Dog Training the Forced Retrieve
The retrieve is a behavior that is natural for many breeds of dogs and has actually been made stronger through selective breeding in some dogs. Retrieving is an important skill for many dogs and is one that is often taught through dog training. Service dogs, hunting dogs, and dogs competing in AKC events are often required to retrieve as part of their work. There are a number of dog training techniques for developing a consistent retrieve for these types of dogs.
The method that is most often used to teach the retrieve employs the use of negative reinforcement and is often referred to as the “forced retrieve”. The forced retrieve is popular among dog trainers, as it allows the trainer to teach the dog to hold an item in its’ mouth quite rapidly. This form of negative reinforcement, also known as escape training, is a way to teach the dog a behavior through the use of compulsion as you can see in this video.
As seen in the video, the “trainer” uses a string or cable on the dogs leg to pull and cause pain until the dog takes the dumbbell into its’ mouth. A negative stimuli can be applied in a number of ways including a prong collar, remote training collar, and, as more traditional trainers favor, pinching the ear with either a metal nail or their hand. This dog training method of teaching the retrieve is considered the “industry standard” among hunting dog trainers and other dog training enthusiasts. The reason this method is often preferred is because the dog will quickly learn to retrieve and hold the item in their mouth, and because the results are almost essentially guaranteed due to the fact that the dog wants to escape the painful stimuli.
There are, however, other methods of teaching the retrieve. For dogs that instinctively retrieve, we can build this behavior through praise and rewards from the time they are puppies. By encouraging this behavior when the dogs are young, we can create a more reliable performance from the dog as an adult. This method of reinforcing the behavior takes longer and requires a considerable amount of consistency and patience, but is much less stressful for the dog.
For dogs that have an inconsistent retrieve, we can use a variety of methods involving positive reinforcement to make this behavior stronger and more reliable. Using the clicker as a secondary reinforcer along with food or toys to keep the dog motivated during the training session has also been found to work well with most dogs.
When working with dogs it is important to understand that there are a variety of dog training methodologies that can be employed to accomplish our goals. When training dogs, the fastest method of reaching a dog training goal is not always the best method for building a solid relationship with a dog. The instructors at our School for Dog Trainers pride themselves in teaching a variety of dog training methodologies to new dog training students in order to provide them with a solid understanding of why and when these methods are used so that they can choose which methods work best for their clients and dogs. If you are interested in training dogs as a career, please feel free to contact us at 866.200.2207 or email firstname.lastname@example.org