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Well, we're halfway through our grade one training now and starting to feel nervous about the test. We had a run through of the requirements last week and he reckons ours would have passed and now the challenge is to get to merit or distinction level... :)

So, this is where we are at and where we still need work:

Heelwork - great. Has come along in leaps and bounds since using the sliplead and being firmer with them.

Sit. No probs.

Stay. Tombi, almost bombproof to sit still for 2 mins. Practicising this lots at the moment. Inja is great, sits there and is happy to be still as you walk away and come back but as you get about 2-3 metres from her, she gets up and creeps forward. Any tips on resolving this?

Recall. No probs.

Retrieving. Hmmm. Tombi LOVES retrieving but sometimes gets the dummy and 'kills' it or runs around a bit before coming back. I think we are resolving this by firm 'no' as she doesn't something naughty and praise 'good girl' as she comes back towards us. We've stopped letting them play with toys other than for training as they were used to having things thrown for them and then being allowed to run around and chase each other 8O and hopefully this will help her realise that she must come back to us for the game to continue. Any other ideas?

Inja is still working on being enthusiastic about retrieving the dummy (though she loves her ball now) but she is getting there.

Both of them drop the dummy/ball near our feet though rather than delivering to hand. How do I fix this? (I know this isn't necessary for grade one, but keen to fix it now)

Sorry, a long one...! Grateful for any advice on the bits we are struggling with. Thanks!
 

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OK, I will help with what I can where I have had problems in the past and overcome them (with help :wink: )...

Re: the delivering to hand - teach the "hold" command as a separate action. You can do this sat in the living room whilst watching TV. Sit the dog up infront and facing you. Offer the dog a dummy (although a tennis ball is much better to start with), the dog takes it and holds - use the command "hold" and comfirm with "good hold". If the dog drops it - give it a firm "no" or "ah ah" or whatever else you use and repeat. Once the dog is comfortable holding the ball progress by stroking the dog's head and chest whilst they are holding, praising whilst you stroke. You can then progress the same exercise using any item. You can then up the ante by sitting the dog up, walking away and getting it to hold while doing a recall, re-enforce the hold by using the command, you can also practice holding on the move by getting them to hold the dummy/ball and practicing heelwork. Once the dog is holding well, you can then attach this command to the end of the retrieve - as your dog comes in with the retrieve command "hold", if the dog drops, say "no" etc. and replace the dummy re-enforcing the hold command. And then - practice, practice, practice!!!!

Regards the stay - Inja is creeping, so shorten the distance between you and her. Do the full 2 mins stay stood in front of her, repeat, then move a few paces back, repeat, repeat, repeat. Go a few more paces back and repeat etc. I guess she is creeping as she doesn't feel confident about staying so far away from you. It's all about building up that confidence and practice. I wouldn't practice this too much all in one go at a training session, I used to do stays randomly throughout the day whilst pottering around the house just to practice. It then becomes less of an issue in a training situation.

Re: the retrieving. I think you are doing the right thing, but again its all about practice. They are such young dogs and young dogs like to show off! :wink: Practice the recall with them and incorporate the holding, so sit them up and get them to hold the ball or dummy and recall. So that the message is - when something is in their mouth they come straight back to you! I would hope that the "killing" of the dummy is down to them being young and that they will probably grow out of this - at least this demonstrates an interest, it could be worse if they didn't want to pick it up at all! :wink:

Hope this helps and Good Luck :D [/code]
 

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Rach seems to have covered it all with excellent advice (of which I am taking note of!) One tip for 'holding' :- Zorro hated holding stuff when he was a pup and a trainer told me to vigourously scratch his chest when he was holding something! He said they like having a chest-scratch and kind of grit their teeth together when you do it, thus holding the item! It worked for us anyway!!!

Becs and The Gang
 
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