Case Study: Adding an Obstacle to the Retrieve – Bad Dog Agility Academy

Case Study: Adding an Obstacle to the Retrieve

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  • Melissa says:

    Thank you for sharing that your young dogs don’t have the full retrieve at a year of age! Sometimes I feel like I missed the boat on so many things that would have been easier to teach at a young age and feel like my pup is “behind” the imaginary goals in my head.

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Yes, keep a good perspective! Your dog is never really behind, look forward and spend less time comparing to other teams or to an imaginary ideal self.

      We will be adding some content in the coming weeks as we debuted the golden in agility and she has tugging work that still has to happen but can only be down in the trial environment. Tugging is a complex skill that takes time to master in all environments.

  • JudyG says:

    I would like some advice on building duration of the tugging behavior. I have two dogs, both of which will tug, bite, release, and retrieve. They do the weight shift when tugging. I start my agility practice with tug play, in which we practice these actions. Then I start the practice with the use of the tug. Both dogs will retrieve the thrown tug only after the first few exercises, then they look at me for a food reward. Will their willingness to work for the tug be extended with more play and encouragement during the tug games?
    At the end of the agility exercises, I have asked for a bite or retrieve of the tug. I am able to shape the response with a clicker and treats.

    • Esteban Fernandezlopez says:

      Yes, in general, the more you tug in a way that the dog enjoys, the more intrinsically rewarding that tugging becomes. On the retrieves, if they return the toy to you and that is okay with you, then you can certainly click and treat and be okay in training, although this may not help you in a trial setting. If they return the toy with you and they drop it, but you want them to tug, then you have to NOT reward with food unless they tug.

      What is your goal for tugging with these dogs? If it’s for practice only and you mostly just want the retrieve, you are probably ok. Start with retrieve/tugging and switch to retrieve/food when you suspect they are about to stop tugging (usually when you see the first “weak” tugging/retrieve behavior).

      If it’s for trials and you want to wean off food, you’ll have to “insist” on retrieve/tugging in order to get the click/food, and this you can turn into a trial behavior chain.

  • says:

    I am so excited to work this. Excellent tip on the drive-by to mark when their eyes on you and not to follow the dog.

  • cynthia says:

    great training–and great solution (2 toys), if you don’t really want to train full retrieve

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