I have a 13 week old lab that can sit stay and come with a whistle, but has no interest in retrieving anything. Should I be worried or just give it time? any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
Charlie (foster) and Rocky
Thanks Tanya, I have read all the threads you sent me and I sure do appreciate them!!! sounds like I need to be patient.
Thanks again, Kevin
Below is a copy of a post I've often 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 and that part usually needs training.
However, for many Labs, once they learn to retrieve, it's often the thing they enjoy most in life and have an endurance for fetching greater than the arm endurance 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. "Fetch" is a wonderful way of meeting most of those needs.
However, a few Labs become too obsessed with retrieving and need to have limits imposed.
And a 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 website has a section on this.
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.
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 first in 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 5-6 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.
Last edited by Bob Pr.; 02-19-2013 at 12:18 PM.
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":
Thank you Bob, lots of great tips I sure do appreciate the help !!!
Mine is 11 weeks and I am working on building up that retrieving desire myself. He is also doing well with his basic commands as yours is. He was retrieving in the yard well at first but soon that was too distracting for him as he is a very curious pup. So I actually went back to the hallway retrieves.
Also I am experimenting with different objects. At first he was doing well with the canvas puppy dummies but started dragging it by the rope. When I removed the rope he was cigaring the dummy so I quite using it not wanting him to get in the habit of that. Right now he retrieves a rolled up sock the best and I also found a duck at Petco that he absolutely loves! Amazon.com: Hyper Products Hyper Dog Flying Duck: Pet Supplies
I think the key at this age is to just have fun with it and laugh at em and the funny things they do. I encourage mine to carry all sorts of things in his mouth so I have an assorted lot of toys of all shapes and sizes and I praise him a ton when he picks one up and runs around with it. Another thing I do about every 3-4 days is bring out a bird wing and let him play with that which he goes nuts for. I plan to introduce him to some frozen quail I have in a week or two before he enters the teething phase just to let him carry one around a bit and start to get birdy. It is such a blast having a pup they grow up too fast!
Check out Jackie Merton's dvd "Sound Beginnings" if you have a chance, she really has some great tips in there for building up the retrieving desire and introducing marking to young puppies.
Deep Run Traveling "Takoda" (12/05/12)
Deep Run Easygoing Ezekial "Zeke" (04/13/17)
Mine did it automatically but he only brings it back to me if I show him the treat :/ I'm not sure who is training who