I think so.....or is it just a coincidence ????? I've started training Jolee (Jackson's sister) to retrieve the dumbbell. She has her CD title, so the next step is Open, which requires the dumbbell retrieve. Her personality is so different from Jackson's, that I've decided to try training her with some different techniques, and I think it's fun and educational for me to experiment with various training methods.
At first I tried opening her mouth and putting the dumbbell in it to get her used to the feel of it. That did not go so well. She was fighting any attempts to put something in her mouth. So, then I got the clicker out, and thought I would try clicker training the retrieve. Now, I don't have a lot of experience with clicker training but thought it would be fun to try. After just a few sessions with clicking and treating her for offering behaviors with the dumbbell, we progressed from standing over it, pawing it, and then pushing it with her nose. However, she wasn't offering to pick it up. (Maybe I'm just not patient enough to do clicker training.)
Anyway, I thought I would set her up close to the dumbbell and have her watch Jackson retrieve it a few times. I would jackpot Jackson when he brought it back to me just to make things more interesting to her. Then, I tossed the dumbbell for Jolee and, much to my surprise, she ran out, picked it up and came running back to me with it for her jackpot! 'Wow,' I thought, maybe Jackson can help teach Jolee to retrieve. She did that several times - sometimes grabbing it by the end instead of the middle and then dropping it before she got back to me, however, always very happily retrieving it.
Now, folks who have naturally retrieving dogs are probably thinking, "Duh, you throw anything and a dog is going to go get it!" Well, not necessarily. Our dogs have never been natural 'retrievers.' When we throw something, they are most likely to stand and look at it or they may in some cases follow it and sniff it. But, never pick it up. So, I'm thinking, this is progress. But now I'm wondering, where do we go from here ??????