trick help


New Member
I do different things with my aussies. I love to train and have them learn new things. We also do photo shoots for advertising and recently got into more commercial things. Well they are wanting my dog to go pick up a leash and bring it to the actor to go for a walk.

I think because I have a time limit I am stressing here and not thinking this through. I have two different agents from different agencies and each is trying to get one of my dogs into this commercial, so I have to teach two dogs. Now they might not get the part, that is fine, they can learn a new thing! I have taught both to take things in their mouths. Austin the older dog (7 years) hates to take, but will hold until you tell release. George (10 months old) loves to take but hates to hold! Of course. But now I am stumped on how to get this to the next step of picking something off the floor and brining it. Now should I step back and maybe work with retrieving, then maybe get it from a sit? Maybe I am going about this wrong???

Anyone out there that can help me think this through?



Jean Cote

Staff member
Are you familiar with clicker training and shaping behaviors? I think it would be your best way to teach this trick.


Well-Known Member
Well, I have a herding dog, too, so I know how hard it can be to teach the fetch to a dog who wants to herd. I certainly am not an expert on retrieving, but this is what I did to get several of my collies to at least pick up a tennis ball and bring it to me. Before I did this, they had no interest in ball play.

I took a used tennis ball. I carefully cut a slit about an inch long into the ball. I put a bunch of treats inside the ball. Then I gave my dog a treat from the ball. Next, I tossed the ball and walked with my dog over to it on the ground. I bent down and gave him treats from the opening in the ball. I repeated that until my dog realized that the treats were inside the ball and very quickly he started grabbing it up and bringing it to me, where I quickly gave him a treat from the ball.

Worked for me, hope it can work for you. Good luck!


New Member
This website has several videos showing step-by-step clicker retrieve and may be helpful. In this case it is a formal competition-style retrieve so you don't have to be as fussy about the details, but you can see the general idea of how to go about doing it.

However, I think this took several weeks or months. It could just be due to the dog's maturity or the trainer's schedule. I don't know how long it would take with your dog, if you're in a time crunch.

A possibly faster way is to get the dog interested in the leash as a toy and encourage the dog to play fetch with it. If the dog isn't interested in the leash as a toy or in retrieving in general, you can build up his drive by teasing him a little with it for several sessions to get him interested and then let him get it. You may want to use a special leash that is not the one he usually sees everyday or gets walked with. Use the special leash as a tug toy, animate it to make look "alive" and appeal to the dog's prey drive - which herding dogs are definitely not lacking in!! This may sound silly, but you can also try playing with the leash yourself and talking to it as if it was another animal, this may get your dog interested to see what's so special about it and then when he shows the slightest bit of interest, then selfishly hoard it and keep on talking to and playing with the leash yourself (but don't take it so far that your dog then gives up and loses interest, the goal is to pique his interest). That's how I was instructed to get my dog interested in the dumbell, because initially he didn't care for the texture of it, and with him it worked really well.

I like the treats-in-the-tennis ball idea too!!


New Member
I used clicker training with my dog to retrive things for me.
Put the lead (or what ever you want him to retrieve) on the ground in front of you.
say your command - mine is 'get it' and When he goes any where near it with his nose, click and treat and you pick the lead up
Repeat until he knows he has to put his nose near it to get a treat.
then get more strict - say get it and dont click and treat until he is really making an effort and starting to put it into his mouth. once he is starting to pick it up click and treat.
again get more strict and only click and treat when he is properly picking it up.
then you need to get him to hold it so use your release command - ok - or something and put your hand out for him to put it in and he only gets to drop the lead and get the treat when youve said ok.
then just move the lead further away so the dog has to go to get it and bring it back.
hope it helps!!