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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
16 week old Boykin puppy is getting better every day! He is progressing nicely through basic obedience commands and his retrieving has improved significantly now that we are throwing less retrieves and only throwing retrieves every few days. (following Hillman's DVD and all in all he is a happy puppy who enjoys retrieving)

One thing he struggles with is when he returns from a retrieve he wants to lay down and chew on the dummy... I always pet and praise when he returns (for a few seconds) and then reach for the dummy. Doesn't really matter how much time I give him with it or if I try to tease and distract him with another toy or dummy, he locks down on anything I try to take away from him.

I know I am still a few months away from force fetch... is there anything I can do now to encourage him not to chew on dummies when he returns or tug on them when I go to take them?
 

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Have you tried running backwards a few steps to keep the forward movement going before he lies down?? Run with a short check cord to encourage the pup to not run by you...just step on the check cord if he tries to play keep away.. keep praise to a minimum...praise only for the return to you.. timing is key..dont' praise when he lies down and chews on the bumper...

Take possession of bumper quicker..and throw it again immediately when he is looking out...keep everything moving fast and don't give pup the opportunity to think about chewing or laying down with the bumper.

No more than 3 or 4 throws per retrieve session.

Also, if the habit is also established and the above is not working, you can pick pup up off the ground with the bumper in their mouth and the pup will release or give a light squeeze in the flank (don't say anything), and the pup's attention will usually be broken and he will release bumper.
 

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Hillman's DVD teaches hold at a very young age. I think your answer lies there.

If I weren't following hillman, I'd try picking the pup up, at least getting the front feet off the ground and see if he'd drop. Also, I don't give my pups chew toys as I don't think they can tell them apart from the things I don't want them chewing.
 

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It's not clear from your post where you are in the Hillmann process ... that is, which skills you have begun teaching, or how far some of the skills have advanced in the teaching process.

You certainly have been working on "Sit". So, the first part about wanting to lay down and chew is easy to deal with. Command "Sit". If needed, you can gently help him to the sit position by pulling up by the collar. You have immediatley made chewing on the bumper much more difficult and less satisfying for him by putting him in a sit. Now reinforce and encourge the sit as you have been doing following Hillmann. It should be fairly easy for you to gently remove the bumper from his mouth while maintaining the "Sit", and (very importantly) without becoming angry, frustrated or aversive. The pup should quickly learn that this behavior is non-productive, and will be replaced by behaviors that you are paying off very generously with praise and enthusiasm.

You need to continuously balance the retrieving (excitement) and obedience. It seems to me that your problem indicates that something is out of balance. Switching from excitement to obedience puts you into a position to control this unwanted behavior. As Bill says often in the DVD, you are teaching the puppy that he is going to do what you want him to do, not what he wants to do.

Keep it fun,
Jim
 

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Where's Bora when ya need him? Got Rope?

Reel him in. Lip pinch. Immediate re-throw. Say nothing. It's simple. Don't over-complicate it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I can leave him in sit for up to a minute... He definitely knows the command but once he has the bumper he doesn't pay any attention and he always wants to slouch down and chew
 

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I can leave him in sit for up to a minute... He definitely knows the command but once he has the bumper he doesn't pay any attention and he always wants to slouch down and chew
I assume that this is in response to my suggestion.

This would be no different than teaching sit at the beginning. If the puppy wants to slouch when you are first teaching sit, you persist in repositioning him into the sit position. He is a puppy -- it is not difficult. If he wants to hold the bumper in his mouth while this is going on, that would not bother me. Work the sit a little bit and then do some heeling. If he maintains a perfect grip on the bumper through all of this, then terrific. If his hold is sloppy, then it will be easy to take it from his mouth while he is distracted by the obedience work you are doing together.

In this case, it should not matter what he wants. You need to use patience and finesse to make him do what you want. Listen to the story that Bill tells at 24:55 in the Puppy DVD about his first retriever and the heeling problem he was having. The problem is different from the one you are having, but I think that the simple solution that was offered to Bill at the time is applicable to you today.

Jim
 

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Why don't you focus one one behavior at a time instead of trying to combine two, one of this he doesn't seem to know.
 
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