At first my dog would only hold it for a short amount of time as well. Once we established "hold" for a short amount of time i would give the bumper a quick tap with my hand while it was in her mouth and say "hold". This seemed to tighten her grip a little and she caught on fast not to drop it until given the "give' command. If she dropped it i said 'no' and made her pick it back up.. I am by no means an expert but this seemed to work with my pup.. good luck to ya...
I started trying this last night, and he is pretty good at the fetch command. The problem is getting him to keep the bumper in his mouth for any length of time. Towards the end of the training session, I was just having him grab it and put it in his mouth for a couple seconds and then giving the "give" (I use "drop") command. I think sometimes my expectations need to be lowered a bit!
Hi, I just read your post about the problems you are having with holding. I also have a lab (1.5yr) that hates her feet touched and started out struggling with hold. The similiest solution i found was to start by using the FF method. I put the bumper in front of her and told her to fetch (without pinching her ear) and once she did i just tried to hold her mouth shut but gently. After i commanded 'give' i gave her a treat. i know most people do not like to train with treats but this was the only way i could get her to 'want' to hold. it took her a about two days of this and now she will hold upon command repetitively. Hope this helps... Smart dog if he knows to give the leash to 'mom'! He will catch on!