I'm following the Hillman puppy DVD and struggling a bit with getting my 1yr old golden crazy to retrieve on land. She'll chase anything that blows in the wind and return a bumper or two, but she's just not that keen and always seems to be looking for something else to do. She's better with sticks than with balls or bumpers. No strings on bumpers as she'll always grab them by the string. She likes weighted canvas bag bumpers but tends to destroy them by shaking while returning. With these complaints out of the way, she's a keen water dog and will enter the water and retrieve quickly from a lake/stream. I've not attempted to improve handling for water yet so she drops the object and shakes but at least she's keen to get it!
- I train 2x/day for 5-10 minutes on retrieving. I always try and quit with her wanting another throw.
- She gets 2x 30 min walks/day and usually another 45-1.5hr walk.
- I try to train after she's been crated and before eating.
- She's very good with ring obedience (2 rally novice qualifications and 2 novice A obedience qualifications). Trained with positive/food and markers.
- She is always on a 30' check cord during field work and I've not introduced an e-collar
I've tried running around, I've tried making noise (pup-pup-pup, doh-doh-doh, dee-dee-dee, etc), but she looses interest in land-based retrieving very, very quickly. We've trained daily for a month now and I'm still not getting much excitement or more than 2-5 bumpers per session. I cannot throw beyond my 30' check cord as if I drop the cord, she won't even bother picking up the object thrown. She'll run to it, but will usually find a blade of grass or smell that is more enjoyable. The only two things that get her drive up are me running and her chasing (note she quickly becomes more interested in me than the bumper I'm holding) or playing 'tug' either with a specific tug toy or a stick that I subsequently throw. I've not moved on to doing much/any field obedience as it seems to really kill her drive. So far, no 'fetch', no 'hold' and no 'heel' work in the field and certainly no 'traffic-cop' on land. I can get her to sit at the edge of water and retrieve an object.
Unfortunately, I have not found any clubs that regularly train locally (Kawartha Lakes, Ontario).
Hillmann repeatedly emphasizes the need for your dog to be excited and enthusiastic to retrieve before proceeding beyond the puppy video. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to build her drive?
I'm also at the point where I need to consider what training approach (i.e. Hilmann, Lardy, Farmer, Graham, Carr) to use going forward. Given the dog's disposition, does anyone have a suggestions?