Fetch is a nightmare! - Help
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Thread: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

  1. #1
    reuben1804 is offline Junior Member
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    DefaultFetch is a nightmare! - Help



    I have a 10 month old black lab called Arnie. He loves his ball and will play with it all day and chase it wherever you throw it. However, the massive problem is getting it back off him when he has retrieved it - he will just not let go or drop it. He just jogs around you in circles - hugely frustrating.

    I have tried loads of different commands, treats, temperaments etc but nothing does it, he just cant drop it and let you pick it up.

    Can someone offer any advise???

    Thanks

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  3. #2
    JacksAndLabs is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    Either put him on a long line (long, light leash) so you can bring him straight back to you or play fetch in an area where he can dance around you (hallway). To get him to drop, you can trade him for something (another ball or treat) or make him give it to you, which is what I personally do. As you reach for the ball, take a bit of his lip and pinch it over his tooth...as you do this, say "give", "drop", "loose", whatever word you'd like to use. When he releases, praise him like crazy and throw again.
    ~Nicole<br />Grand Ledge, MI<br /><br />

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    Tanya is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    Great advice above!

    You should work on the leave it separately as well. Teach him the command when he's calmer (and not exited about chasing the ball. If he won't drop it for the treat or trade for another toy push the gums against his teeth (for discomfort NOT pain) to get him to drop it then praise

    DO NOT use the command for drop it unless you KNOW you will get the toy (I.e. you have his collar or he is on leash). This means you may want to start the actual training with another word as he's already learned he doesn't have to drop it on your current command.
    Charlie (foster) and Rocky

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    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    Both have given you good advice.

    In addition, does your Lab like to eat? If so, try doing your training before any of his meals so you can use a few kibbles of his regular meal for treats. He retrieves and exchanges the ball (or object) and gets a bite of food. Heckuva a deal!! Be sure to say "give!" (or whatever command you prefer) at the time of the exchange.

    Also, if you get tired of handling a slobbery ball, you might try slinging a training dummy. I like the 2" x 12" (5 x 30 cm) "Lucky Dog" training dummies -- www.gundogsupply.com and many other places have them. Do not let your pup chew on them (because they'll chew off the end with the sling line) -- use them only for retrieving.

    BTW, your pup is just inviting you to play a common, popular game played among Labs -- "I've got something you want -- chase me and try to get it"
    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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    TN_LAB is offline Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    Using 2 balls worked for us. We started in a hallway and slowly progressed to the backyard.

    Start with short tosses and act all excited. I say hup-hup-hup and toss the first ball. When she returns I show her the second ball and act even more excited. It didn't take very long for my pup to realize that she had to drop the first one in order to get the second one.

    Another technique is to quit playing if he won't give it to you. Turn your back, walk away and end the game.

  8. #6
    map1986 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    Quote Originally Posted by TN_LAB
    Using 2 balls worked for us. We started in a hallway and slowly progressed to the backyard.

    Start with short tosses and act all excited. I say hup-hup-hup and toss the first ball. When she returns I show her the second ball and act even more excited. It didn't take very long for my pup to realize that she had to drop the first one in order to get the second one.

    Another technique is to quit playing if he won't give it to you. Turn your back, walk away and end the game.
    This is what worked for me too! My Ivy would just get close enough to me that I'd reach for it and then dart away...two balls were the way to go with her. Good luck!
    Maggie &amp; Ivy, the loves of my life!

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    VTEnviro is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    BTW, your pup is just inviting you to play a common, popular game played among Labs -- "I've got something you want -- chase me and try to get it"
    My dog is an old pro at that game already! We have had problems with him returning the toy to us, especially outdoors where I can't corner him. Some of the problem is probably my own doing. Sometimes I would encourage chasing type games as opposed to fetch, return, drop. Should have been more consistent.

    What we are now doing though, based on the take it/drop it/leave it commands we learned in puppy class is offering a treat to get his attention and drop the toy. When he is returning, before he circles me and runs back off again, I show him a treat to get his attention. I make him sit, 'drop it' with the toy, and 'take it' with the treat.

    Lately he is beginning to anticipate being treated and drops it on his own.

  10. #8
    WillV341's Avatar
    WillV341 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    Im sorry to hijack this thread, but I'm having a related problem with Oscar. He fetches fine in the house. We have a long opening from the living room, through the dining room, into the kitchen. We throw, he retrieves, and the game continues. The problem is, I've tried progressing him to longer fetches. I take him to my parents house (HUGE backyard) and he just wants to run around the yard. I tried playing fetch and he chases the ball, but when he gets to it he just does a U-turn around it and keeps running around the yard. If he does pick it up he takes it somewhere else other than back to me. Any help?

    He gets a decent amount of daily vigorous exercise (needs to be stepped up a little, thats my fault) and he loves fetch in the house...


    OSCAR!!!!!! <br />born 11/16/07

  11. #9
    Bob Pr. is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    Dogs generalize** very poorly. That's why it's EXTREMELY important in training to vary the places and the directions used in training anything which you want to use in many places.

    I remember several years ago -- on one of our many preceding JL forums -- a woman posted about a somewhat similar problem with her Lab. She'd trained him to fetch an object she threw from her chair in her living room and then was dismayed to discover that was the only place and circumstance in which he'd retrieve.

    I see 2, maybe 3, ways of handling your problem.

    One is to push the envelope of what he's already doing well. I.e., deliberately progressively expand it slightly into slightly new territory (every 3rd or 4th time with the old). You might also have him wait until you release him to go, using a command term, such as "Oscar, FETCH!" to send him out. A soon as you find that he's comfortably mastered the new variations, then increase them. For instance throwing outside an open door from inside the house. When that's mastered, you can stand by the door and throw it. Then (after mastery) in the front yard, side yard, back yard, places other than home.

    Another is to begin training again but outside with a hungry motivated dog before normal meal time. Tie some twine to the object you want retrieved so you don't have to walk to retrieve it, you can reel it back. Throw it about 10-15 ft away (3-4 m) with the command ("Oscar, FETCH!") Give a few kibbles from his meal as a reward for a successful/partially successful retrieve. Stop after 2-3 trials to keep it fun until he really has it mastered; then you can increase it more. (P.S. -- Be SURE to vary directions and places this time.)

    A third way is to find your own way of combining both approaches depending on your reading of Oscar and what seems to speak best to him.

    **Generalization -- the act of responding in a learned way to a stimulus complex that's slightly different; the greater the similarity of the stimulus complex to those present in the original learned response, the geater the tendency to respond in a similar fashion. (This is one reason why training Oscar to NOT retrieve until you give the command to fetch a few seconds later in a situation he's familiar with will help him generalize to new situations. When he gets in a new situation, you'll be bringing something familiar -- that command -- from the old situation to the new one.)

    Hope I've described this clearly enough. If not, ask me.
    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

  12. #10
    WillV341's Avatar
    WillV341 is offline Senior Member
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    DefaultRe: Fetch is a nightmare! - Help

    wow, thanks a bunch Bob. That was probably the best answer I could've gotten. Thanks again!
    OSCAR!!!!!! <br />born 11/16/07

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