Dog Obedience Training.

by Dennis Fisher.


This article is one of a great many articles written by Dennis Fisher about a very wide variety of subjects concerning different  dogs, such as obedience training, breeding, showing, health matters, training problems and other subjects.  All these articles appear on Dennis Fisher's websites.   Visit the site that has been set up specifically for German Shepherd Dog enthusiasts, or  if you interested in a breed   other than German Shepherd Dogs


Many owners have great difficulty in teaching this exercise. Others find it relatively easy.  This is due, to some extent to the natural ability of the dog to perform this exercise.


 There is no doubt that some dogs are natural retrievers and the exercise comes very easily to them,  Others are not and the trainers are faced with a far more difficult problems. Even within a certain breed, there are certain strains that respond more easily and quickly to the training.


There is no doubt that all dogs can be taught to retrieve.  It is important to approach the task in a way that is going to give you the best results.


There  are difference of opinion, even among experienced trainers, as to what is the best way to begin training the retrieve.


Even though every pup will enjoy chasing an object that is thrown, because it is associated with an inborn “prey” instinct.  But the training obviously involves more than running after the object.  Very often the object is one that the dog may not particularly like. Nevertheless it is an exercise and the dog must do what it is told to do.



Because the dumbbell is the object that is going to be used in obedience tests, it is best to start with this object.  And it is important to start with a well- chosen size and weight of dumbbell in relationship  to size and strength of  the dog you are training.


The dumbbell, when starts training should be fairly light and manageable.  It is also a good idea to make sure that the dumbbells is constructed in such a way that the bells on the side are not too small.  If they are the dog will develop a tendency to pick up the dumbbell by one of the two ends rather than the middle.


The dumbbell should also not be too large otherwise it will obstruct the dog’s vision as he runs with it.


When you first introduce your dog to the dumbbell you should do so very carefully.


Carry the dumbbell around with you when you walk at heel with the dog; drop it occasionally and let the dog sniff it and examine it, but don’t let him chew it and regard it as a play object.


If the dog does happen to pick it make a tremendous fuss of him.  Let him hold it for a short while; then take it from him with a very pleasant “give” or “out” command.


On occasion, when you are walking with the dog, not necessarily training him, take the dumbbell in your hand and start playing with it, passing from one hand to another.  When he comes to you to see what you are doing, try offering it to him in an excited voice, telling him to “Take It”.  If he does praise him very enthusiastically.


Do this on a number of occasions.  Next, continue by introducing a little more formality in the training.  Put him leash.  Encourage him to him to  sit  and stay.  While standing in front of him try and persuade him to take the dumbbell from your hand by pushing it very gently against his lips, saying “Take it” as persuasively as you can.


Some dogs will take it. Others will not, in which case open his mouth very gently and place it in his mouth, saying “hold”  in an encouraging tone of voice.  Whatever you do, don’t be in a hurry and try and force the dog to obey you.


You can hold your hand under his jaw for about ten seconds, so that he is unable to drop the dumbbell, repeating the command “Hold it” over and over again. The give the “give” or “out” praising enthusiastically.


If you are successful try and increase the time he has held it without attempting to spit it out to about one minute.  The take the dumbbell, again praising enthusiastically.


Whatever you do be  patient in this initial process of training. Don’t show signs of irritation.  Don’t give the impression that it is a contest that you’ve got to win.

Once you have managed to get your dog to hold the dumbbell on command, your next step to make sure that your dog is going to be completely reliable on retrieve.   He has to retrieve on every occasion you give the command, if he doesn’t want to.

Your next step is to make your dog pick the dumbbell off the ground when you give the command.

Begin by placing the dumbbell a few inches from the dog’s mouth and give the command in a firm but pleasant tone “Take it” or if you prefer  “Fetch it”.   When the dog does this consistently, hold the dumbbell a little further from the dog’s mouth, giving the same command.  Your next step is to place the dumbbell on the ground.

While the dog is on a  fairly tight leash, hold the dumbbell in your hand and gradually lower it to the ground.  Encourage the dog to pick it up by lifting one end of the dumbbell, shake it and give the “Fetch it” command.

As the dog does this praise very enthusiastically.   Tell the dog to “hold it”  for a few seconds and once again praise very enthusiastically.  Don’t go any further on that day, but wait until the nex dayh before you progress with the nest stage of the exercise.

The next day,  let the dog pick the dumbbell off the  ground, as you had done the previous day. Do this a few times, then throw it a few feet  in front of you. Run forward  in a very excited manner and encourage the dog to pick it up again.  Once the dog has done this, use the hold command.  Let the dog hold for only a sort while, and give a lot of praise.

Continue increasing the distance you throw the dumbbell each time a little further.  Once the dog does this consistently, on leash, you can encourage him to do this off leash.   Run out with the dog and encourage him in a very excited tone of voice.  Once he picked up the dumbbell run back wards as quickly as you can encouraging the dog to come to you. Before he drops the dumbbell, take it from him and give him as much extravagant   praise as you can.