Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Lake Charles, LA
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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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