Retrieve to hand

Delivery to hand: gundog retriever training

In gundog training, ‘delivery to hand’ describes the ideal pattern for a dog’s return after picking a retrieve. The aim is for them to come right to you and keep the item in their mouth until you can take hold of it with your hand.

Delivery to hand can go wrong when a dog doesn’t want to come back with its prize.

This can happen for lots of reasons such as being excited or worried that the fun will end.

To resolve any unwanted behaviours you're currently dealing with one method to try is ‘back-chaining’ training the dog to retrieve using Place Boards.


Back chaining is where trainers focus on reinforcing the last step of a sequence of behaviours first.

Because it's the most practised and rewarding element of the sequence it's what the dog is most driven to do.

By introducing dogs to Place Board training you build value and positive associations for being close to you on the platform.

When the Place Board is then added to retrieve exercises your dog will be happy returning close to you to the target, provided by the Place Board at your feet.

The Place Board acts like a magnet for your dog, making it a powerful addition to the steps of any retrieve exercise!


Needs tips on this?

Our online course will take you step by step on how to introduce a Place Board to your dogs’ training by following our signature T.A.R.G.E.T method as well as a detailed retrieve exercise using Place Boards along with other drills.

Click the image below to find out more about enrolling on the Place Board Course.

Enrol on Place Board Course for Gundog Retrieving

You can get started for FREE using our trial.

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