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Stops short on retrieve...sometimes


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Binx loves to play ball, and has a natural retrieve, but he also has this thing...only when we're outside though...where he brings the ball back just out of my reach and lies down with it. I will repeat, "Binx, bring it"...sometimes he'll come a little closer, sometimes he'll pick up the ball and drop it again, but will not bring it to my feet unless I hold out for several seconds which feels like several minutes. If I am sitting down, he will bring it 95% of the time, if I am up on the porch sitting down, he will bring it 100% of the time, if I am inside he will bring it 100% of the time.

 

There is never a fight for the ball...he does not play keep away with it...just lies down with it and wants you to come and get it.

 

He does it within 2 or 3 throws...he is not hot or tired.

 

There are several indications that he is simply trying to create his own rules...

 

1) He brings it all the way back sometimes, and when he doesn't and I quit, he runs over to me with the ball! - what a booger!

2) When inside, he brings it all the way each time; however, last night I had him dropping it in my lap and on the sixth or so toss he began to dribble it at my feet and would look up at me as if to say, "come on, all you have to do is grab it". Again, if I ignore him, he will cave in and put it in my lap.

 

I have been playing the "ignore him until he brings it to me" game for quite some time; we don't seem to be making much progress and I have become impatient!!

 

Last night I tried using hotdogs and a clicker to reward for each time he brought it all the way in...he was still hesitating each time - even with the hot dog lying on the ground when he returned!

 

Has anyone worked through this type of thing?

 

Should I start as if he were brand new to the game? Maybe put a long line on him for every game and reel him in??

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Maybe you could try just completely ending the game when he does this. When he does bring it all the way back, have a HUGE party with him, lots of treats and toys, but when he doesn't, just get up and walk away, maybe into the house or to sit on a chair facing away from him. I think its sort of a border collie thing; Panic does it too. He'll drop the toy and back up while staring a hole in me. :rolleyes:

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Have you thought about moving backwards quickly making it more fun for Binx to bring it to you? I had this same problem with Bailey. That seemed to help or I would turn my back and wait until she finally brought it to my feet, that was unless Usher would snatch it up and bring it to me- LOL.

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I have been playing the "ignore him until he brings it to me" game for quite some time; we don't seem to be making much progress and I have become impatient!!

 

Yes, I know how it feels to become impatient too. I'm sure my anti-training moments come when I snatch the ball out of Skye's mouth when she's playing silly bugger with me.

I find that her games with me include the more I ask the more she tests (and she's 6!) -- so the game becomes textbook when there are either other dogs around and she is showing off or when I act disinterested. This entails her bringing the ball right back to me and placing it in my hand. I did teach her to put it in my hand and she will do it on command -- but often not first without some rolling it around my thumb (very funny :rolleyes: ) and then dropping it right next to my hand :D

It's along the same line as me teaching her how to shake -- she won't do this if she doesn't think she's wet enough.....

So, I guess my advice is, keep up with the ignoring strategy (everytime!) to ensure you get the response you want -- no eye contact, no discussion, no continuation of play until she brings it. Or try using another completely new command, like maybe "Put it in my hand" or "Bring it close" and mark it.

Good luck Angie!

Ailsa

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I remember reading on this board a while back that a small towel placed in front of you for her to place the ball sometimes helps to "target" the area for the dog. This did help with Polly. I also do the walking backwards thing sometimes to encourage her to bring it all the way back.

 

The funniest thing I taught her for this is "closer"--she knows that this means to bring the toy, or herself, closer to me. Funny because this is sometimes subjective to her, so that when she brings it back closer to me, this may equal two inches--and to the left :rolleyes: OR, she will place it in front of me, run away, decide it needs to be closer, run back and bring it closer, run away, judge the distance with a critical eye, run to me and move it to the right or left--well you get the idea--and this is in the space of seconds. I can hear her thoughts, "o.k., she likes it close to her, now is that straight? maybe I better move it over a bit...does she see it? I'll move it over here so she'll see it better...how's that? hummmm...maybe I moved it too far that time?"

 

She's a hoot!

 

Ignoring her never worked for me, she would act like we were taking a break and lie down with the toy waiting for us to resume the game.

 

Charlene

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Scooter will sometimes catch the Frisbee and drop it on the ground behind me, waiting for me to pick it up. I've taught him the command, "YOU get it!" and he'll pick it up and "hand" it to me through my legs! Such a goofy guy! :rolleyes:

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I just ignore them, I basically don't throw the ball for Pete unless he gives it to me. Maybe I'm just mean, but if he wants it that bad he should bring it all the way back to me :rolleyes: The only reward for bringing me the ball all the way is that he gets to run after it again. I might be alone on this one.

 

I like the sound of the small towel as a target! I think a dog would pick up on that quick.

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It's along the same line as me teaching her how to shake -- she won't do this if she doesn't think she's wet enough.....

 

Blow on her ears and she'll shake. This is how I taught all my dogs to shake, which I ask them to do in the hallway before they get toweled off and after as well. They all do it on command. Well, except Sport. If he tries to shake he just falls down.

 

Briggs always dropped the ball about 10 feet away and stared at me. I would have to repeat "closer closer closer" and he would bring it incrementally closer to me until he got frustrated and would eventually hurl it at me with his mouth.

 

Tweed brings the ball to my foot, always has. But Tweed will only play with ONE ball and he is really concerned about that ball and the possibility of someone else stealing it, so I think it's self interest, not training, that motivates him to bring it all the way to my feet :D

 

Piper drops the ball between 5 and 10 feet away as she is racing into my legs, and then anticipates that I am going to ask her to go get it so she spins around, goes back for it, and then drops it somewhere around me as she is orbiting my knees. Often it is behind me, which has caused some dicey footwork for me in the sand at the beach, as I am not particularly coordinated. And then she stands like a pointer, with one foot in the air, the other ON one of my feet and her eyes like saucers until I throw it again. This is why so many photos of her look like this:

 

2596128291_796af68891.jpg

 

I spent years trying to teach Briggs to bring the ball all the way to me and never succeeded. But I was never very creative about it either. I do believe, however, that Piper's bad habit comes from her time in flyball, when she brought the ball back over the line, dropped it immediately, and then barreled at me for her tuggie.

 

Mr. Woo fetches when he feels like it, which is not often, and brings the ball back even less frequently. I spent a while trying to teach him to fetch with cookies, but I couldn't get him out of my pocket to even go get the ball.

 

I'm a failure at training a successful game of fetch :rolleyes:

 

RDM

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I've never tried this myself, but I've heard it suggested by disc players to fix all kinds of retrieve problems. Play the game with two balls, and as she's running back to you with the first one, throw the second one in the opposite direction. Then keep throwing back and forth with you in the middle and her always running for a ball. As I said, I haven't tried it myself, so I'm not sure how it works exactly or what happens when you stop using two balls, but at least it would break the habit of stopping partway and you could go from there.

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OR, she will place it in front of me, run away, decide it needs to be closer, run back and bring it closer, run away, judge the distance with a critical eye, run to me and move it to the right or left--well you get the idea--and this is in the space of seconds. I can hear her thoughts, "o.k., she likes it close to her, now is that straight? maybe I better move it over a bit...does she see it? I'll move it over here so she'll see it better...how's that? hummmm...maybe I moved it too far that time?"

 

She's a hoot!

 

Ignoring her never worked for me, she would act like we were taking a break and lie down with the toy waiting for us to resume the game.

 

Charlene

 

 

ROFLOL - THAT is exactly what he does! The moving the ball around AND the lying there like we're on break....Sigh...

 

Though I do like the idea of the towel placement holder...maybe we'll try that angle next.

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I just ignore them, I basically don't throw the ball for Pete unless he gives it to me. Maybe I'm just mean, but if he wants it that bad he should bring it all the way back to me :rolleyes: The only reward for bringing me the ball all the way is that he gets to run after it again. I might be alone on this one.

You aren't mean or alone, that is exactly why I'm looking for other training tactics. The problem is that I want him to play... because it gives me a quick way to burn off some of his energy before I leave for work in the mornings - but I will only do it if he plays by my rules. We clicker train in the evenings or we have classes, so that pretty much ensures that he settles in the house and he sleeps well at night. The mornings are where I need to cut corners and fetch has always worked wonderfully with my other BC's...what a booger head he is!

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The problem is that I want him to play... because it gives me a quick way to burn off some of his energy before I leave for work in the mornings - but I will only do it if he plays by my rules.

Heh!

I'm in a similar boat, but in my case, when she *does* deign to play, she wants to wrestle for the toy on return, and that's not something I'm encouraging. So I get one "fetch" and then the game is over - I won't wrestle, and she's immediately bored.

 

At least I have the 'keep away' thing absolutely knocked cold - She's dragging a long lead whenever she's in the back yard - Until such time as I'm confident that there are no unexpected "break and run" behaviors hidden in her personality. So, when she starts 'keep away" I just step on the lead. Ends that behavior tout de suite.

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Quinn was fetching pretty much from when he started walking but from time to time I've had to address variations on the game that I wasn't crazy about. This includes playing keep away (something that still pops up even now, though in mild form) and flying into my midsection on his return. I ended up using corrections for both those issues. A combination of putting a long line on him to reel him in or ending the game when he didn't bring the toy to me. For the stomach punches, I scolded, then ended the game. That might mean ended for a few minutes or for that afternoon, depending on other things I had going.

 

With my sheltie, I put her on a long line as a puppy to encourage her to come in and then used the two toy method to teach a nice little retrieve. For the Lhasa, who didn't care about the stinking long line or the second toy, I spent a solid year of training, with help from two instructors and using food rewards to finally get him to fetch a dumbbell. He is now extremely keen about retrieving his dumbbell but that is all he will retrieve. Corrections would not have cut it for either of them but with Quinn who is a maniac about fetch and who has great fun coming up with new versions of the game, I did resort to giving him consequences that made his way of playing not as fun. I never used food with Quinn because he finds retrieving much more reinforcing than treats.

 

I second the suggestion of backing up or even running a bit to encourage him to bring the toy all the way to you. Using a second toy as enticement is also a good thing to try as is a long line to encourage him to come all the way in. Another idea is to end the game with him wanting more so he remains very excited and motivated to play by your rules. Without knowing your dog, I can't say whether he is just having fun doing things his way or if he isn't as into fetch as some other dogs. At any rate, I think it's usually a good idea to quit while the dog is still loving the game. Lastly, I would pick a criteria I wanted (bring to hand, drop at my feet, drop on first command, whatever) and then rigidly stick to that criteria to make it very clear to him what you want.

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My BC Robbie does this too. And Lucy our BC before him did it as well. To me it always feels like he is trying to get me out further afield, so the fun doesn't end.

 

I haven't really worried about this trait because Bernie (male 7, entlebucher sennenhund) will go get the kong or ball or stick and bring it right to my feet. There is a division of labor between them.

 

I have noticed that when I ignore Robbie he will almost always pick up the stick and bring it around again.

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