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Thread: Hold help please

  1. #1
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    Default Hold help please

    We have been working on hold for about a week now, doing sessions twice a day (most days). I gave Dixie a break a few days ago because I didn't want boredom to become an issue.

    There is significant improvement in hold since we started, but I feel like we have hit a plateau and I can't figure out how to get her to keep improving. Maybe I am just expecting too much too soon, and need to keep on with what I am doing and just give it more time. If so, please tell me that. I started off with a paint roller and have moved on to a 2" bumper to try and get her used to something more similar to her retrieving bumpers (3"). She will hold it for random amounts of time, anywhere from 5-45 seconds-ish. I begin working with her on my tailgate and she does pretty well with that. As the session goes on, she will drop it quicker (possibly boredom). When she is doing well, I will command hold and then get her to jump off my truck. When I tell her 'heel' she normally walks around behind me and drops it before coming to heel. On marks, she delivers to hand, but if I command heel and sit before taking it, 7 out of 10 times, she will drop it before coming to heel. I have tried tapping her nose and her chin for correction and wasn't getting results, so I tried a nick also. When she fails to do it off the truck, I get her back up there and work on the tailgate again. By then, she has lockjaw and is not interested in holding. I force her to do it at least once (successfully) before putting her away.

    Basically, I can't get her to hold for an extended amount of time and I can't get her to hold consistently when coming to heel. Please help.

    PS- sorry for the long post. I wanted to include as much info as possible for you. Also, cross posted on the refuge for members there to comment on. (I can't see the fuge at work...)
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    Last edited by ducknwork; 04-21-2011 at 05:05 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member metalone67's Avatar
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    How old is the pup? You need to just spend some more time, you've only been doing it a week. Be patient and keep doing what your doing. I would look into one of the DVD's that have been suggested on here time after time I think the one that gets great reviews Is Evans Smart Fetch.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Erin Lynes's Avatar
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    My advice would be to work on one thing at a time.... work on duration first. If she can't consistently hold for any length of time while sitting still, then she's not ready yet to be holding while moving (a procedure which requires her to hold for a longer length of time AND deal with the distraction of walking). You need to work on three things separately before putting them together: Duration (time she is required to hold), distance (how far away you are while she is holding) and distractions (things like walking while holding, or changing location).

    Also, you might want to stop the marks until you get to a point where she can hold while walking.

    Keep it simple

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  4. #4
    Senior Member GG's Avatar
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    Continue what you are doiing---sounds normal to me, just need reps.
    GG
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  5. #5
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    You are going to mess your dog up.

    Firstly, you have acknowledged she "does not deliver to hand" in the field......that's ok. No sweat BUT you cannot reinforce what she does not know.

    No more collar corrections or pops on the chin etc when running marks.

    Take care of the issue in a more formal enviroment (on the table or wherever you normally do your hold work).

    Once Force fetch is in place, then you will take it to the field to "field force" or reinforce what she has learned.

    Dogs are very spacially oriented. So a "taught" concept in one "place" (field, yard etc) often will not transfer to another place. You have to teach it, then reinforce it in other spots (think, teach in the yard or tablework, THEN move it to the field to reinforce).

    You are trying to do too much all at once.

    A friend of mine once told me, you can eat a whole pig, but you can't eat a pig whole.

    Continue with the force fetch/hold stuff. Get that down, then move to the field work.

    I start with hold on a paint roller. I remove any negative associations that might occur from being associated with the bumper. I continue to use the roller until she is consistently picking it up off the ground/table before moving to a bumper. By then, most of the negative association is gone.

    When I start with hold, and they drop it, I will "scold" with my voice initially. MOST of the dogs, WANT to please. So at first reprimanding with a voice works.....then once I feel they have the concept to hold when I command it, I will move to an ear pinch if they drop it. Even with the ear pinch, you are STILL at this point working on hold.

    Force fetch is a process. Its very linear. Yes, I am a big proponent of thinking outside the box, BUT for most dogs you don't have to. If you have a "hard case", then you have to tweak it a bit.

    It sounds like you are confusing the dog, asking too much to soon, and she is getting a negative association with the corrections for things she has not been taught.

    WRL

  6. #6
    Senior Member Fowl Play WA's Avatar
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    There is no reason to rush. Slow down, work on one thing and don't move on until she's got it. Make it fun and end on a good note. Sometimes you'll have 10 minute sessions, other times, you'll have 2-3 really good holds right from the start and you stop. Always end when the dog has done it right.

    Oh, and make sure you do something else with your dog throughout the day.
    Joni
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  7. #7
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    OK, so it's kinda what I was thinking. Too much at once. Work on duration first? How long should I expect her to hold it before I know that part is good enough? I know the answer will probably be until I command drop, but are we talking 5 minutes? 10? 45?

    Should I really stop marks? She does deliver to hand, I just have to take it before I command heel. We both really enjoy that, I would hate to stop, but will if it's necessary. What if I use a different bumper?
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    Last edited by ducknwork; 04-21-2011 at 05:05 PM.

  8. #8
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    In my opinion, go ahead and run the marks unless you see her "quit" or get lackadaisalical on the retrieve. She likes it, its fun and it could be the "balance" you need while she goes through a more "stressful" training in the yard. If the retrieving in the field becomes DETRIMENTAL to the goal of what you want, then stop.

    How long do you make a dog hold? Well that depends on you.

    If a dog truly understands hold, they will hold it until you tell them they are done.

    Personally, I rarely have a dog hold something longer than a few minutes. I really don't think its ever needed for a dog to sit and hold a bumper or bird for 10 minutes but....once again, its up to you.

    Go back to hold. Give a "reprimand" if she drops it. You should be able to tap on the bumper or object you are using and see her make an effort to continue holding it.

    Start there and once there you can slowly move forward.

    WRL

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    Buy the Hillman video asap.

  10. #10
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    Thanks for the help everyone. Last night and this morning went exceptionally well. I only worked her on the tailgate and made a conscious effort to have more patience with her. (That was pretty difficult, because my kids were pretty bad last night and I had just put them to bed...) No corrections needed last night and only a couple this morning when I was able to knock the bumper out of her mouth. After 2 corrections for that, I wasn't able to knock it out again. She held for up to 1.5 minutes, and would have gone longer, but I commanded drop so I wasn't pushing her too much. The improvement in the last 2 sessions was incredible. I don't know if it was my attitude or she is finally getting it, but it sure was nice. Thanks for the help!
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    Last edited by ducknwork; 04-21-2011 at 05:06 PM.

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