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Making the dumbbell fun

Discussion in 'Sheltie Training' started by Piper's mom, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Premium Member

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    Winnipeg Mb
    Hi everyone, I'm still doing obedience with Piper and he's doing great however I'm looking for some tips on how others may have taught their dogs the dumbbell. Piper will 'hold' the dumbbell', he'll 'take it' (if I don't let him turn his head away lol) and I can maybe get him to take 4 steps with it in his mouth (only on leash, without it he won't move!). He clearly hates the dumbbell and I need to find a way to make it more fun with him so he'll enjoy it. Any tips would be greatly appreciated! Thanks :)
     
  2. 2GoodDogs

    2GoodDogs Forums Enthusiast

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    Does your dog have a play retrieve with the toy?
     
  3. Piper's mom

    Piper's mom Premium Member

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    Jun 26, 2015
    Winnipeg Mb
    Yes he does, initially he didn't want to pick it up but now when I throw it he will pick it up and bring it (somewhat) close to me.
     
  4. tofu pup

    tofu pup Moderator

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    I am by no means a dumbbell expert! But I've been playing around with it, and managed to teach my dog that the dumbbell is a magical object that can be traded for cookies, play, and extravagant praise, but only if you wait until you are sent, run out straight to pick it up, carry it straight back to Mom, and deliver it to her hands.

    I shaped it from the start, using a clicker and with this article and these videos as primary guides. Essentially, I broke the exercise down into tiny steps and gradually chained them all together, shaping along the way. We went through several plateaus (including the dreaded "it is physically impossible for me to hold a dumbbell and walk at the same time"), but by breaking it down into smaller/easier pieces, we worked through them. The first and most central lesson for us was that the dumbbell can be traded for amazing rewards. Puppy party? Jackpot cookies? Chase-and-dance game? These can all be yours, if you just put the dumbbell in Mom's hands and only in Mom's hands.

    Betty loves (LOVES) her dumbbell, to the point that if I leave it out where she can find it she will pick it up and bring it to me wherever I am in the house and try to shove it into my hands for a cookie. :D

    Now, take all this with a grain of salt, because we have yet to see the inside of a competition ring! But if you want to help your dog love the dumbbell, maybe this will help.
     
    2GoodDogs and Cara Sandler like this.

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