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Donna Hill's

Service Dog Training Institute


A Hand-Delivered Retrieve

refine shaping better hold of objects

If you need your dog to deliver an object to your hand or lap, then nose targeting is the way to teach it. The lower two of the three videos have never been seen before! 

Practice a nose target to hand, then hold an object in your hand and get your dog to target it with her nose. Practice with several objects.

Next, assuming you have already shaped a pick up off the floor, place the object on the floor and place your hand close to her and cue a nose target. Mark and treat when she lifts the object to your hand. Grab it when she releases it. I use a dumbbell just because it is easy for a dog to pick up off a hard floor.

When she has the idea, you can make the process incremental to build a behavior pattern by placing it in slightly different locations on the floor. Keep your hand in the same location each time. 

The pieces of green painter’s tape on the floor helps you to keep the changes small. Move from one piece to the next. This is called “working the clock” Most people get greedy and ask for too much. The tape keeps you honest.

You can add a bit of distance by dropping the object a little further away. Keep placing your hand in the same spot so where she returns is predictable.

As you can see a ball isn’t a good idea as it is unpredictable and bounces too far away at times. 

That’s the beginning of a delivery to hand. Give it a try!

We have a whole class devoted to problem solving a retrieve coming in the future!


Wondering how to train your own service dog?

Check out our Service Dog Training Institute classes (for both human and dog).
If you want to learn how to train a service dog like a professional, these classes will give you the skills to do so and to train other pet dogs! You learn as your dog learns.

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