I'm ashamed to admit it, but it seems I don't own a Golden Retriever after all.
Nope, it turns out I just own a Golden.
You see, we've been working on Level Four Retrieve for, oh, I don't know... forever? The idea is simple enough. You take an object (a plastic bumper, in my case), you hold it, the dog holds it, you hold your breath for a second or two and pray he doesn't let go, if not then you click, treat, and you're done.
Like I said, simplicity itself.
Only it's not, or I wouldn't be writing about it.
It should be noted that Beau is a fine retriever of things that he wants to retrieve. He'll retrieve balls, socks, underwear (sigh), big sticks, little sticks, apples from the tree, peaches... he loves peaches... not a scratch on those peaches, not a tooth mark, not a mark of any kind - and he plucks them soft and ripe straight off the tree himself.
I bet he could retrieve an egg, too, but I'm not curious enough to clean up the mess in case I'm wrong.
But I digress... as I was writing about Level Four Retrieve, Beau, and the bumper. Now Beau likes his bumper, and he'll retrieve that, too, if you throw it. He'll also retrieve it if you walk out, put it on the ground, then walk back, and tell him to Bring.
Darned fine retriever... until we ran into this "you hold, I hold" rule. That has him completely confused. Maybe he's just an either/or kind of dog, but the thought of him holding it while I hold it just isn't sinking in.
He'll sniff it, nuzzle it, and put his mouth around it, but he just won't hold it.
Not even for an instant.
We've been working on this for weeks.
Tonight we worked on it again, with the usual lack of luck. After I was finished, I put the bumper on the coffee table and moved on to Go To Mat. He likes Go To Mat. He understands Go To Mat. I figured it would make us both feel better.
Sure enough, after a dozen or so Go To Mat's we were both feeling quite pleased with ourselves, and so I decided to call it night. I put the cookies down and went over to check the camera. When I looked up, there was Beau, over by the Coffee Table. He carefully picked up the bumper, then trotted over and dropped at my feet.
Did I mention that he's a darned fine retriever?