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Teaching to Hold

Dear trainers,
My lab pup (now 6 months) is crazy for retrieving. He will heel, sit and wait to be sent by name for the dummy. He blazes out to get the dummy, runs back with it, but drops it short of my hand. I have tried running away from him, stepping forward to grab it before he drops it, and he still drops short. How can I get him to bring it to hand?

It sounds like you are on your way to having a nice hunting dog. The next step is the command "hold". You teach this by getting your dog to sit at your side. Then bend over and gently place a bumper (dummy) in his mouth telling him to "hold". Now, I like to stroke their chins to take their mind off of the bumper. It's also important to praise the dog while he holds the bumper and not when you take it away. When you take the bumper from the dog teach him the "drop" command. Do this for about 10 minutes a day until you can stand up and no longer stroke his chin. Then try to work up to doing on leash obedience while the dog is holding a bumper.It should take 2 to 3 weeks until you transfer this to a retrieve. As your dog is returning with the bumper tell him to hold it. If he drops it put it back in his mouth. And keep practicing until he gets it right.

Jan Burkholder
Stonewall Kennels

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