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Old 12-28-2012, 04:15 PM
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Doesn't like the dumbbell

I recently introduced Molly to the dumbbell. She understood really quickly that I wanted her to hold it, which she does, until I ask her to "give". The problem is, she doesn't WANT to do it. She will look the other way when the dumbbell is in her face but she won't walk away. I have to "encourage" her by opening her mouth and putting it in (but I DON'T have to hold it closed as she will hold it on her own). After I ask her to "give", I'll take it from her and her tail wags because she knows a treat is coming. Is this normal for a puppy who has just been introduced to the dumbbell? Will she grow to like it over time?


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Old 12-28-2012, 09:16 PM
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It's not unusual - I don't think the majority of dogs find an initial thrill at taking a dumbbell from hand on command. A couple of things to help the process:

- I teach the dog to take the dumbbell by holding a treat up against the bar part of the dumbbell with a finger, but on the side opposite of the dog. I hold the dumbbell/treat right in front of the dog and don't say anything. The dog should start trying to get the treat: pawing, licking, etc. Make it enough of a high value treat that the dog will keep trying to get at it. At some point, the dog should put the bar of the dumbbell in his mouth in his attempt to get his treat, and as soon as he does flick the treat over the bar into the dog's mouth and remove the dumbbell at the same time. If you use either a click or verbal to mark, you would use it then also (as soon as mouth goes around bar). Repeat several times until as soon as you present the dumbbell with treat pressed to it, the dog grabs the bar in his mouth. Then you start slowly backing the treat away from the bar, an inch at a time, until the treat is no longer in the picture, but the dog has figured out by then that he will earn the treat by grabbing the bar.

- Once they have taking the dumbbell down, you can raise it a little so they have to hop up a little for it. Makes it more fun.

- When working on the hold, make sure you give lots of petting and praise while they are holding the dumbbell. You want the actual action of holding it to be a good thing too, not just having you remove it.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:54 AM
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Would you recommend that I take a step back and treat her for just taking the dumbbell into her mouth? Because on the rare occasion that she will take it, she will "spit" it back out immediately. I would like to praise her for taking it but not when she lets go of it immediately since she knows to hold it. I am not sure why she'd hold it when I put it in her mouth but not when she takes it herself.


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Old 12-29-2012, 10:07 AM
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It can take awhile for the pieces to come together. The dumbbell itself should not become a highly desired prize, but rather the act of going, picking it up & bringing it back to you.

Sometimes making the dumbbell itself a great thing in the mind of your dog may result in finding this when you walk into a room (and yes I thought it had been safely put away)
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:02 PM
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She's doing it, she's doing it!

With a treat like Loisana described, she is taking it AND holding it. She still isn't very fond of it but at least she's doing it!


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Old 12-29-2012, 06:07 PM
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LOL, now I'm seeing ads for weightlifting dumbbells at the top after viewing this thread.
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