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I'm putting this in the General Training and Obedience section because it's something you can do with any dog using a toy.

My teacher had been at an AKC Obedience trial this weekend and her friend was competing in Open with her dog. In open, there are two dumbbell tosses. When you are competing both you and the judge are in the ring with your dog. You probably can see where this is leading. The woman threw the dumbbell and her dog went to retrieve it, then the dog headed straight to the judge, came into front position and tried to hand it off to the judge. Oops - that a huge mistake.

My teacher played a proofing game with those of us in class who have a dumbbell retrieve. The idea was to make the dog look carefully to find it's owner and return to it's owner. If your dog loves to retrieve a toy or ball, you can play the same game.

Two people stood next to me, I was on the far right. I set my dog up and threw the dumbbell and sent her out to get the dumbbell. While her back was turned to me I quickly changed positions with the other people - I was now standing on the far left. My dog brought the dumbbell to the person who was standing on the far right. She always bounds in so fast in recall that she bops against my leg. She did it with the dumbbell to my friend, bopped her shins - but as soon as she realized it wasn't me, she dropped the dumbbell and was clearly surprised.

Second round, I was standing on the far right and threw the dumbbell and while my dog was running out to fetch it, I switched to the middle position. As she was returning - she was running to the person on the far right. This time I called her front - she was so confused, but she did come in front of me and handed me the dumbbell.

My friend did the same exercise only she ducked behind the two other people and faced the opposite way and called her dog to front with the dumbbell. The poor dog was running back and forth in front of the two people before she realized she should run behind them to her mommy.

This was so funny to watch, and equally funny to perform. And hopefully it will help train my dog to look up make certain she is running back to me and not the judge when the time comes and we're ready to compete in open.
 

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Haha...cute story. Dogs are just so awesome and cute how they figure out what we mean eventually, some quicker than others.
 
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Those are nice fun and creative proofs. My only caveat it ti make sure you really think the dog understands the exercise before playing those kinds of games with them. We do very similar things with recalls: turn sideways when you get to where you are going to stand, turn your back to the dog, leave a bunch of good recallers and have all the handler change positions and see who gets their own dog. When I was proofing open we would sometimes put all dumbbells out in the middle of the floor and send the dogs one by one to find their own.
 

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what a great game to change it up! I bet the dogs got excited too! The confused part usually only happens once or twice and they quickly catch on to nuances! My grandson who is 4 invented a game with Louie where he has to pick whose turn it is in a retrieve. Henry loves showing it off when his little friends are over. Louie gets to pick who to retrieve to or retrieves to the person my grandson calls out, to give the person a turn in throwing it. Developed completely naturally in a playdate once (and even though I thought there could be an issue from a training point we are never going to do obedience for points so it doesn't matter). I just love that he gets to invent games with the dog and the Poodle is smart enough to figure out what a 4 year old comes up with next.
 

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Catherine, we've done some interesting proofing games too. I haven't done the one with putting all the dogs dumbbells into the center and sending Babykins to get hers. I'm not sure she is ready for that. It must have been wonderful seeing all the dogs take turns and pick up their own dumbbell to retrieve.

Moni, what a great relationship Henry has with Louie - nothing like inventing a new game to play with your friends.
 
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