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I've been trying to train my dog to retrieve a dumbbell. I taught him to hold it, no problem. He will take it out of my hands properly and heel by my side around the house with it. I am trying to teach him to retrieve it. After I toss it, I can't get him to pick it up by the bar. He always picks it up by one of the ends. Any ideas on how to get him to pick it up properly? I know this is probably a stupid question, but there ya go......I'm the dumbbell!:)
 

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A lot of times that happens because the dumbbell isn't sized right for him. Make sure the ends are plenty big so he can grab the bar easily without hitting his nose on the floor (speaking from experience!). I had to get a custom made one for Mr. Big Head.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
A lot of times that happens because the dumbbell isn't sized right for him. Make sure the ends are plenty big so he can grab the bar easily without hitting his nose on the floor (speaking from experience!). I had to get a custom made one for Mr. Big Head.
Unfortunately, he doesn't have a big head. I wish that was his problem. (I love a big head!) I'll check to see if he is hitting his nose on the floor. Thanks for the advice.
 

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What kind of dumbbell is it? Do you have a picture of him with it in his mouth? Could probably tell by that whether the ends need to be bigger or not or if the bit's too narrow or wide?
Thanks, Kate. I'll take a picture of him with it and post it tomorrow....
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A lot of times that happens because the dumbbell isn't sized right for him. Make sure the ends are plenty big so he can grab the bar easily without hitting his nose on the floor (speaking from experience!). I had to get a custom made one for Mr. Big Head.
Barney's nose just barely touches the floor when he picks up the dumbbell.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
What kind of dumbbell is it? Do you have a picture of him with it in his mouth? Could probably tell by that whether the ends need to be bigger or not or if the bit's too narrow or wide?
It's a plastic dumbbell. Here are some pics. Tried to get a side pic but he wasn't cooperating today, they came out blurry....
 

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Kate
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Ohsh - he's so cute<:

Do you train at a club where you could borrow somebody else's dumbbell to see what works?

I think you might want a dumbbell with bigger ends? Mine are 3" ends - and makes it easier for pickups. When the dogs are going in to pick up, the dumbbell is more like -

|-|

Instead of

o-o

And might try 1/2" less with bit length.

???

I think that might make a difference, but it'd be worth asking around a club if you train at one if you can borrow different sized dumbbells to see.
 

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I have no advice to offer he's still my best boy!.
 

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Maegan
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What do y'all use to measure for width? The J&J and Max 200 websites say to use a pencil or something, but I don't really like that idea. Thinking of beginning to build drive for the dumbbell as a sortof side project for Rocket. He's my "A" dog, so I am slowly accumulating obedience/rally equipment.

Pros and cons of wood vs plastic? Colored vs white?

Sorry if I'm hijacking your post @tikiandme. Your boy is precious!
 

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Kate
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I use a pencil. And measure snug against the lips - because too much length on bits leads to more juggling.

Dogs seem to prefer wood - and it's lighter in their mouths. But wood bounces on mats more. So you gotta be better at throwing over the high jump.

most trials have dark mats - so the white dumbbells show up better against the mats for the dogs.

j&J hopefully is getting better, because I prefer their dumbbells over Max200... last time I ordered dumbbells (back with Bert was a pup, it took them 3 months....)
 

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Puddles
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Go out to the J&J website, they are very detailed on how to measure. There is also a plastic dumbbell with a wood mouthpiece.

I sat in the floor and placed the dumbbell on the floor & rewarded when she picked it up by the bar long before tossing it. If she picked it up by the ends there was no reward, simply put it back on the floor. By the time I started tossing it (we worked in the house 1st) she understood how to pick it up.

We actually placed it on the ground and sent her to pick it up long before we started tossing. Not sure this makes a difference but limited the over excitement until she understood the proper way to pick it up. You just need to figure out how your dog thinks. I've never had to break it down like this for my other girls... but this is what worked for her.
 

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I think the ends are too small. He should be able to quickly scoop it up with his nose being within 1/2 inch (or more) of the floor.
I agree, can you borrow one and try it a few times?
 

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Kate
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If you bring him with to Birch Run (I think in April?), I could let him try out the ones I have??? I usually always keep my training bags in the trunk of my car.

Other thing is with Jojo - I'm just using a leather article for training purposes around the house. This because I mainly am working on tile floor at home and cringe about tossing my wood dumbbells on that floor. I did have one shatter in the past. The articles of course are flat on either side of the muzzle.

Only other thing is practice pickups without a tossed retrieve. Grabbing the sides might be an excitement thing messing up with his pickups. He might be hurrying too much to pick up and is grabbing whatever is closest to his mouth.

With Jojo - I'm having pouncing/running through things with his dumbbell (oh and newest cute thing which he did yesterday when we tried working retrieves without warmup at a private and he grabbed his dumbbell and proceeded to run zoomies around the floor and took it out to show my instructor's dog). To bring the excitement level down by taking the "chase" component completely out - I am putting him in a wait, placing the dumbbell about 3-6 feet away and setting him to fetch it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I have no advice to offer he's still my best boy!.
Oh, Auntie Swishy! You will always be my bestest Auntie and my Bestest Valentine!:)........The Barney
 

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where the tails wag
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I use wood dumbbells :) With an unpainted bit, but the bells are white.


I like wood because it is natural material and can take cold & hot vehicles with no issues. Plus the plastic dumbbells are nasty if your dog mouths or chews them.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I think the ends are too small. He should be able to quickly scoop it up with his nose being within 1/2 inch (or more) of the floor.
I agree, can you borrow one and try it a few times?
The dumbbell I have has 2 3/4 inch ends and his nose hits the ground. I don't think a 3 inch end would give his Jimmy Durante-like muzzle enough clearance. The next size up at J&J is 3 I/2, so I might have to give that a try. Thanks for the help, Barb.
 
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