Handle on Head Shaking
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Thread: Handle on Head Shaking

  1. #1
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    Default Handle on Head Shaking

    6-7 month old pup. Very slowly getting into a hold with sit, still needs guidance to keep it in her mouth. I do need some advice on stopping her from shaking the bajeezus out of everything she retrieves! I've tried the Dokken but that ends up hurting me when the rope slaps my leg. Are there any bumpers that have something that will, for a lack of a better word, smack her when she shakes it?

    I want her to learn on her own, so to speak, I've tried taking the bumpers away when she shakes them, saying no. I'm a novice so I could use the help. Her OB is pretty good but she still needs work and reminding.

    She shakes the most on her way to me or when she tries to "give it to me." She is also pretty mouthy, dropping and chewing on it when working hold with the bumper.

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    Senior Member copterdoc's Avatar
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    Sounds like a good pup. That's only 6 or 7 months old.

    She doesn't need to be punished by the objects that you want her to retrieve. In fact, that will likely make the problem worse.

    What she needs, is to be trained to a standard of obedience, that isn't allowed to change when she has something in her mouth.

    "Here" and "sit" need to become enforceable commands. First.
    Then, you can start working on "hold".

    You might think that her OB is "pretty good".
    But it probably isn't nearly as good as you think it is.
    Considering the fact that God limited the intelligence of man, it seems unfair that he did not also limit his stupidity". -Unknown

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    It also might help to keep the retrieves short enough that she doesn't have time to shake it before you get it. Also, is she shaking it after the first or second retrieve? Or is it after the 5th or 6th or more? If she does well with the first few, then end the session on a good note. Sometimes our chessie would try to sneak away and shake and chew if he was getting bored of the session.

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    She stops shaking or chewing as much when shes had more retrieves. It's mostly in the beginning when she goes nuts. After a while she doesn't shake as much but still mouths it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by copterdoc View Post
    What she needs, is to be trained to a standard of obedience, that isn't allowed to change when she has something in her mouth."Here" and "sit" need to become enforceable commands. First.Then, you can start working on "hold".You might think that her OB is "pretty good". But it probably isn't nearly as good as you think it is.
    I've been having her sit and when she does, she drops the bumper. I've been grabbing the bumper and putting it in her mouth. If she drops it I just pick it up and put it in her mouth again. If she holds on to it as I grab it I give the release command and make a big deal about it and throw the bumper as a reward. Is this ok?I've also been encouraging her to not drop the bumper at my feet by refusing to throw it again until she picks it up and stays close to my hand. I'm at least glad you say she's good for her age, I'll try and focus on OB too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfatomic View Post
    I've been having her sit and when she does, she drops the bumper. I've been grabbing the bumper and putting it in her mouth. If she drops it I just pick it up and put it in her mouth again. If she holds on to it as I grab it I give the release command and make a big deal about it and throw the bumper as a reward. Is this ok?I've also been encouraging her to not drop the bumper at my feet by refusing to throw it again until she picks it up and stays close to my hand. I'm at least glad you say she's good for her age, I'll try and focus on OB
    too.
    Don't do that. Show reward by eye contact and voice within your control. Happy bumpers come later.

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    Senior Member nogie1717's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BJGatley View Post
    Don't do that. Show reward by eye contact and voice within your control. Happy bumpers come later.
    +1 I was doing the same thing (throwing a bumper as a reward for a good hold and drop) and my pup would immediately break sit, looking for the fun bumper. Took a couple sessions, but she knows that she has to keep sitting when I get the bumper from her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfatomic View Post
    6-7 month old pup. Very slowly getting into a hold with sit, still needs guidance to keep it in her mouth. I do need some advice on stopping her from shaking the bajeezus out of everything she retrieves! I've tried the Dokken but that ends up hurting me when the rope slaps my leg. Are there any bumpers that have something that will, for a lack of a better word, smack her when she shakes it?

    I want her to learn on her own, so to speak, I've tried taking the bumpers away when she shakes them, saying no. I'm a novice so I could use the help. Her OB is pretty good but she still needs work and reminding.

    She shakes the most on her way to me or when she tries to "give it to me." She is also pretty mouthy, dropping and chewing on it when working hold with the bumper.
    First of all the dog will not learn not to shake the object on their own. The dog will not out grow the shaking, the shaking of the retrieved object will only get worse. Do not keep offering objects looking for a silver bullet, The shaking stops when you've establihed obedieance and control. Obediance and FF will solve and control your issue. You've stated that you are a novice, seek out an advanced amature or pro for help, the sooner you get control of your pup the sooner you can get control over this challenge and move on.

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    Road the dog before a retrieving session. Make her tired so she is less apt to perform the offending behavior. Teach her that FETCH means hold the object still by being patient (with a now tired dog), taking the bumper only when she has a quiet mouth and IMMEDIATELY rethrow (reward). Let her excitement level come up some during the session. She has to learn to perform correctly when she's excited. If she gets over the top and can't get it right, slow yourself down and maybe even add more exercise. It's a tricky balance sometimes when they start to get high (on all behaviors, not just this one).

    I wouldn't use punishment for this a) because she's a baby and b) because you don't want to knock her out of drive but rather, teach her a good habit while she's high.

    Also check and see is she does it with a duck. I have one that does that stuff with a bumper on the first couple of retrieves but does no such thing with a bird. All I really have to do is run a big mark or blind as the first retrieve and the energy expenditure takes care of the problem (pretty much).

    I just deal with it early in a session because it doesn't effect anything in competition or hunting. It may be a non issue at the end of the day.
    Last edited by DarrinGreene; 12-30-2014 at 07:34 AM.
    Darrin Greene

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    It's likely a recall problem, and as others have said, I would focus on her obedience at this stage. Recall her to you without the dummy a few times. Reward perfect recall to front. Then sit her up with the dummy in her mouth a few metres away and recall to front, and see how she relates to that. Or recall her to you with the dummy in front of her so she picks up on the recall and straight to you. The object of these exercises, once you have the perfect recall with no dummy, is to take the 'sting' out of the retrieve. You know she can do the 'chase' part, and this gets the adrenalin up. You want her now to pick up/hold calmly and focus on getting back to you as a priority.

    Having said all that, at 6-7 months old, she will have teeth issues probably, so I would be very careful with the amount of retrieve work and 'holding' I did with her, while her mouth is settling...

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