If you’re still riding this train, our last session was about the magic of retrieving for both humans and dogs. Did you watch Obi do a remote bomb search last week to be rewarded by nothing more than the thrill of retrieving a kong toy? This is some valuable knowledge that should serve you well in understanding how to use retrieving as a reward for teaching your dog to do many things.
So how do we get started building this magical retrieve desire? First of all, if you have a well-bred lab, the retrieve drive is in its DNA and all we have to do is develop it. The first thing we need to know is how the pup’s vision works. All dogs are color blind. The “lab rat scientists” still argue over what exact tint dogs see, but just to make it easy to understand, what they basically see is very much like a black & white TV show.
Why is this important? We want our pup to see what we’re throwing. A young puppy is nearsighted to begin with, so we want to throw something that is the color it sees best– white. My favorite retrieve toy for a lab pup is a white athletic sock. We roll and twist it around itself so that when we’re through, it looks like a big baseball. It’s white and it rolls like it’s trying to escape from the pup when we throw it.
The Pup’s First Retrieve Toy:
I’ve heard people with lots of intelligence and no brains having ridiculous debates about the difference between prey drive and retrieve drive. I’ll make this easy for you: Both prey and retrieve drive are part of the same thing. That’s the “it factor” that you want your pup to have.
At first we just drop the rolled up sock and let the puppy grab it and give it a shake. Then we take it. We make this easier by picking the puppy’s front feet off the ground and take the sock while saying “give”. At least that’s the word I have used with thousands of dogs. Some folks say ”leave it” or “drop it”. It doesn’t really matter as long as you are consistent. The one word I have heard some people use that I wouldn’t use is “out”. Out is the most powerful word you can use with a dog and I only use it as a verbal correction (to stop two dogs who are hairing up at each other to cease and desist for example.)
While going after the retrieve toy is a natural ability, returning to you needs a little help from us. Initially, you want to anticipate the way your puppy is coming back with the sock and move in that direction so that the pup comes to you. You want to gradually increase the distance you are throwing the sock and always give the pup lots of praise when it gets back. And always remember to stop while the puppy is still eager. If you always stop when the pup is begging for more, you will build its drive. If you continue to throw marks until he gets tired and disinterested, you will be blunting its drive.
Bringing It Home With Style:
I Can’t Throw Another One Until You Give It Back to Me:
Next up: boot camp begins.
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Become a happy owner of our world class Labrador Retriever puppies or learn about our Labrador Retriever training services: Call Woody and Judi at (910) 462-3246 for more information.
About Woody Thurman: Woody and Judi Thurman of Twin Lakes Kennel have been breeding and training world class Labrador Retrievers for more than 35 years. Twin Lakes Kennel is the number #1 resource for Labrador Retriever puppies. We select from the most dominant American field bloodlines and breed for natural hunting instinct and tractability. Our Labs, both puppies and adults, are out of the top working Labrador Retriever bloodlines in the country. The end results are the most talented, well rounded Labrador Retrievers possible, making them a most desirable family pet.
More than eight thousand (8,000) Labrador Retrievers have been bred and trained during those thirty-five years. During this time, Woody has titled more than 200 AKC Master Hunter Labrador Retrievers. Woody has also qualified 47 retrievers at AKC Master Nationals. He has won the Ducks Unlimited Open Championships twice. In addition, two of his Labs, Drake and Rondy, bred and trained at Twin Lakes Kennel, are in the Master National Hall of Fame.
Our Labrador Retriever puppies are the culmination of a 30 year search for the most talented, well rounded Labrador Retriever possible. We select from the most dominant American field bloodlines and breed for natural hunting instinct and tractability. Our puppies begin a structured socialization program in the litter box and are introduced to birds at six weeks.
All our Labrador Retriever Puppies carry a guarantee against hereditary defects and to have basic retrieving instincts. Parents of all our Labrador Retriever puppies are physically sound with certified hips and eyes. They are out of the top working Labrador Retriever bloodlines in the country.
We guarantee all our Labrador Retriever puppies to be free from hereditary defects.
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