Playing Fetch Training
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Thread: Playing Fetch Training

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    DefaultPlaying Fetch Training

    Odie has no problem chasing a ball and bringing him back. But despite my attempts I cannot get him to drop the ball when he brings it back. I always have to wrestle him for it. How do I train him to drop it?

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  3. #2
    TangerineFizz is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Playing Fetch Training

    Trade him something for it - preferably a treat of some kind. He brings it back, you say "drop or out", offer the treat, praise him for dropping it, give him the treat. He will probably catch on quickly to that!
    Me, Abzilla and the Helomonster.

  4. #3
    Join Date
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    DefaultRe: Playing Fetch Training

    Quote Originally Posted by TangerineFizz
    Trade him something for it - preferably a treat of some kind. He brings it back, you say "drop or out", offer the treat, praise him for dropping it, give him the treat. He will probably catch on quickly to that!
    That's what I did with Mocha. After a while you can wheen him off the treats.

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  6. #4
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Playing Fetch Training

    You can pre-measure the amount of kibble for his next meal and borrow some in advance from that amount to use as treats.

    As others have said, trade a bit of treat for the ball.

    If you practice before meals, you're sure of higher motivations.
    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":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

  7. #5
    Join Date
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    DefaultRe: Playing Fetch Training

    Ok, I tried trading him the ball for a treat, and it worked a couple times, then he just started dropping the ball half way back and running towards me looking for a treat. Any ideas?

  8. #6
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Playing Fetch Training

    It needs bringing it all the way back with a successful "give" to get a treat. Will your dog respond to "Go pick it up"?

    Using a ball is okay but it has its downsides -- for one, it gets slimey from saliva pretty quick and you can't tie a string to it to bring it back in cases like you mention -- or worse yet, if you toss it in a pond and your Lab doesn't go after it.

    We use the 2 x 12 "Lucky Dog" vinyl training dummies (from www.gundogsupply.com and other suppliers -- about [email protected] + S&H). BUT: use them only for retrieving -- NEVER let your Lab chew on them like a chew toy.

    Tieing a string on to the object often relieves you from having to walk (or swim) over to the object to retrieve it before your Lab has learned which job is whose.

    Below is a copy of a post I've often made.
    ================================================== ==============
    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 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 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.

    [size=16pt]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 have greater reward effect.

    As your pup learns to retrieve and enjoys it, you can increase the # of trials.

    Many people assume that a Lab should retrieve automatically, without training.

    While SOME Labs may, probably the majority need some training to retrieve.

    Chasing after a moving object is native and instinctual for almost all dogs but bringing it back to someone else and giving it up is not and that part often 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.

    But 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 seems to be a genetic fault of a few Labs and is under investigation at a consortium of US & Canadian Vet colleges. The Labrador Retriever Club's website has a section on this.
    [/size]
    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":
    http://forum.justlabradors.com/showt...?p=748#post748

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