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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a new problem with the dumbbell. Noelle likes it way too much. As soon as she sees it, she gets overexcited and starts jumping up in the air and tries to get it away from me. I have a dumbbell crazed poodle on a pogo stick who won't calm down. I've gotten accidentally bitten a few times. Nothing vicious, this is Noelle we're talking about, no Cujo. But, clearly the dumbbell is a trigger for excitement overload.

I was going to go to Pre-Open class tonight, but then I thought about Noelle's reaction to her dumbbell and was too embarrassed to go.

Any ideas on how to convince Noelle that she can be calm around a dumbbell? Over-excitement makes it go away is not working. She gets even more worked up if it goes away.

Help!
 

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Leave it out until she gets bored with it. Let her play with it to her heart's content, and ignore her while she is playing with it. Maybe not ignore her, but ignore that she has the dumbbell.

When you are training with the dumbbell she gets big rewards for retrieves, but if you didn't ask her to retrieve it, you don't even notice that she has it.
 

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I like reraven's suggestion but make sure you watch that she doesn't take it and roll it in her mouth or chew on it while you wait for her to decide that playing with it by herself is not nearly so fun as playing the game with you.. If you are in class and she anticipates your order to retrieve just quietly take it from her with no reward and rethrow it as a restrained recall either with her on a flexi with your thumb on the button but not locked just releasing your thumb on the button and make her wait a few second before you give the order to take it. The other way to do a restrained retrieve is to have someone hold her arms in front of her chest while you throw and again make her wait to send her.


Other things you can do are to go back to the basics of take hold and give (on a leash so she can't take off with it). And other things you can do are along the lines of what i have been doing with Javelin and the dumbbell to tone down his kill it drives from over active prey mode. I also have been doing things before the throw to help with that. I expect heads up at heel set ups for retrieves so I have been working on coupling the heads up sit to looking forward to the retrieve. I tell Javelin to get close (his set up order) and once he is sitting I hold a treat in my left hand and use that hand to tap the dumbbell held in my right hand and in the line of sight for his head's up. At the same time I am tapping the dumbbell with fingernails to make it have a sound cue and saying dumbbell. The tap gets his heads up attention. The treat in hand keeps his heads up. I hold the treat back when I say ready and then throw the dumbbell. He know's I have the treat but loves the retrieve more. I trade it for a nice retrieve and front. He only gets the treat for the best complete executions. So this is chaining a lot of things together, but he already knows the chain of events and we are just cleaning parts of it up.
 

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Oh no. I hope that doesn’t happen to Babykins because in WCRL rally that dumbbell is out on the floor and you have to heel around it before you come to the retrieve sign.

I don’t know if this would help you with Noelle. Maybe you can try heeling around it from a distance, far enough away that she’s not distracted and slowly work your way closer. This is what we train for rally and people with dogs that are seriously attached to dumbbells have to work really hard at this step. I realize it’s not exactly applicable.

Good luck
 

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Oh no. I hope that doesn’t happen to Babykins because in WCRL rally that dumbbell is out on the floor and you have to heel around it before you come to the retrieve sign.

I don’t know if this would help you with Noelle. Maybe you can try heeling around it from a distance, far enough away that she’s not distracted and slowly work your way closer. This is what we train for rally and people with dogs that are seriously attached to dumbbells have to work really hard at this step. I realize it’s not exactly applicable.

Good luck
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I hope that doesn't happen to Babykins, either! Noelle knows what a dumbbell is, knows what it's for, and adores fetch. When we are practicing for real, she will wait until released, fly after it like she was launched out of a cannon, grab it by the stick, bring it back, sit in front and hold it. That whole chain of events we have solid. My problem is getting the dumbbell out of the bag triggers excitement overload.

Maybe if it was just another object on the floor it wouldn't be quite so stimulating?
 

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Sounds a little like her excitement for Mr Fox. Thinking off the top of my head......If it’s just getting it out of the bag, then make getting it out of the bag something that happens often, so often it’s boring. Sometimes it comes out for fetch and sometimes it doesn’t randomly?

I know you will get a hold of this quickly so it won’t be a problem, you are so good at recognizing these things early and training new behaviors.
 
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Sounds a little like her excitement for Mr Fox. Thinking off the top of my head......If it’s just getting it out of the bag, then make getting it out of the bag something that happens often, so often it’s boring. Sometimes it comes out for fetch and sometimes it doesn’t randomly?

I know you will get a hold of this quickly so it won’t be a problem, you are so good at recognizing these things early and training new behaviors.

Good idea Skylar. I think I misread where the crazies were centered. Take it out of the bag, put it down and walk away. If she takes it take is back from her quietly and put it back in the bag. Leave it there for a short bit of time and repeat. It should work like its yer choice where she will figure out that it is up to her to not do the crazies to get to retrieve. Once she settles down and thinks nothing of getting it out then offer her the chance to retrieve.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Oh! That made sense. She really loves her dumbbell. Just seeing it makes Noelle go absolutely bananas. This is going to take a while.
 
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