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 Posted 3/25/2013 5:59:30 PM
 

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I've got an 8, nearly 9 month old Black Male Lab....my question is on holding.  I'm nearly through Force Fetching with him, however my only hang up is how he's holding the bumper.  When I have him fetch the bumper from my hand, he holds it right.  The problem comes when he picks it up off the ground.  He'll pick it up right, but then proceeds to chew his way to one end of the bumper and holds it like a cigar hanging out of his mouth.  What are some techniques to get him to stop this and hold it the right way?  Do I need to back up and keep working on it from hand for a while longer?


Alex  
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 Posted 3/25/2013 8:21:09 PM
 

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Alex Hilburn (3/25/2013)
I've got an 8, nearly 9 month old Black Male Lab....my question is on holding.  I'm nearly through Force Fetching with him, however my only hang up is how he's holding the bumper.  When I have him fetch the bumper from my hand, he holds it right.  The problem comes when he picks it up off the ground.  He'll pick it up right, but then proceeds to chew his way to one end of the bumper and holds it like a cigar hanging out of his mouth.  What are some techniques to get him to stop this and hold it the right way?  Do I need to back up and keep working on it from hand for a while longer?


So when you command HOLD and put the bumper in his mouth, he doesn't mouth the bumper around?

And when you command FETCH and he takes it from your hand, he still doesn't mouth the bumper?

Now a few more questions....when on the ground, does the dog hammer the bumper when you say FETCH or does he casually pick it up? Does he immediately begin to mouth the bumper or is it after a while that he starts mouthing it? And how long has this problem gone on?

Generally speaking you want the dog hammering the bumper upon hearing FETCH. Almost sitting there anticipating the command as he understands getting that bumper means turning off the pressure. So if you have already then it's downhill from here. You simply need to get in his grill so that as soon as he starts mouthing the bumper it's a pop under the chin with a NO, HOLD so he understands it's not acceptable to mouth the bumper.

Sorry for all the questions. Post the answers and we'll come up with a game plan.  
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 Posted 3/25/2013 8:44:24 PM
 

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To your first two questions, typically no...he holds it right when he fetches from hand and doesn't mouth it around.  If he's really excited, he may, but once he calms down a bit he does it right. 

He nails the bumper hard on the ground when I give the command.  But he just picks it up where ever he can, and then mouths it until he's holding onto it by the ends....if that makes sense.  I've been on this stage of the process for a couple weeks now and have really been trying to get him to understand not to do it, but he's so hard headed its tough.

Thanks for the help.



Alex  
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 Posted 3/25/2013 10:05:58 PM
 

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So I take it you have only used a bumper then. This is where using a buck would help. The dog has to grab the buck in the middle. I made mine using a larger dowel as the main piece, drilling holes on each end and inserting smaller dowels forming an X on each end. Guessing you can see one online and see how to make one OR just buy one somewhere.

Another option is to rest one end of the bumper on your foot before commanding fetch. Dog should grab in the middle as it's more exposed. That trick is usually used for dogs that won't grab off the floor but may halp here.

Generally speaking you don't want to stay in one place too long in FF as the dog will get bored and things can go backwards. So if it were me, I'd try the buck starting from HOLD so by the time you get thru FETCH he has had enough reps that when you transition to bumpers you'll get what you want.

Another question....does the dog cigar bumpers when retrieving marks?
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 Posted 3/26/2013 7:38:24 AM
 

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Another option is to take your bumber to the hardware store, find a piece of PVC pipe that your bumper fits snugly into, cut two 1"-1 1/2" wide pieces and slip one over each end.

This not only lifts the bumper off the floor slightly, most dogs do not like the feel of the hard, slick PVC so will not work their way past it to the end of the bumper.

I have used this a few times with good results.
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 Posted 3/26/2013 9:54:47 AM
 

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Tim, I did skip the buck with this dog where I used them in the past for others.  But I did go back to it once he started this a couple weeks ago.  Ordered one from gun dog supply.  Its since been destroyed, so I'll have to get another one.  He's even picked it up though by the square ends a few times. 

On his marks, he'll pick it up right, but about halfway back he begins to mouth it and by the time he's back to me he's either cigaring it, holding by the very end, or sometimes by the rope.  Thats kind of scary because he gets excited sometimes and swing that thing upwards and has come pretty close to busting my nose a time or two...among other places....

When I had the buck I would toss it for him, and he'd do that right most of the time.  Like you said though, I don't want to stay on one spot for too long, and I feel like to too much longer I'll be getting there.



Alex  
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 Posted 3/27/2013 9:26:57 AM
 

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Alex Hilburn (3/26/2013)
Tim, I did skip the buck with this dog where I used them in the past for others.  But I did go back to it once he started this a couple weeks ago.  Ordered one from gun dog supply.  Its since been destroyed, so I'll have to get another one.  He's even picked it up though by the square ends a few times. 

On his marks, he'll pick it up right, but about halfway back he begins to mouth it and by the time he's back to me he's either cigaring it, holding by the very end, or sometimes by the rope.  Thats kind of scary because he gets excited sometimes and swing that thing upwards and has come pretty close to busting my nose a time or two...among other places....

When I had the buck I would toss it for him, and he'd do that right most of the time.  Like you said though, I don't want to stay on one spot for too long, and I feel like to too much longer I'll be getting there.


OK you need to make the buck I described earlier. No way to cigar that thing. How did the original buck you had get "destroyed"? If its from the dog chewing the buck then we need to get you to better understand your roll in this situation. Time for the dog to have a come to Jesus moment. If I saw that dog coming back from a retrieve and he started cigaring/chewing it, it would be a loud SIT whistle as I sprinted out to meet the dog. Then NO HOLD with the bumper stuck in mouth with a pop under his jaw followed with another HOLD in a not so warm and fuzzy voice.  Basic OB and FF are when retrieving become work for the dog. This dog is trying you to see what he can get away with. This is pretty common as also shouldn't be that dofficult to fix.

Basically you need to handle this like teaching SIT.  The instant as the unwanted behavior starts, you need to stop it and correct it. The dog will soon realize its a lot more enjoyable to hold thigs correctly. For now, I would say no marks until thru with FF. Normally I don't do advise that but in your case, the dog is getting away with something in marks and its causing problems getting thu FF. The key will be making sure when FF is done you correct every bad hold you see as soon as you see it when running marks. Hopefully you won't see it after going thru FF with a change in dealing with this problem. 

So when you did HOLD, did this mouthing issue not happen at any stage? You have HOLD at your side, HOLD while heeling, and HOLD with remote sit with recall to a front finish and lastly HOLD with remote sit with recall to to heel.  I would think if you put the dog in a remote SIT, commanded HOLD and walked 20-30 feet away, he would start mouthing the buck at some point between SIT and on the way to you when you command HERE. You need to basically create the situation where you can correct the dog. I.e. keep backing up until the dog does it so you can correct him, it may take 60 feet or so.

So sorry for the long post. So in summary....make the new buck, start with HOLD and spend a couple days on each step listed above doing 2-3 sessions a day. Then move on to FETCH, the FETCH off the floor, FETCH from a few feet away, etc. Keep us posted.
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 Posted 3/27/2013 10:04:16 AM
 

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The buck was destroyed in an unrelated issue not involving the dog.  Sometimes my luck reminds of just how terrible it is.

Anyway, all of the stages you've described I've been through.  As long as he's close to me, at heel or in front of me, he does okay.  He may not pick it up right, but I think I've about got that fixed.  The biggest problem is the remote sit situations.  Its usually when he's running back when he begins to mouth it, and by the time he gets back he's cigaring it.

I'll work on some of the things you said and get back to you.

I appreciate the help.



Alex  
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 Posted 3/27/2013 11:37:51 AM
 

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I think I'm just saying the same thing that Tim is, but I would continue HOLD training until you've reached the point to where the only comfortable/familiar way for pup to hold the bumper is by the midsection. When he's doing this reliably, add distraction such as "bugging" with a stick or pulling on the bumper rope; if your pup releases the bumper or mouths it, correct him and reinforce the HOLD command again until he's reliably holding that bumper properly and does not do otherwise until commanded to do so, you cannot rush this step!...just my .02. Good Luck!

"When you hear my third shot.....that's your signal to take 'em."
-Phil Robertson
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 Posted 3/27/2013 6:44:18 PM
 

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It's been interesting reading this.  Thanks for the advice from my end as well, Tim.  My 11 month female golden is in a very similar stage  of FF. Ran a few marks today when she did the exact same thing you've been describing in cigaring the dummy. A stern "HOLD" command and she actually adjusted her grip on it. 

I was surprised to tell you the truth.

I know she and I both are looking forward to being done with this piece of the training.

-God Bless
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