OB510: The Elusive Hand-Delivered Retrieve

Instructor: Donna Hill

Course Details

Whether you are a serious obedience competitor, training your own service dog (or someone else's), training your own bird dog, or want it for tricks (bring me a drink), the foundations of a solid hand-delivered retrieve are the same - yet very different than a play retrieve.  Learn the steps to training this behavior so it is solid no matter how and where you need it. Even non-natural retrieving breeds can learn to do it happily! 

Once you understand the pieces of a retrieve and how it can be back-chained, you can tease apart the pieces and retrain the parts that the dog is having challenges with, retrain those to perfection, then put the whole chain back together to get a fast, precise hand-delivered retrieve. 

Whether too enthusiastic (pouncing, pawing or sliding) or disinterested (slow or distracted), chomping (chewing or throwing around in her mouth), refuses to take metal objects in her mouth,  or not bringing the object close enough into your personal space is your dog's issue, your classmates and I will give it our best training ideas to solve it. We'll use a variety of different objects to train an enthusiastic retrieve from its basic foundations. Learn how to fine tune the retrieve to pick up small items like credit cards and coins.

Learn how to apply positive reinforcement training principles to create this challenging multi-step behavior. This is a problem- solving class so bring your problems and solutions and share them with other Gold and Silver students.

All handlers and dogs must have a basic understanding of how a marker sound works for shaping as we will be shaping the problem pieces of the chain. You can spend more time on fine tuning and problem solving if your dog already has a strong nose touch to your palm, can sit and lay down in front of you, sit beside you and go around behind you back to heel position. Whether you will have a basic full retrieve at the end of 6 weeks is dependent on what you are working on and how skilled a trainer you are. Most students focus on one or two problem skills.

This class is lecture heavy and video heavy with photos to show the subtleties of back chaining and using shaping. There are many tips and tricks to help with problem-solving.  

Excerpt from the Introduction:

Most problems in teaching a retrieve arise due to unclear expectations of the dog during training. That is what this class is about: clarifying the unexpressed criteria for the dog at each step of the training process so she understands what is expected of her during each part of this complicated behaviour chain.  In many cases, training using this approach will prevent unwanted behaviours before they ever start and certainly before they are added to the entire behaviour. Some of the unwanted behaviours are due to arousal level and equipment and we will deal with each separately.
In this course, I am going to post all of the information for all weeks at the beginning. This is to allow those who are already familiar with the chaining process to select the section your dog is having problems with and you can start work on that immediately. 
For those who have not trained their dog to retrieve this way yet, you can start training from the very beginning and progress as your dog is able to. Each dog will progress through each step and criteria at a different rate in part due to previous training in that specific behavior. Fixing the challenging bits will also vary depending on how much previous practice ( and reinforcement) the dog has had in doing the unwanted behavior.