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August 22nd 2007 9:39 am
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This thread will be started with each new trick. You may post here with helpful hints at how to teach the trick or ask questions to see if another pup can help you learn the trick. You can also woof here and let us know your progress.

Retrieve 8/22/2007

It is definitely a gene thing. Some pups will be naturals at this and others will have to be taught to retrieve. Of course, there are exceptions. I have one Min Pin that loves to play catch and retrieve (although he does not always bring right back BOL) and another that either ignores the ball or toy or picks it up and wants us to chase her.

Anything your dog puts in his mouth is prized to him or her. The first step in teaching your dog to retrieve is to get your dog excited to show you his "treasure". All your dog must do to learn this step is come back with the prize. The focus is on the BRING, not the GIVE.

1. First line up several toys and have some training treats available.

2. Then gently toss a toy a few feet away from you. Every time your dog brings you a toy, shower him or her with praise. Do not take the toy away at this time.

3. When your dog starts catching on and brings the toy back to you, say "Bring."

4. When your dog arrives, toy in mouth, praise and pet and you can also give a treat if you wish, leaving the object in his mouth. Return to the pile of toys and toss another toy.

5. If your dog ignores you when he picks up the toy, try running away from him after he has picked it up. If he still will not bring it back, you can pretend to eat some of his treat. When he brings the toy to you, shower him with praise but do not reach for the toy yet.

6. Once your dog is bringing his toy to you on the Bring command, you are ready for the next step.


1. Giving up the object can be the trickiest part. This can be especially true if you have chased your dog for things in the past. Be patient, you are un-teaching a fun activity and it may take some time.

2. So NO MORE CHASING!! Instead offer something better.

3. Pull up a chair and line up some treats and your dog's favorite toy.

4. Call your dog over to you and show him the toy. Praise him when he takes it.

5. Next, with a treat in hand say, "Give". The treat should induce him to drop the toy. Reward the second he releases it.

6. Now go to a hallway or an enclosed space. Toss the toy.

7. Praise your dog the moment he picks it up and go to him and say, "Give". Reward the release.

8. Your dog may start releasing the ball as you approach or toss it on the ground near you. This is acceptable at first but you will need to be more selective with your rewards as you progress. Your dog should deliver the ball/toy mouth to hand. Here is how you can shape that behavior.

9. Go back to your chair and give your dog the toy. Say "Give" as you extend your hand under his mouth. If your dog drops the toy on the ground, ignore that behavior and begin again Reward the moment he drops it into your hand. If your dog is so obsessed with treats that he won't pay attention with treats around you may have to use extra praise and leave the treats out of the equation.

Once your dog has learned Bring and Give, it is time to put the two behaviors together

1. Go to a hallway or enclosed space.

2. Give the toy a short toss and tell your dog to "Bring" When your dog grabs it, cheerfully call him back to you.

3. Hold out your hand to retrieve the object. Tell him "Give" and reward your dog for a job well done. Repeat it a couple of more times and quit while things are going good.

4. Anyone wanting to teach your dog retrieve for the obedience ring will have to teach your dog with dowels and dumbbells made specifically for this purpose.

Give this a try and woof at us in the thread started in the group forum area. Let us know how you are doing8/22/2007


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