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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Teach the Retrieve with Clicker

Here is my method of teaching fetch to a puppy using a clicker.
When my newest Border Collie (BC)  was about two months old I rolled a tennis ball and she said, yea, a ball, so what.
  • I rolled it again and she looked at it -- c/t (click and treat)  I had already taught her that the click meant a treat so she came to me for the treat as soon as she heard the click.
  • After four or five times I rolled it and didn't click when she looked at it.  She looked at it, looked at me, and walked towards it -c/t.
  • Four or five of those and I didn't c/t when she walked towards it.
  • So she walked up to it  I c/t.
  • Four or five or those and I didn't c/t when she almost touched it ---
  • so she touched it --- c/t jackpot and rolled ball again.
  • She ran up to it and touched it with her nose and ran to me for the treat ---
  • Four or five and no c/t until she moved it with her nose.
I think that you should have it by now --- slowly slowly step by slow step. She finally picked it up and I jackpotted (gave a bunch of treats).And went to bed.
Next night I planned on starting from scratch but as soon as I rolled the ball she ran to it and picked it up and I c/t and she came for the treat. We played with getting her to bring it closer and closer for awhile that evening and she finally did.
The following night, going against everything that I knew, I rolled a dumbbell about three feet from me. She ran to it, picked it up by the bell and brought it back.
For the past ten months we've been working on bringing it back by the bar and sitting front.  And waiting for the command. She has never, so far, refused to bring it back, altho it's often to heel or to a crooked front, and, in fact, must be retrained from chasing everybody else's dumbell in Open class.
Last week she chased and brought back somebody else's --- big one, too.  I made no fuss - it was my fault for not holding her tightly enough.  And I'm not about to punish her for retrieving.
She now retrieves over a jump -- about 80% of the time going over both ways ---no, actually, she always goes over towards the dumbell, but not always back. But we haven't been doing it long.  She hasn't been shown at all yet, so I figure we have time.
BTW, I also use a metal and leather article and glove now and then. I can't show her in Canada so I'm not bothering with the wooden articles. Hope this explains it.
I might add that I'm NOT convinced that a dog can be trained using nothing but the clicker, but it does seem to clarify things for them --- my timing is pretty good after all these years --- but I don't think that I could have said "GOOD" fast enough to have done it.  The clicker is sharper in sound.
I couldn't believe that in three night she went from "So it's a ball, so what," to "Here's a toy, please throw it for me"! She's as much of a nuisance asking for toys to be thrown as any of my naturally compulsive retrievers.
This was written last year for the Clicker FAQ list.  (and is still there even as we speak)
As of this point she has her UKC CDX and is still crazy for the dumbell.
Vivian Bregman and the Border Collies in Northern New Jersey
Member of NADOI & APDT

Source : doglogic

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