Dumbbell Retrieve Quick Tips
Training a perfect dumbbell retrieve takes patience and careful observation. Trainers that are just starting with object holds will typically become frustrated trying to figure out how to time rewards so that the dog is not spitting out the object in order to get a treat.
If you rush the process, your dog's dumbbell hold and retrieve will be weak later on. If you have goals to compete or perform, you'll want a solid retrieve without the use of treats and with heavy distractions.
When starting out:
Focus on marking for solid holds. Don't expect your dog to go out and get the dumbbell. Practice with your dog directly in front of you. Watch your dogs’ jaw and mouth. A solid hold earns a click or marker word and treat. After the click, take the dumbbell, feed your dog and play for a minute before the next repetition.
Take your time. Increase the duration slowly.
Teach your dog to push into you by taking steps back.
Use platforms or step up to work on holding the dumbbell in the correct position.
When you are confident with your dog's dumbbell retrieve:
Proof, proof, proof!
No matter how well your dog can retrieve, there are more ways to proof it. Your dog should only give the dumbbell on cue.
Can your dog run past food while carrying the dumbbell?
Can your dog run through a tunnel with the dumbbell?
If you have your dog in a perfect front and a treat bag falls before you ask your dog to give, will your dog remain in position?
Take your time with dumbbell training and make sure you both are having fun!