Retrieves to hand with my puppy

When I wrote this, Tassla had lived with us for almost 14 days.

I must say, she’s an amazing little dog. She is already using her delicate little nose all the time, she gladly retrieves almost anything, plays with commitment, learns with a staggering speed and everyday life works well with her. On my Swedish blog, I write about her everyday training and training with focus on obedience and working dog competitions, as well as living with her in general. Here, I will of course describe how I practice with a focus on field trials. It will probably intertwine a lot; everything is connected, more or less anyway. 🙂

The very first Tassla learned when she moved in with me was her name. The name also serves as the recall, so I got a little into the bargain. In addition to that, we have among other things practiced some sit-stay, release cue to go to the food bowl, not to run after thrown objects but to wait for the command, and to run around specific objects. I will tell you more about the training another day.

Today I sat on the lawn for a moment with my puppy and began training delivery to hand. In clicker training we talk happily about the dog needing a lot of basic skills to be able to do more complex behaviors. To deliver an object to my hand is part of the exercise retrieving. To press the nose against my palm is a basic skill for delivering objects to my hand.

I start with this basic skill very early on, because I want it to be the only behavior when the dog has an object in its mouth: Bringing it to me and leave it in my hand. If the dog, right from the start, get rewarded lot of rewards for leaving things in my hand then I’m building a high value for that behavior, making it more resilient and consistent.

So: today’s training goal was to teach Tassla to press her nose against my palm. As soon as she sees my open palm, I want it to work like a magnet, her nose just have to press it. Eventually, I develop this exercise to her pressing her nose against my palm with an object in her mouth. But the very first thing I do is this:

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