Thursday, March 10, 2011

"Get Your Leash" Jackal's March Trick

World class begging. :)

I've worked on get your leash twice now with Jackal. Once on the eighth and again today. On the eighth it took moments for him to start picking up the leash, but I started asking for duration (holding it in his mouth for a couple of seconds) too soon and we lost it all. Today I simply focused on having him pick up the leash. No duration at all. It went much better and he was eagerly picking up the leash.

So I have a question for my dog trainer friends. I've never taught Jackal a "hold" for anything. So do I teach him to hold the leash? Or do I just teach him to put it in my hand? Eventually I want him to be able to get his leash from across the room, bring it to me and put it in my hand. So does he even need to know how to hold it, or do I just shape him putting it into my hand? I don't know if I'm making any sense. Maybe it's time to get on YouTube and see what methods people use for teaching fetch. It should be the same principles for getting his leash. For anyone who has trained this I would love to hear from you. :)


  1. holding is a completely separate skill, and a very hard one to boot! You only need a hold if you want him to learn to for pictures (fun pictures!) or if you want to compete in obedience. Even if you do want that, first teach bring to hand. Do very short retrieves, emphasis on your HAND. Cup your hands together and move your entire body in the direction your hands are going (movement attracts) and gradually stop the extra help and just have to hand.

    I'm thinking of putting up a blog post on holding soon...

  2. Oh and here's the post I made on retrieving:

  3. I would teach the "hold" first. nothing cuter than a dog "holding" the object in a sit in front of you. when i was working Loki's dumbbell retrieve, he had NO problem going out to get the dumbbell, bring it back and toss it at my feet. or if i was lucky, i could grab it before he let go. so i tried to teach him to sit with it by saying "sit"... well, he had NO idea what I wanted, so he spit out the dumbbell and sat. "sit" to him was a pure and simple "sit" NOT have something in your mouth and sit. I had to teach a WHOLE new command for "sit and hold something." I called it "hold"... so i started him in a sit and held out the object and shapped his hold while in a sit from there. once he had the "hold while sitting" the finished behavior of hold was "hold something in your mouth while sitting" so when he came to me with the dummbelll from the retrieve, I said "hold" and he sat and held it in his mouth.

    you can shape putting it in your hand after he holds it after that. because i wouldn't want something dumped on the ground for ME to pick up. when i gave the "hold command" i also taught him "give" which he would just open his mouth while my hand was underneath the dumbbell.

    i can't teach the leash command here cuz our leahses are downstairs. plus they are leather and i'm sure over time, juno would love to nibble on them if bored. so i can't leave them out. :(

  4. No wonder I am having trouble with Maggie picing up and holding things-it isn't as easy a thing to teach for other dogs, too. I will be more patient.

  5. No expert advice, from a logic perspective I would train him to put it in your hand. If he knows to pick it up and put it in your hand then you start moving your hand further away so he has to move to put it in your hand. Once you have that I would think having him wait before dropping it would be easy. I use the command WAIT if I want my dog to pause whatever he is doing. Hope that helps.

  6. Let me know when you figure it out. I can't get either of my dogs to hold or pick things up. If I have something in my hand they will target it with their noses, but not hold on to it. Same with stuff on the floor. They've got it in their heads that during training time you only touch stuff. Sigh.

    Mango Momma

  7. Oh - how exciting! Can't wait to hear how you progress with this trick!!

    Yes, I agree - there are many separate tricks here so you will need to teach each one and chain them together - although as Laura says, "Hold" is more of a static one where the dog has to stay with the object in his mouth (sitting or standing) - whereas just bringing to your hand is just an extension of the retrieve and probably slightly easier.

    I had to backtrack with Honey because when we initially taught her fetch games, we always told her "Drop It" when she brought the ball back - which meant that after a while, she was just auto-spitting it out as soon as she got to us! So then it was a bit of a nightmare getting her to actually put it into my hand. I've taught her a separate command for that "Give" which means she mustn't release the object until it's in my hand. I only rewarded her if she put it in my hand, not if she dropped it first. So now I differentiate between the 2 - sometimes I tell her "Drop It" and sometimes I tell her "Give" - just to keep challenging her! :-)

    For "Hold", I taught it using shaping with clicker: ie. in very gradual steps - I clicked first for any interest in the object on the ground (even looking at it), then for nosing it, then for mouthing it, then for actually picking it up (doesn't matter if only for a split sec) - gradually, I started withholding the click & asking for more - so I only clicked after she held it in her mouth for longer, then longer - then I started backing away from her as she was holding it and only clicked if she came towards me but STILL holding the object in her mouth (by this stage, I'd added the verbal cue) - and then finally, she only got the click if she kept holding it and sat at the same time.

    Honey actually learnt the Hold surprisingly quickly - in about 2 weeks - but I think that was because she had already done TONS of shaping and so quickly worked out what I wanted. It might take longer with a dog not used to shaping. She still doesn't really enjoy holding stuff though (other than her stuffies!) and I still have to work on certain textures (like metal and paper) but she'll do a beautiful Obedience retrieve! :-)

    good luck!



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