Opinions on retrieval training please.

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Opinions on retrieval training please.

This is a discussion on Opinions on retrieval training please. within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; A lot of you know, Nero is my service dog. Recently, we have been working a lot more on picking up dropped items and directed ...

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Old 01-16-2013, 05:27 PM
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Opinions on retrieval training please.

A lot of you know, Nero is my service dog. Recently, we have been working a lot more on picking up dropped items and directed retrieves. We have recently had an "issue" come up, though I'm not sure if it's a problem or not.

Nero is very fond of picking up his leash. Of course he is, because this generally means we get to keep moving (or start moving). Now, when two items are on the floor, for example the keys and my phone, "phone" means phone and "keys" means keys. Not a problem. When, let's say the leash is off his collar and just on the floor, "phone" still means phone, "keys" still means keys, and "leash means leash. If the leash is attached to his collar and it is in my hand, "keys" means keys and "phone" means phone. However, when the leash is attached to his collar but it is dropped, "leash" means leash and "keys" means leash, turn around and immediately get the keys. I'm not saying anything when he gives me the leash first, and I am not giving him another direction to take the keys. It's just, on the first command, if his leash is dropped and I tell him to get something other than the leash, he still gets it on the first command, but only after he gives me his leash.

I don't mind him doing this, as it's ONLY with the leash, however I posted this same question elsewhere, and have been getting mixed reviews. Some people have commented that this is a good thing because then I have his leash for safety purposes. Some people say that I should correct this because in an emergency I may need him to bring me my phone quickly. Mind you, he's still getting my phone quite quickly, just after the leash. There's only about a 2 second delay.

Also, keep in mind that if I need him to retrieve anything that is a long distance away from me, it will likely be in a secure area like my home and he won't be on leash, so distance isn't really a factor here.

Opinions, please?
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:09 PM
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I see nothing wrong with him giving the lead first. It is like here hold this while I get this. Now if he gets the objects every time when the lead is not in the picture then just keep the lead up when not needing it. Is that possible?
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:13 PM
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He gets the object every time when there is no lead in the picture. He also gets the object every time if the leash is in the picture and either not attached to him, or attached to him and already in my hand.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:18 PM
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Personally, as long as he was still getting the object, even if it's after he gets the lead, I'd not worry about it, and would just chalk it up as one of his quirks.
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:19 PM
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Good Boy.. You both are doing great then.
He just learned that if the lead is attached it is supposed to be in your hand. He is doing right you are doing wrong....LOL
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:21 PM
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I don't know anything about service dogs, but if you do decide you want to extinguish that behaviour, you need to take away his chance to get reinforced.
If you say "Keys," and he brings you the leash, gently take him by his collar before he gets the chance to go back for the keys. Have him sit next to you for a few seconds (or whatever you would generally have him doing when he's not working,) put the leash back where it was, then calmly ask him for "Keys" again. At that point, even if you just see him LOOK at the keys, praise him. "Yes, that's it!" This is where he learns that it's more fun to make the choice to do what you've asked him than it is to do what he wants. Then of course, when he brings the keys, praise/treat/play the heck out of him. You can even use the leash itself as the reward in a Premack kind of way. "Good boy! Yes, these are my keys! Now you can get your leash!"
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Old 01-16-2013, 06:47 PM
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I think that as long as this doesn't become a problem, I will allow him to give me the leash.

Thanks for your ideas and opinions. It really helps.

He definitely looks at the item I ask for before going for the leash. He's always very calculating.
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Old 02-26-2013, 05:59 AM
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Retrieval training is very important to puppies because it can give them ideas to handle all the problems that will occur.
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