Games for Retrieve Foundations


I have been asked many times HOW I teach a Retrieve.

Over the next few weeks and months, I am planning on posting a series of videos of Karrde as he learns a retrieve. The videos will also appear on the Debby Quigley Facebook page. The processes will go from teaching games to the more formal DB retrieve.

Once Karrde has learned all the games, has desire for the DB, and understands how to grab toy/treat and return to me, I will begin a more FORMAL Retrieve Training or start to teach Karrde how to take, hold and pick up the DB.

Hahahahahha .. This is going to be a job but hope it helps everyone. :>)

These Games will be revisited on a regular basis throughout my dog’s career regardless of the venue.

I have definite criteria to both games.
My dog MUST run out, pick up quickly, SPIN back towards me with focus and run back.

These skills should become a HABIT BEFORE moving on to the next level. That means no extra words, commands or noises. My dog just automatically does criteria without any help from me.

What is the difference between these games?
The “Cookie Toss” is tossing multiple cookies one at a time.
The “Get It” Game is tossing ONE cookie/toy at a time.

This first video is all about foundations I do BEFORE introducing a dumbbell to the mix. I teach the “Cookie Toss” and “Get It” Games.

Video Notes: In this video, Karrde, my youngest, is the first player. What I liked – Karrde has great desire built to participate. When we first began, the enthusiasm and intent to get back to me was great but I did not like his turn. I started adding a verbal to get the tight spin I was looking for and did achieve good results.

Riker, middle child, is next. Riker has a great spin back and speed away and to me. Note how he focuses back on me quickly after the last treat at me.

Sly, my oldest, is the last. Most of his efforts are awesome. This skill is a HABIT for him.

The last portion of the video is Karrde and Riker with a toy and the “Get It” Game. My criteria is the same whether a treat or toy. Karrde needs more work on the HABIT. Riker does a better job but the first rep was a bit sloppy. Instead of allowing less than criteria, I added his name back into the training. We will spend more time on this step BEFORE progressing.

Pick Up Stix is a game I play with my dogs BEFORE we start retrieve training. This game is to teach my dog to pick up and deliver to my hand. This is the end part of a retrieve. Also, Pick Up Stix teaches to enjoy and have fun delivering to me.
First, I gather random items.

Video Notes: Sly, is the first in the video. He has done this game many times. Before beginning, we review the Get It Game with a treat. I want to make sure Sly will run out, immediately turn back towards me after he gets the treat and runs back. Good habits start with GREAT foundations. We then move on to picking up the various objects. Sly does a great job delivering all the items to my hand.

Riker is next. He has done this game before but these are new items for him. Again, I review the “Get It” and back to me with a treat. When the start with the items to pick up and put in my hand. Even though I am not throwing the items, Riker is thinking about getting to me quick. This HABIT will help to build the desire to retrieve in the future. Also, this is a wonderful opportunity for me to catch any possible retrieve problems. During this session, Riker picks up the DB by the bell instead of the bit. Using my finger, I tap the DB so that it falls out of his mouth, making a game of hanging on to it. It takes a few repetitions, but Riker does figure out how to get it and give to me without it “falling out” of his mouth.

Karrde, the bad puppy, is last. Hahahahaha. We will be working on him staying on the bed more. He has never played the Pick U Stix Game. We review the Get It Game first. I really like his grabbing the treat and spinning back towards me. As we work through the various items is good or what needs to be worked on. When Karrde has trouble, I encourage him and give him loads of feedback but let him work out the problem himself.

Here is Part 2 of the Pick Up Stix Game … point of this game is for my dog to love putting objects in my hand … I am using slices of string cheese for rewards which is high on all my dog’s list of favorites … Items being used today are a dog brush, flaslight, dog bowl, dumbbell, glove and a metal and leather article.

Video Notes: Riker is the first to give this a try. He does a nice job BUT a few times I don’t like the way he is picking the object up … for the DB, i use my index finger and tap the end so the DB will fall out of his mouth .. he quickly learns only one way to give the object to me will pay off … extra effort pays extra rewards ..

Sly is next up … he has done this concept before and LOVES the game ….

Karrde is last … he has not done this game before except for in the Part 1 video … anytime he doesn’t pick up an object, I just redirect him to try again .. he gets positive and negitie feedback with all he does … a few times he starts “playing” with the object and I give him “cut it out” feedback .. he really likes to throw objects at me rather than handing it to me … We will address that issue in this game … over time and with loads of feedback, he will understand what “pays” and what does not …

Eeny, Meeny, Miny Game – This game helps build desire to take a DumbBell… I train all the boys at once using the competition between each to increase their wanting to take the DB … if I offer the DB to one and they do not engage, I move on to the next dog. This game builds enthusiasm and is not my formal retrieve training. That will come sooon … Desire first, presision second….

Toy/Dumbbell on String – Retrieve Game …

In this video…
Lorri is playing with her new IG puppy. Lorri is building desire to chase and grab the toy … something that is needed for a retrieve later in life.

Karrde and I are reviewing the toy on the string game. Karrde has loads of desire, as you can see in the video … He understands my markers, bot good and bad .. He has to learn the rules of engagement and play/retrieve at this stage … lastly, Karrde starts learning about the Dumbbell on a string … hahahaha it is actually a 6′ leather leash … something easy for me to hold … Karrde does a great job and is learning how to take ahold of the DB .. I mark what I like as well as what I do not like … the game is ended when he is still having fun …
ENJOY … as always, I am happy to answer questions ..