Pouncing On the Dumbbell
From Mary Alice, (DobeFan@aol.com)
Pouncing on the retrieve is usually the result of a dog with very high prey drive. One thing that might work ot correct this is to use a piece of clear vinyl 'carpet protector.' This product has molded in 'points' on the back side, to anchor it in carpeting. If you feel it yourself, you'll get an idea of the level of correction it gives. A bit of an OUCH, but not really hurtful - the vinyl points will bend before puncturing the skin. Use a piece upside down, throwing the dumbell on it. It sure takes the fun out of the pounce! At matches, have the judge kick the dumbell onto the vinyl before sending the dog. The vinyl is available at Home Depot - there are 3 grades, soft, medium, and stiff. The stiffest grade seems to work best.
From Dee Dee Rose, (HIIQK9s@aol.com)
Here's an idea that Judi Howard spoke of in one of her seminars a few years ago that you might try:
Using about a 2 ft. by 3 ft. section of chicken wire or 4x4 welded wire. Gently curve it and place it on the ground. Toss the dumbbell on it, or have someone place it on after you've thrown it. Really hype up your dog before sending... let him fly! They throw on the brakes, gently pick it up, and run back!!! This keeps YOU out of the picture as being the bad guy! You just need to carry the wire where ever you may go. The only time they don't get the wire out there is in the ring. At matches, if you can, use the wire. The piece can get smaller and smaller as well as the dumbbell being just beside the wire instead of on top of it.
From Linda Koutsky, (Watchin4Me@aol.com)
Ok, this fix is for all of you with "pouncers". The beauty of this method is that it not only works, but it doesn't involve any props. That means that you not only have nothing to wean off of, but you don't have to lug equipment where ever you go.
When the dog pounces the dumbbell, he's in "drive", and that is what you want. So the answer isn't to kill his drive, it's to control it. Now, of course, this will not cure every dog...but it should work for most.
- Place Rover in a sit/stay. Walk out about 3 feet, and turn to face Rover as for a recall. Place the dumbbell on the ground between the two of you. Give your retrieve command. Don't be surprised if you have to give two commands to get Rover to retrieve at this point. You have just taken the prey drive out of the game. Slowly gain distance until you are at full length of the ring. Always place the dumbbell and turn to face your dog.
- After Rover will successfully retrieve a placed dumbbell at full distance, then you may start to throw it. Place Rover in a sit/stay. Throw the dumbbell a few feet. Walk out past the dumbbell and turn to face Rover as in a recall, just like you've been doing. Tell Rover to retrieve. Slowly gain distance until you are at full length of the ring.
- When Rover is again successful, with the throw/recall, then put Rover in a sit/stay and walk out and place the dumbbell a few feet away. Return to Rover and stand in heel position. Send Rover to retrieve. Slowly gain distance.
- Final step is to throw the dumbbell a few feet, stay in heel position, and send Rover to retrieve. Slowly gain distance.
This method can and does work. It quickly changes the dog's perception of the exercise. This fix will probably not take more than a couple of weeks to complete.