Instructor: Shade Whitesel
Want a strong, motivated retrieve of the dumbell and a good foundation for utility exercises? Join me as I break down how to create your reinforcement (toy skill of "switch"), and then how to create a firm hold, the end skill in the complex retrieve chain. We'll also be covering how to create a dog that starts the action and demands the opportunity to hold the dumbell, a crucial part of achieving total "buy in" from your learner dog. Dogs are expected to have the basic skills from the toy class, "toys: developing cooperation and play" but can also use this class to teach the necessary skill of "switch", one of the more advanced toy play skills. This class was originally supposed to be part 1 of a 2 part series, with the first class concentrating on switch and hold, and the second on the rest of the retrieve. However, I've compromised, and I will release all the info for retrieving either as gold students need it, or on week 3 of class.
This class will not be covering fronts, the dog is expected to either already have the skill, or to be able to offer a sit on a platform.
There are no scheduled sessions for this class at this time. We update our schedule frequently, so please subscribe to our mailing list for notifications.
Registration will begin at 12:00 Noon Pacific Time.
Enrollment limits: Gold: 12 students, Silver: 25 students, Bronze: unlimited.
Gold Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to post questions and videos to the course forums. Students will receive instructor feedback on written and video assignments.
Silver Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to participate in the discussion forum. Students may ask GENERAL questions about course materials and may submit two, one-minute videos for instructor feedback. Any questions specific to your dog MUST be accompanied by a video.
Bronze Level includes access to all course materials and the ability to read all questions and answers posted in the class forums. Students will not post questions or submit written or video assignments.
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- Hold with chin cue
- Hold for toy
- Proofing hold with toy or food
- Moving hold/coming into front
- Coming into front from angles
- Pickup fast
- Come back fast
- Pickup moving into front
- Various pickup angles
- Stay in basic position while object is thrown
- Speed to the dumbbell
- Putting the chain together
FE 130 Toys: Developing Cooperation and Play. We will be using the skill of "switch" to teach a strong hold on the dumbbell.
FE Crucial Concepts of Competition
the skill of "front", which can be found in several instructor classes. If your sport does not require a front with the dumbell, then the dog should be familiar with the position that ends the retrieve, normally heel.
Hold step 2: Combining grab and chin rest
- Chin rest
- Treat reward or Switch
- Grab with light 2 finger pressure still holding object by ends (to get the dog used to feeling something under his chin)
- Grab with chin cue and 6 fingers under chin, holding the object by the ends with thumbs and forefingers
- Get 2 seconds of duration at this step
- Grab with finger pressure under chin letting go of object with thumbs and forefingers free
- Grab with initial finger pressure under chin and removing fingers from under chin
- Testing the grip. If the grip slips at this point, you've got some choices. You can work on it by applying some rocking downwards and upwards pressure with your thumbs and marking when you feel the dog gripping harder to combat the pressure or you can go on to the next step, toy reinforcement and work on the testing grip with more exciting reinforcement. When you are "testing the grip" it should be subtle so that you can't see it, but can feel it.
We’re going to use the chin rest to up your chances of getting calm holding rather than chewing.
I usually use food as a reward for this step, but if the dog needs a toy reward to encourage grasping harder, I don’t hesitate to switch to a ball or tug. At this point, I will always be playing with Switch in between each 5 repetition set to encourage arousal and hard gripping even if still shaping with food reward.
I let my dog offer a couple grabs, and then I put the holding object under my arm and ask for a couple chin rests, rewarding each grab and each chin rest.
Then I present the object again, holding it at each end with my thumb and first finger, and letting the other 3 fingers of each hand fan out underneath. When the dog grabs, I quickly bring my fingers up to touch the dog’s chin, and then just as quickly, cue the marker word. You are trying to get the dog used to the pressure of fingers under his chin while grabbing the object and get him through any initial startle response he may have. Most of the time I only touch 2 fingers initially, and then a couple repetitions later (assuming all is going well), stick all 3 fingers of each hand under the dog’s chin.
If you think it may help, you can use your chin verbal cue as well.
I then alternate chin rest without object, and chin rest with object until I get a Freeze type behavior on the chin rest with object repetition, the same freeze that you get with the plain chin rest.
Here are Rachel and Pele showing an excellent progression of grab, then chin rest, and then combining the two:
Their next step would be getting a 2 second duration "freeze" behavior before removing any thumbs or fingers.
Here are Debbie and Sarek showing this:
Once I get the freeze with the object in the dog's mouth and full chin rest under his chin, I start to remove my thumbs from either end. At this point, I can also stop alternating with the plain chin rest. If at any time, the grip softens or the dog starts to chew, I can go back to holding the magazine with my thumbs.
Here is Manchita and Stacey working through this step. Manchita is a Mexican Hairless, otherwise known as a Xoloitzcuintle. Here they are starting to remove her thumbs from the holding of the magazine. Notice how she still keeps her fingers under Manchita's chin with full chin rest.
When the dog is comfortable at this step, I would start to remove my "chin fingers" one by one.
Testing the grip:
At some point in this process, most dogs normally starts to chew, or chomp, or let the magazine fall out of his mouth, etc... I have a couple things I try at this point.
Wait out the chomping. Often the dog chews, and then gives still mouth, chews, and then still mouth. if I make sure that I only mark when the mouth is still, often the chewing/chomping goes away on it's own as the dog learns the behavior that pays is still mouth.
Re present the magazine. If the mouth is moving, I can often just take the magazine out of the dog's mouth, wait for attention and then present the magazine again. I generally do not do this unless I have a 2 second freeze with full chin rest, and I've tried waiting out the behavior of chomping.
Communicate that harder gripping is wanted by very gently pushing with one of my thumbs in either an upwards or downwards pressure. When I feel the dog grip harder in opposition reflex, I mark and reinforce. The idea is not to set the dog up to fail, but to communicate that harder gripping is valuable. You can also pull gently towards you IF that does not make the dog go into tugging mode.
Here is Baylie and I working through some testing of the grip. Notice my easy repetitions among the hard ones:
Work through your steps, and send me video when you need help!
A sampling of what prior students have said about this course ...
Shade, thank you for another fun class. It's really helpful to have your eyes on me when it comes to competition behaviors. You've made sure Grit and I don't skip any steps, and I've really appreciate your attention to detail. I've taken several of your classes and I really like the way they all fit together within your larger training philosophy. I hope I'll be able to continue working on our retrieve next term! Chrissi & Grit
Love Shade's classes and methods and this class was no exception! Excellent class by an excellent instructor. This is a topic we haven't explored much prior since I didn't want to mess up a hold and I'm glad we waited because I never would have guessed to start with a duct taped, rolled up magazine. But it worked beautifully! Thank you Shade for an awesome class!
I've struggled with a retrieve through three separate dogs (what's the common denominator? :-) ). The methods suggested in this course have brought us success which gives me confidence to keep going! The boyz are both having fun where in the past this was NOT a fun exercise for any of us! Brava Shade and thank you!
Great class, excellent videos and very clear explanations. So inspiring to see an instructor so committed to ensuring that the dog offers to participate in the training session.
Shade, you brought joy to our retrieve! training with you is so much FUN but so instructional at same time.You have a knack with coming up with solutions to problems even when I can’t ask you at bronze! Poof it appears! Dog and I thrive on your courses