Troubleshooting the Hand-Delivered Retrieve

May 12, 2020

© Veronica Sanchez

There are many different ways to train a dog to hold a retrieve item in their mouth. One approach involves shaping and differentially marking and rewarding for increasing duration. This approach requires very precise marking. Another strategy often used to build duration involves combining a chin rest with the “take” cue. Yet another approach involves tugging on the item immediately after the dog takes it. Most dogs will pull back in response to the tugging, and this gives the trainer an opportunity to mark and reward for a firmer and longer hold…Dogs are very forgiving learners and may be able to acquire new skills even in an environment that is distracting. However, the retrieve is a skill that is challenging and requires focus. It is important for trainers to select a nondistracting setting to work on this. (Issue 42, May 2020, pp.32-34). Read article