Trick of the Week- Hold

Why train the hold?

How else can you take adorable pictures like this!

Pictures from Easter 2014
Raylee Easter 2014
Easter bunny Thor 2014








Maybe your dog doesn’t need to hold your brush when you are getting ready for work, or hold their own “dog shaming” evidence but then again… Why not!

So where do you start? Most dogs will be curious when you place something in front of them. Once they show any interest in the object such as a sniff or turning to look at it, then click or mark the behavior and treat. Gradually they may offer a lick or a bite and continue to build on it from there.

Raylee was the first to learn this trick, stubborn little girls ALWAYS like to show up big brothers! She is the most toy motivated of the three so we started with a rope toy and she caught on very quickly.

Photo courtesy of EastWest Productions
Photo courtesy of EastWest Productions


My dogs forget about everything else as soon as they realize you have food within range. Between this, and having previously done a lot of “leave it” training it took a little extra work to get them to understand what I was asking them to do.

Problem Solving-

  • Low Toy Drive- Thor doesn’t play much with toys however he does get into what I call “wild man moments” when we play, so for him I almost had to work hard to excite him enough to bite the toy. Once he started biting at the toy I would click and treat while still holding the toy. If he bit at the toy but wasn’t holding it, then I start again banging the toy on the floor, waving it in the air, challenging him to get it. Soon he would grab it more firmly and then again I would click and treat. Once he figured this out then I would let go for a second then grab the toy click and treat. The seconds between letting go and regaining the toy get longer and longer until they can hold the toy for up to a couple minutes at a time.
  • Dropping the Toy- If they dropped the toy before I regained the edge I would take the toy away without clicking or treating and after a minute or so re-present the toy to them and try again. As our trainer Kama from Club-Doggie taught us, if they lose the opportunity to earn the reward they will start to guess what will earn them the reward and offer behaviors.
Photo curtesy of
Photo curtesy of Thor in a Halloween 2014 ad for Petsmart!

How to Build on ‘Hold’-

  • Different objects, textures, sizes
  • Lengths of time
  • Carry- as cute as the hold but with movement!
  • Bring it- Picking up objects and bringing them to you, or putting them in a basket “pick up your toys”
  • Hold while doing other tricks such as Sit Pretty/Beg or Bow
  • Pull a cart
  • Hold the leash of another dog

The possibilities are endless!

4 thoughts on “Trick of the Week- Hold

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