Teaching how to retrieve the gloves

Give the direction by holding your left arm at the side of the dog's head, and your fingers pointing straight to the glove. Immediately following, say "Take it." What you may not do is give your dog the direction and then pump your left arm as you send him for the glove.

Although the Obedience Regulations permit you to send your dog as you give the direction, the regulations also permit you to first point in the direction of the glove, called marking, immediately followed by the command "Take it."

For the center glove, your arm is stretched out so that your elbow is in line with the dog's nose, which gives him a better mark. You may bend your body and knees to the extent necessary in giving the direction to your dog. When giving the direction, make sure that your fingers are indeed pointing at the designated glove.

Before you start on this exercise, you may want to review the "Retrieve" command with a glove.

Here's what you do:

i Progression 1: With your dog sitting at heel and a glove in your left hand (held between your thumb and fingers), get your dog excited about the glove. Throw the glove, holding your arm as you would if you were to mark the glove, and say "Take it." After he picks it up, praise and release. If he doesn't retrieve, review teaching him to retrieve the glove (see Chapter 15 for retrieving).

i Progression 2: After your dog retrieves the glove and you've introduced him to the direction, place a glove 15 feet to your right, 15 feet to your left, and 15 feet in front of you. Say "Buddy, heel" and make a right turn in place. Buddy now faces the glove on your right. Mark the direction with your left arm. You may have to hold on to your dog by placing two fingers of your right hand through his collar. Send your dog with "Take it." Praise and release after he has picked up the glove.

Repeat for the glove on the left and the center glove. After three successful repetitions, move the gloves on your right and left two feet straight ahead and start all over. After each set of three successful repetitions, move the gloves on your right and left two feet straight ahead until they're in line with the center glove. Send your dog to different gloves in a random pattern.

What if he goes to the wrong glove? Let him try to work it out for himself by maintaining the signal. For example, suppose that Buddy goes to number two rather than number one. Hold the signal facing number one. When Buddy returns to you, he immediately notices that something is wrong: You're not standing up straight but are still pointing to the glove. He may try to do one of several things, like i Insist on giving you the glove, which you don't take.

i Give up and do nothing.

i Go for another glove, probably the correct one.

If he retrieves the correct glove, stand up, praise, and release. If he does nothing, approach the number one glove while still holding the signal and get him to pick it up — preferably just by pointing at it and without an extra command. When he does, praise and release. If he doesn't, reinforce the Retrieve.

Every time you help your dog, you're assuming the responsibility for his behavior. You want him to learn that it's his responsibility to make the right decision. To do that, you have to give him a chance to work things out for himself.

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After Buddy has learned the direction portion of the exercise, you can introduce the Turn and Send. Remember that Buddy won't see the gloves being placed; he'll have his back to them in the ring. The Obedience Regulations permit you to turn either to the left or to the right when making the turn in place to face the designated glove. You need to experiment to discover which is best for you and your dog.

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