A retrieve to hand (described in a forward chain) starts with the dog going to the object, and picking it up in their mouth.
This is where River and I are starting our retrieve-to-hand shaping project. River is being rewarded for any interaction with the object, and jackpotted for the best interactions with it. Jackpot-worthy interactions include pawing, nose touching, or opening her mouth. I also jackpot for anything creative that River comes up with!
At this early stage of training, River exhibits a preference for wanting to pick up and then flick the object that she is holding. I will reset the object on the ground a short distance away from me to help her avoid aiming for my lap when she tosses the object.
We will continue on this step for about a week as I like to build proofing into each step of my training. I will vary the objects I ask her to pick up to provide her with different experiences in the look, weight, and mouthfeel of the objects she is being asked to retrieve.
Stay tooned for Part 3: Adapting to the Dog in Front of You, coming Wednesday April 1st.