Shaping a Retrieve to Hand
As a prerequisite you’ll need to have taught your dog a nose touch to your hand, so if your dog doesn’t know this, teach this skill first.
- Start by offering the object at nose level to the dog and mark and reward any interaction with it at first, you may need to start with just looking toward the object. Grow what you are looking for with the eventual aim that your dog is able to hold the object in their mouth for a mili-second, then longer and longer and so on. A duration hold (your dog holding the object in their mouth) is your ultimate goal here.
- Lower the object, and repeat process above until you have the object on the ground.
- When the object is on the floor only reward for behaviours involving the mouth/nose, not the feet.
- Move the object around to different positions on the floor and reward for grabbing/mouthing the object.
- Once your dog is grabbing the object and holding it in their mouth, encourage your dog to bring it in to you by holding out your ‘nose touch’ hand. The goal is that your dog will come in and perform a the ‘nose touch’ skill while holding the object which is ultimately a retrieve to hand. Once they have placed it in your hand, immediately say your marker word (at this point your dog will let go of the object as they are anticipating reinforcement), hold the object when your dog lets it go and reward your dog.
- Build distance, use other items and build arousal before moving onto to toys.
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