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Categories: Basic Obedience , Competition Obedience

Q. I have been working on the retrieve and the send away and now when I throw the dumbbell, my female runs out and touches it (like the send away) and wants to come back for her tug reward without the dumbbell. Any input would be appreciated.
Hi Cindy,

I have several Michael Ellis DVDs purchased from Leerburg and really enjoy them.

My problem is I have been working on the retrieve and send away (Michael Ellis way) but recently, when I tell my female to "bring" the dumbell, she thinks all she has to do is go out and touch it (like in the send away) and come back for a tug reward. She was doing good until now. I think I will quit working the send away until she gets the retrieve down better but I am looking for help to solve this problem.

When I throw the d.b. and she runs out to get it but doesn't pick it up, I either will race out there with her and give it a little kick and repeat bring and "usually" she will pick it up or sometimes I may go pick the d.b. up and put it in her mouth then I run backwards a few yards and tell her to bring and she will normally do this with a front sit (she doesn't hold the d.b. tight, which is another whole different topic).

She likes to retrieve but she is just a little confused about picking it up and bringing it back and thinks she can just go touch it and come back for a tug reward. I didn't really want to quit working on the send away but just not quite sure what else to do. She has plenty of drive to retrieve.

Any input would be appreciated.

A. I would back up the training on the retrieve. If you have to go with her and kick and/or repeat the command then she’s not ready for you to throw it so far.

I also would not work retrieves and send aways in the same session right now.

When Rush was learning he would sometimes go out and touch the retrieve item with his paw, I simply said nothing and waiting for him to try something else and when he would act like he was going to pick the item up I would mark with Good and if he picked it up, he got an immediate YES.

Whenever you have issues with training, go back to the level where the dog is understanding and getting success without so much help and build back up from there. You may also have gone to a toy reward too quick. I used food for a long time before I added the toy.

I hope this has given you some ideas to try. :)

Cindy Rhodes

  Response:

Thank you very much for your reply. I will do just as you suggested and hopefully things will work out and we can move forward in our training. I think it will work!
  
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