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Universal Commands - Fetch and 'Get It'

The "Fetch" and the "Get It" commands. Basic retrieval but under differing circumstances.

Fetch is commonly used in play - throwing something to be retrieved. Get it is used to instruct the dog to find and retrieve an object hidden or in plain sight  that it has not seen being thrown or placed. Verbally separate commands can be used to signify the differing situations but with deaf dogs or at a distance the same hand signals apply to both and the dog works out if something needs to be found or simply retrieved from where it saw it land.

In Border Collie Rescue all verbal commands used are accompanied by hand signals which serve to emphasise and compliment the instruction.
This is of great benefit when training deaf dogs, dogs with learning difficulties and dogs with short attentions spans.

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Wave hand from direction of dogs head towards item to be retrieved and point

With retrieval training exercises the dog should be taught to wait until told to fetch, retrieve the object, return to you and present in front of you, holding the object in its mouth until you remove it.

First get the dog to 'Heel' and 'Sit' so it is at you side and not obstructing the path of any item you are to throw.
Give the 'Stay' command and throw the object. Repeat 'Stay' if required. Give the command 'Fetch' and use the hand signal.
Once the dog has the object, use the 'Come' command to get the dog to return and present in front of you, holding the object in its mouth.
'Give' can be used to get the dog to release the object into your hands.
The dog should be encouraged to keep hold of the object until you are ready to take it. It should be discouraged from dropping the item short of you or on the ground in front of you. If an item is already a distance away and you wish the dog to retrieve it and bring it back to you, the 'Fetch' command and hand signal should be used.
If you wish the dog to go and get something that you have not thrown or it has not seen and needs to find you can use the command 'Get It' 
This command can also be used to tell the dog it can go and play with its ball or toy, rather than bring it back to you. The hand signal is the same, but when the dog has the object, the 'Stay' and 'Go Free' commands should be employed to help it understand the rest of what is required.

Border Collies are not natural retrievers, although some are better than others.
They are inclined to get something and then go off and play with it. They may return with it but will probably stop short and drop the object so that you have to come forward and pick it up to continue the game.
If you get the dog to the 'present' position with the object it will still be inclined to drop it rather than hold it in its mouth.
Once the routine has progressed well enough for the dog to be returning with the object and presenting in front of you, the use of 'Hold' and 'Give' will enable it to complete the exercise. Once the dog has completed the routine it should be told to 'Heel' and 'Sit' before repeating the routine or ending the session with 'Go Free'.

Commands need to be taught in sequence as some training routines depend on other commands being in place already.
The 'Fetch' routine requires the dog to be trained to 'Heel, Sit, Stay' before it can be taught and the 'Hold' and 'Give' to complete the sequence.
The 'Get It' command also requires the dog to understand 'Fetch' and 'Go Free' before it can be taught.
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