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Discussion Starter #1
I'm not sure how to tackle this one.

My foster is a four year old choco lab. He has no natural drive to fetch. Not even to follow the object. Not even to CHEW on things. He won't put it in his mouth! even if I encourage him (gently)

My only thought it to train him like I did with Rocky and the bumper but that requires some clicker trainign first. What I did for Rocky (though he fetched balls would not go near a bumper) was start by clicking when he was NEAR the bumper, the he had to touch it, then pick it up, then carry it an inch, then carry it to me...anyway, now he's all exited when I pull the bumper out! This only "thing" with this is I would have to start with some basic clicker training first (i.e. get him used to the clicker)

any other thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
breeding male. Unlikely he was ever in a house (though he is TERRIFIC inside here, settles right down)

he is showing SOME signs of wanting to play with Rocky (who of course ignores it or gets distracted) but NO SIGNS of wanting to play with a toy of any kind. Even squeaky toys that usually gets all the dogs looking are a no go.

He will mouth me (he is gentle at least) for attention so he has that. But will not put a toy in his mouth (any shape or texture). I will keep trying different things.

He won't follow Rocky when Rocky fetches. So really, zero idea about how to play or toys.

Mind you, Rocky was much like thsi (though he would at least chew on toys, he would not fetch) but at least he had more inbred nature in him and went after a toy (just would not bring it back or always pick it up)
 

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Hmm. Makes me almost think (sadly too) that's he's never seen a toy much less a fetching toy of any sort. Poor guy. He looks pretty sweet in your siggie pic.

I wish I had some sage advice to give you, but I think he's out of my basic realm. I would suggest throwing some cheese or something just to get him going out, and then maybe a ball lightly rubbed in cheese afterwards? Sorry Tanya, wish I had more to give you.
 

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Tanya, I'd first start conditioning him to use his nose, the way I start my dogs tracking. A dog should investigate something you drop, its canine nature for them to go and sniff something new. I'd buy a special toy or glove (I use a leather work glove, but you can use anything.) And simply drop it. When he goes to see what it is, praise him. Usually something leather gets them the idea. Click if you want, but it will take time. It took me almost 1 year to get Ruby to actually pick up the dumbell! (That doesn't include the bringing it back!) You can also use treats, and alternate dropping treats on the ground and his glove. That way, he has to investigate in order to see if its his treat. Slooooowwwlllyy...its really painstaking.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks guys :)

Yes he is a good boy, VERY sweet. Will make a great pet (if people can just make thru his probably marking phase).

Melissa- sounds alot like my clicker method (exept using vocal cue rather than clicker). You are right, given his background it will likely take time. I may try to mix that in, but I do need to concentrate on basics (sit/down/STAY). He knows sit/down but like I mentionned in my other post I need to SLOWLLLY start bringing it outside the house (he is actually alot better). He also sometimes growls at other dogs on walks (no lunging or anything but still) so that is also a priority. I will try to fit in the toy thing, unfortunately it's more of a "bonus" (i.e fun to have but the others are more important).
 

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Question: How long do you have this Labrador in youre home ?!

For dogs who just are placed *new* in any home, it whould take some time to settle down, before the show them selfs (if you get what i mean) ;)

And training with a clicker could be a good starting point, it makes it just clrear for them what you expect from them ;)
 

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Is this a dog that was kept kenneled by a PM and just used for breeding? One which never learned how to play with other dogs or just on its own?

If so, the poor boy will be somewhat limited in how much he can learn after such a disastrous, unhumane (uncanine), early life. [See the last, summary chapter of Scott & Fuller's "Genetics & the Social Behavior of Dogs" for information on this; the book's title would more properly read "Early Experience & the SBoD"; genetics figures in only that the scores of over 20 years of experiments were conducted on only 5 breeds of dogs to minimize any breed differences.]

It will be good to see how much you can raise his ceiling -- dogs do differ quite a bit, one from another, so despite the handicaps, he may be able to go surprisingly, gratifyingly past his present limitations.

I think Tangerine Fizz's suggestion is good as well as yours about using clicker training. IMO, using a learned response which replicates a dormant, unused instinctual response, has the possibility of at least partially reviving whatever energy remains of the instinctual response.

The most important thing (IMO) in retrieving is to try to teach and possibly reawaken the "chase after" and "seize" responses. The "retrieving" part -- although a few Labs do this naturally -- is usually a learned response which, once learned, becomes a dominant motivation (possibly because it is so instrumental in allowing the other 2 to be repeated).

My Bess, once she started retrieving, never had an amount she considered "enough"; I always had to impose my judgment on hers.

Puff's never considered retrieving that important. I had to train her from her puppy days and although she retrieves adequately at least 30-40X every day, it's always more to please me than something important to her.

Puff had the "chase" and "seize" from the git-go. I tied a kite string to the toy I threw and when she seized it, I pulled toy and Puff back and exchanged a few kibbles & much praise for the toy. Training just before mealtimes insured kibbles had maximum motivation. That quickly easily taught her to give it to me. I mention this in case possibly you might find it helpful.

One important point you already know -- be sure to keep it as "fun" as possible, not work. MUCH praise. Not too many trials in a row.

Good luck and please let us know more about the background of this Lab and what your experiences are. It sounds like a fascinating case.

 

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Some really good suggestions here and a wonderful post from Bob, in particular.

I can't add anything but did want to tell you your sig pic of the boys is beautiful. :)
 

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Oh noes Tanya! You've been botted! :D

Seriously though with regard to the fetch/toy thing, I wouldn't put a whole lot of effort into it at this point. Work on the other stuff and then see if he starts "tuning in" a little more.

A lot of the shelter dogs I've worked with "check out" like it sounds like he is right now. They simply don't realize that they should pay attention to people when they've had no contact with them, or when people come and go in and out of their lives seemingly constantly. :( I think if he's with you for a longer period of time (few weeks-month) you'll probably see a different dog emerging. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
We don't know sure if it was PM in small crates or in a kennel area or what. He was at a shelter for 6mts (apparently that area has ALOT of trouble adopting out anything that is not a puppy). He was dropped off with his papers (so they had a date of birth). To be honest, I can't be sure it isn't the shleter just saying it was a PM/byb surrender or some lame owner who was dumping their dog (maybe some info was embellished/added along the way).

He is good in the house, quiet, settles so...either he is just a calm boy like Rocky or he was actually in a house at some point. But clearly he has no formal training, that much I am certan of.

So...nothing is certain.

He is coming along wonderfully. LIke I said, calm in the house, only marked once after his infamous arrival and since I took your adivce in the other thread, is coming along leaps and bounds on sit/down/up (with more and more distractions as we go on). He is responding to his name more and more as well. ALOT less growling at other dogs (the shelter swore he was good with other dogs so I'm not sure if it's about the leash or if they embelished that too ro what).

I'm doing my best to not pressure him or work him too much, as that usually backfires pretty quickly!
 
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