Cigarring / Off center hold ???
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Thread: Cigarring / Off center hold ???

  1. #1
    Junior Member L J Monlezun's Avatar
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    Mar 2007

    Question Cigarring / Off center hold ???

    I have a 7 month old that is going through basics via the Evan Graham SMART FETCH basics program. She has been through each step according to the books and videos and is currently in the late stages of FTP. She has come through very well so far but her hold has started to deteriorate. She's starting to cigar hold the bumpers or hold them by the string or off to one side of the bumper instead of holding it firmly in the middle of the bumper. I have switched to using bumpers with no strings and gone back and done several sessions of hold and walking hold with some improvement. Each time she cigars the bumper or holds it incorrectly ( not in the middle ) I correct the position of the bumper in her mouth and re-command "fetch - hold." She has an otherwise quite mouth and has good momentum towards the bumpers when commanded fetch. The hold is my only concern.

    My question is should I continue to correct the position of the bumper in her mouth or should I go back all the way to hold and start FF over again????

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Bob Gutermuth's Avatar
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    Aug 2004
    Transchoptankia, DEMOCRATIC Peoples Republic of Maryland


    Try revisiting FF briefly with a force buck or an obedience dumbell instead of a bumper. Lion Country and others sell these handy objects which are constructed so as to make the dog want to hold the center instead of trying for a cigar or butchers hold.
    Bob Gutermuth
    Canvasback Chesapeakes

  4. #3
    Senior Member caglatz's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
    New Providence, NJ


    I had the same problem with my pup last summer when he went through FF. Note its not an issue with birds, because how do you cigar a bird? - just with the small bumpers (2-inch). We got over that through working extensively on HOLD during FF and by repositioning the bumper repeatedly. Whenever the pup cigarred the bumper I would say "NO" and the reposition followed by "HOLD". He eventually got the idea. Just keep your standards high and he will eventually learn. Some tricks that had helped also were switching to bigger 3" bumpers. They are heavier and are harder to cigar. I also used some DFTs - but with patience you can get him to hold the bumper in the middle. Good luck.

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  6. #4
    Member jburn34's Avatar
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    May 2006
    Shreveport / Baton Rouge, LA


    First off, I'm not a take it for what it's worth. I had the same problems with my dog. He was solid on hold, but when picking up a dummy when forced or on a 'trained' retrieve he cigared it. Usually didn't do it on fun bumpers. I decided it was an attitude/laziness issue. I will tell you from the Danny Farmer video it appears they are much more concerned about the dog flying to the bumper than a perfect hold, which makes sense. Here are a couple of articles I found that really really helped me correct the problem with my pup:

  7. #5
    Senior Member FowlDawgs's Avatar
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    Oct 2007
    Wyoming....Soon to be Arkansas


    My 7 month old had that issue and after asking about "fixing" that issue on a different thread I just left her alone and now she's good. But, I wasn't too worried about it for the most part. My 3 year old blackie did the same cigar thing and I didnt do anything to him just let him be and he now holds them right. I think they'd grow out of it, but who knows. My choco hunny is also now at a top grade trainer, so take my opinion for what it's worth.


  8. #6

    Default has a ff bumper to teach center hold for 9.95 under the plactic bumpers section
    Southern Comfort Retrievers-
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    Wild Ragin Cajun

  9. #7
    Senior Member
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    Sep 2004


    Doesnt bother me as long as they are good with ducks.

  10. #8
    Audrey and Bruce Coleman


    The first thing I would do is make sure the pup is not having any problems in it's mouth. All the teeth should be in and the pup shouldn't have any sores or any other mouth problems. If you use bumpers without strings the problem should self eliminate. It is much harder holding a bumper by the end than by holding the middle. I would do a force fetch and make the pup carry it around for a while. If it drops the bumper make it pick it up any way it wants as long as it picks it up. It will figure out soon enough that it is easier to pick it up the right. Give the pup a chance to solve the problem.

  11. #9
    Senior Member pupaloo's Avatar
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    Jan 2006


    Quote Originally Posted by caglatz View Post
    Note its not an issue with birds, because how do you cigar a bird?
    Here's how! Never drops one, though...
    Last edited by pupaloo; 02-22-2008 at 01:55 PM.
    Marlana Smith
    APR SHR TDK's Dusty Gunslinger JH - "Churchill"
    CPR Max's Black Diamond Girl Scout JH - "Scout"

    An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  12. #10
    Senior Member Evan's Avatar
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    Jan 2003
    Kansas City, MO


    Quote Originally Posted by L J Monlezun View Post
    She has an otherwise quite mouth and has good momentum towards the bumpers when commanded fetch. The hold is my only concern.

    My question is should I continue to correct the position of the bumper in her mouth or should I go back all the way to hold and start FF over again????
    As the coursework suggests, this is something you consistently correct. With some dogs it takes longer than others. When you correct it make sure you use some degree of corrective pressure - a price for poor effort. Gradually increase pressure in corrections until a change in behavior is attained.

    In addition, there are (as suggested) some adjucts to your training efforts that will help a bit. This idea from Kwick Labs is a nice one, but there are others.

    Feel free to email me if you have further questions at .

    "Prepare your dog in such a manner that the work he is normally called upon to do under-whelms him, not overwhelms him." ~ Evan Graham

    “People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.”

    ― George Bernard Shaw

    The Smartwork System for Retriever Training (link)

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