Object from the floor

The next progression is for your dog to pick up the object from the floor.

For some dogs this may take a bit of time to understand that the object does not have to be in your hand. Also, depending upon the type and size object, it may be difficult for your dog to pick the object off the floor. For example, a ball is easier than a coin to pick up.

When starting with the object on the floor, place the object close to you. Only when your dog understands that it must pick the object up should you start increasing how far away you place the object. You might need to animate the object a little bit on the floor near to your dog to get it interested before being able to throw or slide it away (keep the distance small at this stage), this will help stimulate your dog interest.

 “Push” was used in the previous topics to get your do to bring the object to your hand. As your dog becomes increasingly proficient in the retrieve trick, you should be able to fade out the “Push” from the sequence.

If you find your dog start dropping the object, remember the tip to use your hand above your dog’s head when taking the object from it. (the Tip video in the Encouraging Grabbing Topic if you need to take another look at this)

Some dogs like doing “zoomies” or running away from you with the object. This is because they want to play with the object rather than bringing it back to your hand. A tip to prevent this in the early stage of teaching the retrieve is to throw the object in the corner of the room. When you dog picks up the object it has nowhere to go but to turn back towards you. Emily gives a quick demonstration of this with Leo in the next short video clip.

Lowering the Object

Previously the object has been offered at your dog’s head height. Once your dog is confidently pushing your hand whilst holding an object, gradually start lowering the object. The objective is being able to have the object on the floor.

At this stage we really want to generalise the behaviour so that your dog will perform the trick irrespective of your location. You should be able take the object from any position.  Vary your position, vary the distances, so your dog approach the object from different angles.

Push to the Hand

Now that your dog has master the “Hold it” trick you can take the trick further and develop a rock solid Retrieve or Fetch!.

Having worked the “Hold it” for several weeks now, you dog should be proficient with “Hold It”. It should be able to keep hold of any object, even whilst being distracted, until asked to release it with the Give command. The short video of Emily & Leo demonstrates the sort of hold you should now be expecting from your dog.

A lot of people struggle with a clean retrieve. You will often notice during walks when people play with a ball, the dogs tend to come to a certain distance and leave the ball on the floor.

For the retrieve trick we want your dog to actively bring the object it is holding to your hand instead of dropping it.

The trick to the trick is very simple! You are going to chain your “Push” and “Hold it” tricks together.

Where you have previously been using the sequence:

Take It, Hold It, Give

You are now going to use:

Take It, Hold It, Push, Give

By introducing the Push in the sequence your dog will have to take contact with your hand, which in essence is a retrieve!

We demonstrate this change in the following videos with Manouk and Mozzie.

As your dog should be familiar with the Push, whilst your dog is holding an object in its mouth, hold out the palm of your hand and use your Push command.

Tip if you that find your dog does not move towards your hand and perform the push:

  • Place your hand nearer to your dog
  • Move your hand gently away from your dog so that it must follow your hand to come to push it. Don’t make it too difficult, remember you don’t want to demotivate your dog, but you want to teach him that he has to come to push the hand.

Whilst working this trick, offer the object from different positions relative to your body position.