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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone have any good tips/advice to get a dog to hold a bumper/retriever object firmly? (Is that even what you want). I was thinking having the dog tug on it, but then I realized that it might not translate over real well to a bird!
 

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Does your dog have a force fetch? If so, the dog would be corrected for dropping the object. In obedience, people will tie fishing line to the dumbell, and pull gently while it is in the dog's mouth. The dog learns that if it doesn't have a firm grib the object will come out of their mouth. If you don't have a force fetch I guess you would just replace the object and reward when successful.
 

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You first must teach the hold command.

I start the hold with my hand in a leather glove. I place my hand in their mouth with the thumb below their chin. I tell them "hold" and as soon as they, gently, hold my hand I give them the release word, drop, give out, whatever and remove my hand. I work for longer and longer holds. Then I start over with another retrieve object.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I do not force fetch....at this point. I plan to discuss that with a trainer as I am conflicted about it.

She does know hold, but her hold isn't very firm. I can give her anything and she will hold it, but she does so loosely and I think the loose hold is causing her occasional mouthing problems. The mouthiness is really only seen when she initially takes the object and when she changes position (sit from standing, down from sit, etc). If I reach to pull on the object it will come out (though I can tap it and pretend to grab for it without her dropping it, she doesn't drop it but if I grab and pull it slides out of her mouth).
 

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I also teach hold with a gloved hand. It allows you to feel how much pressure is being applied by the dog. When the dog has it right you can feel it and praise the dog for a good hold. I find this method gives me a little better result than just starting out putting the object in the dogs mouth.

Once hold is understood I move on to Force Fetch.
 

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A trick I use for the hold is to work it with an un-evenly weighted object.... that's heavy enough on one end end so that if the dog tried to mouth it, he'd drop it. I used a wooden dowel and added a metal piece of hardward to one end. It was some sort of pipe fitting.
 

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where the tails wag
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Objects I have used are the hand (gloved), a dowel, a full water bottle, a half-full water bottle (uneven weighing so helps with hold), soda bottle and hammer.

When using a soda can, the correct amount of pressure should lightly dimple the can where the canine teeth grip :)
 

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Does anyone have any good tips/advice to get a dog to hold a bumper/retriever object firmly? (Is that even what you want). I was thinking having the dog tug on it, but then I realized that it might not translate over real well to a bird!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yd72kl9lZlc is a glimpse of the SmartFetch program, focusing on "Hold". There is much to learn about this, and even more about force fetch. Not only is it valuable to your working dog, but also forms a foundation to build all your other training on. I'll be glad to post up more information on the subject.

EvanG
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I am going to try the weighted articles and see where we are at. If I try the glove--how do I know what the right amount of grip? I think her grip at this point is causing the mouthiness. It is a loose grip so when she goes to move she mouths the article to regrip it so it doesn't fall out.

Evan, thanks for the video.
 

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I am going to try the weighted articles and see where we are at. If I try the glove--how do I know what the right amount of grip? I think her grip at this point is causing the mouthiness. It is a loose grip so when she goes to move she mouths the article to regrip it so it doesn't fall out.

Evan, thanks for the video.
You're welcome! The gloved hand is only a small nuance in the process, and you will have to judge for yourself what it tells you about this dog's mouth habits and tendencies. Frankly, I haven't used that step in many years, as I really didn't find it as useful as it appeared that it might be.

"Just train the dog." ~ Rex Carr

EvanG
 
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