Hey guys I am having some trouble getting my lab to retrieve. When I throw the decoy he is always extremely interested and runs after it, but when he gets to it, he either picks it up and runs laps around the yard or licks it and come running back with no decoy. What can I do to help with this?
I have the same problem. She runs, gets it, drop it and then she runs in the yard. And then I tell her with an attitude: "Come on, you're a retriever! You suppose to retrieve! That's what you do" But I get no reply! Lol
If dogs do not go to heaven, then I prefer to follow them where they go.
ETA actually lately he has zero interest in sticks, balls, or frisbees since he discovered bunnies. All he does is run along the fence, out back or at the park, searching for his bunnies. His recall has also vanished. I can only get him back if I say "Diesel! Bunny is RIGHT HERE!" and then he runs towards me. Think we are doing some NILF this weekend. It's getting out of hand, lol.
OP -- you will get some good tips here from those that have mastered the retrieve!
Last edited by Diesel_Dawg; 07-28-2012 at 10:51 AM.
are you looking to train fetch for fun, or because you want the pup to do hunting (real hunting, trials, etc.)?
If you are looking for a hunting buddy I highly recommend searching for retrieving-hunt forums where hunters and those who do field or hunt trials can give you advice more directly related to your goals (there are not many that frequent this section of the board).
You can also see if there is a retrieving club in your area and if they have classes. I took a class and it was great.
If you just want to train a retriever for fun, put a long line on the dog and gently tug him back to you - but make yourself exiting and fun, reward BIG TIME when he gets back.
ETA: just saw your pup is only 5 months old - keep things fun and light hearted. he's still a baby.
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
A good way to work on just recall and you can incorporate an object into it later is to get about 50 feet of rope and hook it to their collar and let them wonder off and explore. Once they are out doing their own thing give them the command to come back (whatever you decide to use, varies person to person). Make sure you only say it once. If you are saying it over and over and over again you are training your pup to only respond when you act really excited and repeat what you want 20 times. If the does not respond after calling it gently pull the dog back to you with the rope and say your recall command a few times while pulling the pup closer. Once the pup is next to you give it praise and a small treat and rinse and repeat.
Start slow and only let the pup go 10-15 feet and once they start picking it up let them go farther and farther. Eventually you can incorporate a toy or ball to help with this. Same thing as above just throw the toy a little ways out.
Thanks for the advice guys. He will eventually be trained for hunting, I was just concerned because of his lack of intrest.
a 5 month old lab is a text book definition of ADD. Their little bitty brain is going a million miles an hour. Like mentioned above keep it fun and interesting for the pup and be patient
For teaching retrieving, below is a post I've frequently made.
Many people assume that a Lab should retrieve automatically, without training.
While SOME Labs do, probably the majority need some training to retrieve.
Chasing after a moving object is native and instinctual for almost all dogs but the bringing it back to someone and giving it up is not, so that part of retrieving usually needs training.
However, for many Labs, once they learn to retrieve, it's often the thing they most enjoy in life and they often have an endurance for fetching far greater than that of the arm of the person throwing the object.
That's not bad because most Labs need a lot of daily vigorous exercise to be docile and civil. Playing "fetch" is a wonderful way of meeting most of those needs.
(However, a few Labs will become too obsessed with retrieving and need to have limits imposed; my Bess was one.)
And a very few get EIC (Exercise Induced Collapse) and become weak and shaky; this is a genetic fault of a few Labs and was investigated by a consortium of US & Canadian Vet colleges. The Labrador Retriever Club's website has a section on this (behavior, symptoms, recommended treatment) if you're interested.
Teaching to retrieve --
For a puppy, if you have a blind hallway, you can start by rolling a ball or toy down the hall toward the blind end. The pup will run after it and has no choice but to come back to you. At that time, praise, and exchange a treat or a bit of kibble for the ball/toy along with more praise. (It's helpful to pre-measure your pup's next meal and use some of that kibble for treats. That's a help in not over-feeding.)
Repeat 2-3 times. ALWAYS QUIT WHILE IT'S STILL FUN AND INTERESTING TO YOUR PUP/DOG.
I didn't have a blind hallway and we used a 25 foot/8 m. kite string tied to a rubber toy dumbbell.
We went out in the front yard and I'd throw it in first one direction, holding on to the bitter end (i.e., the non-toy end) of the line. Puff went after it and when she picked up the toy, I reeled back both Puff and the toy she was holding, praised her, and gave a treat in exchange for the toy. You might also say, "__(name)__, Give!" at the time you're offering the treat and getting the toy delivered to your hand. Then you'll be teaching another VERY useful command: ("Give!").
I threw it in a different direction next time. Repeated as above.
You do need to vary the directions you throw it and the locations you use because young dogs can easily (too easily) become site-specific in their learning.
E.g., a woman 8-9 years ago on JL complained that her Lab would retrieve when she sat in a particular chair in her living room and threw a toy from there but would not retrieve any place else. When you vary the locations and directions it helps them easily learn to generalize.
ALWAYS KEEP THE RETRIEVING FUN, NEVER WORK.
If your pup's enthusiasm starts lagging after 5 trials, drop to 3 or 4 the next time you try it. If it lags after 3 trials, drop to one for awhile until the interest and enthusiasm builds up.
If you train just before normal feeding time, your pup's motivation for food will be higher and pieces of kibble exchanged for the toy will have greater reward effect.
As your pup learns to retrieve and enjoys it, you can gradually increase the # of trials.
When you switch from fetching a toy to a training dummy, I prefer the 2" x 12" Lucky Dog (brand) vinyl training dummies. I've found them cheapest at ww w.gundogsupply.com's website -- a little less than $4 @.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":