methods I used with him:

    1. I took two of Kodi's favorite toys (he's obsessed with balls) and would throw the first one a few feet in front of me for him to fetch. After he'd run after it, grab it and start bringing it back to me I'd excitedly show him the other toy and wiggle it and play with it. He'd come running to me with the toy he already had and drop it at my feet because he wanted the toy in my hand. So then I'd throw that toy and pick up the one he dropped and repeat the process over again. Each time he brought it all the way back I'd squeal and give him tons of praise. If he decided not to bring the toy back and instead dropped it a few feet away from me then I stopped the game and put his toys away. Initially I had given into him and would go up to him and grab the dropped toy, so I had to untrain that out of him. Boy, did I make a mistake!! I had unintentionally taught him a new game! :p Or rather, the smarty pants trained me to play his game. ;)

    2. I put him on a long leash and would toss his favorite toy a few feet away. Then once he'd retrieve it I'd call him back to me real excitedly and give him a treat. If he got distracted or would stop I'd gently give the leash a small tug (I stress that it was really gently, almost more like a wiggle just so he'd realize I was at the other end of the leash) and say his name happily while jumping up and down (hahaha I'll be the first to admit I look really, really weird when I'm training. I've actually had people stop and stare at me like, "What?...." O_o lol but that's another story!! :LOL:) He's always loved when I would jump for some reason so he always came running to me to see what was going on. And once he realized he got a treat for bringing the toy back to me when I was jumping he was overjoyed and would start jumping in the air himself.:ROFLMAO::rolleyes:

    Those are what worked for us and Kodi now has a solid retrieve, so I hope they might be of some help to you and Evie! It was a lot easier to teach him a solid hold after he learned to retrieve too. :)
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  7. 648117 Honored Member

    Holly is not a natural retriever, she is a natural theif so she would never bring things back :cautious: . She's still not perfect but she does return her (mini) tennis ball to my hand pretty well. I think if you teach Evie a "bring it" command (or whatever you want to call it) with a ball you could then apply it to the frisbee (although I've never played frisbee with a dog, I assume it's the same as with a ball). My obedience trainer showed us this because Holly had no interest in balls but I wanted her to learn to do fly-ball:
    What I did was cut a small slit in her tennis ball and then got her to watch me put a treat inside it. Then I threw it a short distance. Because the slit was small Holly could not get the treat out herself so I went over to her, picked up the ball and released the treat, then put another treat in and repeat (you might want to try this with a leash on the dog/in a confined area so they don't run off with the ball to chew it up to get the treat).
    Holly learn't that the ball had a treat in it but she needed me to get it out for her. So then once I'd thrown the ball she would bring it back for me to release the treat for her, then I increased the criteria so she had to put the ball into my hand before I would release the treat (by first catching the ball as she dropped it to give her an idea of what I wanted). Then I started giving her a different treat rather than the one in the ball so that I could transition to a ball without a slit and she would still bring it to me with the expectation of a treat.
    Doing this taught her to fetch and increased the value of the ball (she didn't even really chase balls before). Holly still isn't ball crazy but she will fetch the ball without needing a treat everytime (I still sometimes give her a treat to counteract her natural thief tendencies though). So you could try doing this with Evie but add the "bring it" command meaning she has to drop the ball at your feet/in your hand then use the cue with the frisbee.
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  8. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    If you already have a most of the way retrieve, you can move backwards, turn around and walk or run the other way to encourage your dog to continue bringing it to you. You want to start your movement right before the spot they would drop the frisbee. You need to use enough excitement to encourage your dog to come to you and not too much because they may decide to drop the frisbee and run to you. I have noticed a lot of people like to have the dog drop it at their feet, I prefer them to bring it to hand. This gives them a specific place to bring the object rather then somewhere on the ground near their person. I have noticed dogs tend to get farther and farther away when the end goal is dropping it.

    If they drop the frisbee to early go to it, squat next to it and move it around to make it more exciting. As soon as your dog grabs it step backward and encourage them to bring it to you. Increase the distance when your dog is successful.
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  9. fickla Experienced Member

    Well you CAN teach a hold before you teach the retrieve :) Many traditional trainers do so because that way they can correct the dog for dropping it. and many clicker trainers teach it that way so it's backchaining. However, I personally believe the hold is much more difficult and thus more boring for dogs and prefer to teach it AFTER I have already created so much value for retrieving that the dogs are more likely to stay in the game and have success with a hold. And actually many people don't even need a hold unless you're training for competition or you want it for picture taking :)

    For play retrieves, I like teaching it through tug if the dog already likes to play tug. Tug gives a reason for the dog to put it all the way back to your hand vs dropping it at a distance or at your feet for another toss. I play tug, let dog win, then run backwards, play tug. Progress to throwing the tug toy down a hallway, intercepting the dog if they run fast, play tug. I focus the dog on my HANDS by moving my hands out to the side of my body and only playing when the dog shoves the toy in them. Once I can throw a tug toy anywhere and reward with tugging I progress to a ball on a rope (if that's neccessary by that point) then just a ball/disc. Since you mentioned a frisbee, if you get a JAWZ frisbee you can play tug with it.

    Alternatively with a play retrieve, I've used 2 toys to teach the dog to bring it all the way to me. I cue a drop it and
    mark "yes" as the dog is bringing back toy #1, then throw the 2nd toy or present it for tugging as a reward for dropping. Progressively delay your drop cue until the dog comes further and further. Wait the dog out until he at least picks it up again before cuing the drop if he drops it on his own. It sounds counterproductive to cue and reward the drop it, but it is a common technique used in the disc dog world. The technique is also used for cuing "off" in trying to get duration on stalls since it is difficult to reward in position.
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  10. Evie Experienced Member

    We're tried this with Evie lol, but she still won't bring it any closer. :X3: She WILL bring it closer than she had previously intended on bringing it, but still drops it around the same distance away from us if that makes sense. Once she's dropped the firsbee she won't pick it up again as she's a firm believer that it's time for us to throw it again. She will simply sit there staring at it until we come and move it. We've tried walking away, running away, walking inside....... the frisbee very very VERY rarely moves once she's already dropped it at a distance which she deems appropriate lol :rolleyes:

    I might try the tug version with Evie, although I'm not sure how we'll go. She has a Kong frisbee, so can be used for tugging without breaking/hurting her, but she's so quick to drop it I'm not sure if I'll be able to convince her to tug even though tug is her favourite game :p

    We'll see how I go, thanks everyone for the suggestions! :D
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  11. raymond upton Well-Known Member

    great job on both the training and the video oliver is too cute
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  12. Evie Experienced Member

    oops, sorry to those who gave ideas which I didn't respond to; I only just saw some of the replies just now :oops::rolleyes: Don't know why I didn't see them earlier ...

    Anyway, I think we'll continue teaching a solid 'bring it' with other toys, then try and get it happening with the frisbee. We've got a reasonable retrieve with our tug toy but that's because Evie knows it's for tugging with... and hands play tug. But i'll try a few of the different suggestions here and let you guys know if we have any success :D

    When we play frisbee she becomes so focused that many of our normal cues go out the window, although we have managed to teach, in a matter of 2 training sessions using the frisbee being thrown as a reward, for Evie to go around behind me before I throw the frisbee which is kinda cool :p I was hoping that that might help with her retrieve, as she now knows that she has to come to me and go around behind me before the frisbee gets thrown again, buutttttttttt it hasn't helped in the slightest lol. She has me VERY well trained at retrieving the frisbee lol :(:rolleyes:
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