Firstly to need a dog that is comfortable with picking objects up and already has positive emotions attached to this behaviour. If your dog is reluctant to pick up then first look at the Introduction to the Clicker Training the Retrieve, where the dog is given options.
First start with any pick up behaviour , then you need to build duration on how long the hold happens for.
If you haven’t done any duration shaping then I would not attempt this as the first learning of shaping duration for you or the dog and take a look at the shaping duration tutorial first.
Start in a chair or use another shaping signal, decided on number of repetitions and rests,taking into account the dogs experience and age.
6 clicks and treats is usually a safe bet.
It does not matter what position the dog is in , the criteria start is hold for more than one second.
You click point is really key as to be able to build duration you must be clicking the hold and not the drop. It is very easy to start to click the drop as you build duration, as you feel as though you missed the click point and then you click late. It is better to not click at all, than click late when training this exercise.
Late clicks will cause all sorts of problems.
If you have a one second hold close to you, try throwing it out a little as it is likely the dog will pick and come to the area near where it has previously been clicked. This will give you some duration.
Sitting and holding in front can be a pretty boring exercise for some dogs, so adding action and movement can increase the ‘positive feeling’ for a busy active dog making if more fun and therefore more motivating.
You can try both letting the dog pick up the article or giving it to the dog.
If you have previously trained stillness duration, it will be hugely beneficial here as you begin to withhold the click.
You can also start to see if the dog will come in close to take the article from you. Making sure you begin to move your hands off the object to make sure he is holding still and securely in the mouth.
A gundog needs to hold securely but not firm or hard.
As you build duration use you hands very early as a distraction keeping them still and moving.
Watch the Video Tutorial
Copyright Jane Ardern 2018