Nittany is progressing well in flyball. I'm trying to get her into agility, too. I have an issue, though. Nittany has an EXTREMELY soft mouth. (This is an issue in other training as well.)
Now, this is usually a good thing because she gives up anything she has, and she is part golden (we think). When she runs in flyball, she is dropping her ball. She doesn't grip it very well. Instead of adjusting, she just sort of opens her mouth and it falls out. It was suggested that we do some ball-to-hand training, where I give her the ball and ask her to hold it...then ask her to give it to me and reward her. But, I can't get her to take anything from me. If my hand is on it at all, she won't take it. (We retrieve a bit in the yard, and I'm starting to reward only for bringing it to hand...not going so well, but it raises another issue.)
We were also trying to build some tug drive in her (as she tires of treats once she is full and loses all drive), but she won't tug. Even the treat-filled training tugs that are mesh so that the chicken squeezes out. Any pressure, and she lets it go. If I hold it still, she'll lick it, then sit (like she is waiting for me to give it to her). As a general training exercise, I was working on this for tugging open doors as well, but I can't figure out how to train it when she won't pull at all.
She has very high prey drive, and will chase a tug being dragged on the floor and she'll mouth it, but just lets it go if I am even touching it.
She also won't pick up dumbells. She picks them up, but then they just sort of fall out of her mouth.
Any suggestions for training a dog to hold on with a tighter grip to something...or is it a lost cause? If nothing else, I'm always curious how to train a new skill. She is very clicker savvy, if there is a way to clicker train it. I'd like to eventually train her to carry things without them just falling out. I am also wondering if I am risking losing her soft mouth when I WANT her to drop something. Advice?
To anticipate questions, I never scolded her for holding something (she came to me with the soft mouth) but I got her at a year in rescue, so I don't know about anything prior. I did ask the vet to check her teeth, and she checked out fine, and she isn't in pain or anything. She is also negative for lyme.