Won't Hold The Toy

Discussion in 'Training Challenges' started by brodog, Jun 30, 2013.

  1. brodog Active Member

    So... One of Brody and mine's biggest issues is that he can Drop a toy or object, but won't really Take it. He will grab something if I hand it to him but he immediately drops it. I've been trying to counter that by having him Take It, then tossing the treat out past him before he can drop the toy. My plan was gradually upping the ante by having him hold the toy for longer periods of time, but at the end of my first session he wouldn't even take the toy, he just opens his mouth and pretends to 'grab-and-drop' as fast as he can. Everything's going backwards, it seems. I just wish I had him on clicker training, as teaching it with a clicker seems so much easier.
    Any advice on how to... fix this? All help is appreciated. Thanks!
    brodys_mom likes this.

  2. kassidybc Experienced Member

    I would definitely work with him on clicker training. You could say "take" and hand him the toy and the second he had it in his mouth click and treat. Then gradually start increasing the time he has it in his mouth before clicking. He should get the idea...
    Sorry, I just joined the forums, so I don't know anything about you or your dog, but is there a reason that he isn't clicker trained (e.g. Does he not respond well to it?) If there isn't a reason, you should consider clicker training him. If you don't know how, I'm sure lots of people on the forum could help you, including me!
    brodys_mom and brodog like this.
  3. Anneke Honored Member

    Will he play tug with the toy? That is a way to have him hold on to the toy longer. Just a really short tug and the reward. Wave the toy in his face(not touching him with it, of course), get him exited. As soon as he grabes it, tug it around a little. If he holds on, reward him.
    Some dog don't have an interest in static objects and by moving it around you make it interesting.
    As soon as he holds a little longer, you can start to reduce the tug motion little by little.
    brodys_mom and brodog like this.
  4. brodog Active Member

    @KassidyBC; I once tried to do clicker training with Brody, but he never really caught on that Click=Treat. He just doesn't respond to it. Besides that, he is a rescue and may jump at sudden noises like a click.

    @Anneke; Yes, he loooooves to tug. I will try that. My dilemma is that as soon as he knows I have treats, he will have nothing to do with playing. He ignores toys and other objects until he is sure I don't have any more treats.
    I do train with tugging as a reward occasionally, but obviously, he just doesn't work with both toys and treats in the same session.

    Thanks for your advice, both of you! :)
    brodys_mom likes this.
  5. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Did you 'load' the clicker. Some clickers are quieter then others, but if you put masking tape on the back it helps to make it softer. Otherwise you can try using a verbal "yes" instead of the clicker.

    If he is really having trouble you can use something more enticing like a raw hide, sock with kibble in it, etc. until he starts to get the idea. This will help get your dog to want to pick it up and hold onto it. It can cause a dog to mouth at/ chew the toy more so I only use it for dogs that are really having a hard time and I try to phase it out quickly once they start to get it. I phase it out by decreasing the amount of kibble in the sock and then using a sock without anything in it.

    Do you have trouble getting Brody to do anything without treats in your hand? If so I would work on phasing out treats. Get him to sit with a treat in your hand, then pretend to get out a treat and 'lure' him, show him you don't have a treat and then give him one from your other hand. Then start getting the treat out of your pocket, off the counter etc.
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  6. brodog Active Member

    No, Brody performs happily without any reward. He can tell when I have treats in my pocket though, and puts on his best behavior for me. In this case, he is too focused on me to hold the object in his mouth.
    brodys_mom likes this.
  7. charmedwolf Moderator

    Try asking for two grabs instead of one. So it would go Grab -> Drop ->Grab ->Reward. Reward mean anything he likes praise, food, tug.

    First, reward him for 10 separate grabs. When he does to grab for the 11th time don't reward just wait. He'll go for another grab. Reward that one. Now you have two grabs for the price of one. From now on ask for two grabs for every reward. The Laws of Laziness show that it's easier to hold something than to grab it and pick it up twice. So the time between the two grabs will get slower and slower. Sooner or later, he'll think holding it is easier than dropping it again. Bam, you got a longer hold. If you're still having problems with two grabs up it to three grabs.

    This works great for most dogs.
    brodys_mom and 648117 like this.
  8. TiflovesBCs Experienced Member

    It took Bella a year to get the idea of hold and suddenly she got it but i caught on she did it when i said wait once she had it in her mouth
  9. ackerleynelson Well-Known Member

    Don't worry as some pets take time to learn it properly, just don't forgive at your end and if you are thinking that it is taking more than enough then you can take the help of a good trainer and please don't ever forget ever to reward him good treat whenever he started giving a good response. For more detail you may visit: http://www.boomtowne.com/
  10. JazzyandVeronica Experienced Member

    I don't know if this will help, but 1 of the first "difficult" tricks I trained was putting toys away...and when I started Veronica had the same issue, wouldn't hold a toy for more than a second.

    A trainer on another forum walked me through teaching the trick. I used a clicker and also Bridge and target training (which you can google) but basically it uses a terminal bridge (marker) with an intermediate bridge (xxxx xxxx) which the dog learns means "yes you are on the right track but you are not done yet keep going). The B&T intermediate bridge was used to help build duration in holding.

    I made a series of videos on our progress so I could get feedback as I went along (there are 7 videos 1 - 6 with a 3a & 3b) that may give you some ideas.

    Here is the first video and you can see we started with no hold at all:
    brodys_mom likes this.

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