retrieving problem

Posted by jillbck1
Jan 4, 2010
hullo there
First off I train by GS for about 30 minutes- sit stay come
To end off we fetch his retrieve toys
At this point his drive goes into overdrive and he rushes back outside and throws himself down in the down position, waiting-
as soon as I lift my arm to throw, he cannot control himself(I cannot control him) and moves forward towards me trying to catch it before it even leaves my hand or about 5 cm away from me as I throw.
his drive is UNBELIEVABLY high with this game and he retrieves beautifully and brings it back to me and leaves on command, mostly.

before I throw he will sit, down and stay perfectly.
But as soon as I start to throw, that's where the problem starts.

Please help!

Many thanks

PS I have never done this on the forum before, please let me know what happens next- do I watch for and answer, will I be notified...??
Posted by kjd
Jan 4, 2010
Hi, Jill.

You should get an email when there is a response to your question. That email will have the first response. If you don't return to the forum, you will never get notified of further responses.

For the retrieve: You have a "stay" problem, not a retrieve problem.

Get out a retrieve toy and place it somewhere in your pocket, your belt, on a table where you can touch it without taking your eyes off your dog.. When he goes into the down position, give him the stay command. (From your question, you didn't tell him to down or stay, he just did.) Now reach for the toy. If he moves, stop immediately. Return him to the stay position and treat him if he lets you make any motion without moving. What you are doing is making the toy your distraction as you teach him the stay command. You also want to teach him that the toy in your hand does not automatically mean a game of fetch.

He is seeing the fetch as a game with no commands. Many people do play fetch without a command. They'll have several toys and throw one out, then, as the dog returns with the first toy, throw the second, so the dog is not even given the command to drop the toy.

Originally, I send you had a problem with the stay command. Actually, I think the problem is the dog thinks this is a game and you consider it an extension of his obedience.

It will take patience, but he will get it.

Good luck and let us know how it goes,
Posted by jillbck1
Jan 4, 2010
hi kjd

I think you have hit the nail on the head.
He thinks it is a game and I think it is still training.

I will follow you advice and see how this goes.

I tried something else today-
to throw while holding him on a lead, close in the heel position, telling him to 'wait'- did not use the stay command- not sure why, maybe this is a mistake- but I use it when i feed him, or go through a door instead of stay.

Then when he was sitting or down nicely I let him FETCH- this seems to work

How does that sound to you?

Many thanks

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 4, 2010
Hi kjd and jillbck1;

Sorry to step in but "Stay" is same as to freeze. Therefore, you can only release it in front of the dog by saying your release word.

The hand signal of "Stay" is to show your palm to your dog as if saying "Stop". If you see your dog loose across the street and there is a car coming, you would not want your dog to come to you. That's why you say "Stay" with your hand signal and make him stay right there until you go get him.

On the other hand, "Wait" is being used in more casual ways. Just hang around there but don't go anywhere. The hand signal for that is to draw a line between your dog and you by saying "Wait". Your dog can be sitting, lying down, or walking around. You can also call him from a distance while your dog is "waiting".

Therefore, jillbck1 is correct to use "Wait" in this case. Make your dog "wait" until the ball is thrown. Then, you can tell him to go fetch. Maybe later, you can just making him wait with your hand moving in front of face, then lift your hand up so that your dog can dash out.

Once he learns the rule, he will have the clue and you can just keep throwing balls without worrying him jumping to take your ball.

Enjoy fetch!
Posted by kjd
Jan 4, 2010
Hey, Max,

I was just going to say that Jill's "wait" command was great!

The wait command is a relatively new one to me. We always taught stay both for until we returned and for until we called the dog. I like the idea of distinguishing between the two, and I am sure it is easier for the dogs.

As a newbie to "wait," Max, I've a problem with your description. I'd heard (not learned, since I'm very old school) that "wait" was used if you intended for your dog to perform any other command after that one, but otherwise, was the same as "stay" -- don't move out of the position you are in. You seem to be saying it is a much more casual command, allowing the dog to move around.

OTOH, my understanding is that in Schutzhund, all motionless commands carry the stay automatically. If you are told to "platz," you "platz" until released.

Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 5, 2010
Hi kjd,

I am sorry but I am not familiar with Schutzhund training method.
There must be a bunch of different training methods, including positive reinforcement and old fashion punishment methods.

I like the idea of distinguishing "Stay" and "Wait", as well as using "Come" for an absolute command, and "Over here" for a more casual request.

The bottom line is how effective you can communicate with your dog so I am not so worried about different training methods and commands as long as they are based on positive reinforcement. (To be honest with you, kjd, I do use punishments with my dogs though because I don't think training using only positive reinforcement has a limit. We can discuss this some other time).

Talking about Fetch, jillbck1, I am amazed that your dog does not start running toward the direction you are about to throw the ball. Most of dogs that are crazy about fetching run away before you even throw your ball so that they can get to the ball quicker:confused:

Anyway, have him wait is a very good excercise for him to control himself. I sometimes throw balls for my three dogs and have them take turns. I have them all sit and tell 2 out of the three to "Stay" and tell one of the three to "Go get the ball". I can tell all 3 dogs want to run after the ball with an instinct but if he/she is told to "Stay" they need to control the instinct and remain staying.

Have fun
Posted by MaxHollyNoah
Jan 6, 2010
Hi kjd,

Sorry I didn't to answer your question about "Wait" being more casual than "Stay" yesterday.

>Your dog can be sitting, lying down, or walking around. You can also call him from a distance while your dog is "waiting".

kjd, you have a problem with my above comment because all motionless commands carry the stay automatically, right?

I don't know if "Wait" is considered as a montionless command or not. When you tell your dog to "Sit" and don't release it you dog is supposed to be sitting at the spot for hours and days, same as "Down" as a theory. How about "Stand"?

Is "Sit" a state or an action? "Sit-Stay" is a combination of an action and a state. I am not so strict about that.

My commands are more used for daily behaviors, not for obedience trials. For example, when I want my dogs to be "Down" while we eat, they lie down on their side because they are more comfortable that way rather than a real "Down" position like a Sphynx, which is considered as "Down" in an obedience trial.

I would take "Wait" more like an action of waiting. However, by saying "they can walk around" I didn't mean that they can go to another room, etc. but they can sit, stand up, walk a few steps back and forth, to that extent.

I also use "Wait" meaning "Wait" literally, in other words, "Wait here until I come back". It is clearly different from "Stay". At the dog park, when Noah behaved poorly by snapping other dogs, etc. I would tell Holly and Daisy to "Wait" and take Noah to the car for a time-out. Holly and Daisy usually wait for me at the fence but they go back and forth (they can move). In that sense, I think "Wait" can be an action.

Maybe I am wrong about the usages of the commands but I am communicating with my dogs and they know what I mean so it serves fine with me.

I am curious to hear from you, kjd, and any other members.
Posted by kjd
Jan 6, 2010

I am continuing this discussion in the Dog Behavior Training forum since it doesn't really have anything to do with Jill's original quesion.

Posted by jillbck1
Jan 8, 2010
OMW! Max and Kjd- thank you both for taking all this trouble!
I think I am getting the question sorted in many different ways....or not?
Next question is - when he returns with the object immediately in front of me, will 'sit' or 'down' immediately on command, but this is happening right in front of me, not next to me, and fixes his eye on the object, he will stay if I walk around and sit or down at a distance and stay until I get back to him - so all this is 100%- as soon as I move my arm he moves towrds me fixated on the object trying to catch it as it leaves my hand.
1. should I try and get him to sit in a heel position
2.should I hold him on a lead to teach him to wait
3.should I just let this be a game and try and avoid him catching the object really close to me?

I wait in anticipation...
Posted by kjd
Jan 8, 2010

If you were training your dog to retrieve so he could get a Companion Dog Excellent or a Utility degree, I would get the latest obedience instructions from the AKC and tell you exactly what you should have him doing. However, it seems to me you are rewarding him for a session well done with a rousing game of fetch.

That's your game, your rules. Not the AKC's, not Max's, not mine. If you want him to wait until you tell him to go after it, then you should probably work on a very reliable, very steady stay. If you want him to wait until after you throw it before he moves, don't let the toy leave your hand unless he is still. If you don't care, and actually have fun trying to throw it before he can grab it, then just enjoy yourselves.

Please don't get the idea there is only one right way for your dog to act. You may have noticed that Max and I don't always agree on commands. Max's experience with owned dogs and many foster dogs has resulted in some terrific methods of keeping order without losing sight of the main goal: give you and your dog (or dogs) a good life (however you define good). I, OTOH, usually have only one dog and am interested in the sport of AKC obedience. Even so, I promised myself, at the first obedience trial I ever attended, to never forget my main object in obedience competition was for both dog and handler to have fun.

You've offered three scenarios. None of them are wrong. None of them are going to turn your dog into the neighborhood wimp or the neighborhood bully. So pick the one you like. If you have to train your dog to stay or to wait, we will help you work on that. But don't get hung up on rules. Please.