I finally had a truly wonderful night with my male dog tonight, particularly on his retrieve skills. He has had a bad case of passive aggression where he would happily go get his dumbell on his own terms, but on my terms, he would dramatically melt down to the floor and roll onto his back. He has been very gently taught but was still resistant to sitting and staying and calmly holding his retrieve articles. A few weeks ago, I told him it was not a choice he was allowed to make, it was his job and I expected him to do it. While I have not applied any harsh physical corrections, I am very hands on; I have tried to give timely information - each attempt to spit it out, roll it, or release his grip with his mouth- was marked, as was each attempt on his part to actually hold it on his own or resist gentle pressure on it from my hands. Support and approval are so important to recognize his attempts; creates a sense of pride in the dog. I realize I am still far from a polished and reliable retrieve, but this is one of the important building blocks on the road to that skill. Our next skill will be to deliver it to front, a step at a time.