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I have a 6 month old pup who has some issues bringing a ball right back to me. She will bring it about 10 feet away and either just stand there with it, or drop it there and stare at it. If I approach her when she has the ball, she will drop it and back away from me, staring at the ball in a semi crouch. Other times if I'm approaching her with it, she will drop it and do a big circle around me and the ball and end up again opposite me crouching and staring at it. If she ever does get close and I tell her to drop it, she will and then very quickly backs or circles 5-10 feet away from where me and the ball are so she's not as close.

 

I've tried several things to get her to bring it closer but what I'm wondering is if there is some sort of instinct there that is making her want to stay a certain distance away, or is she just being stubborn?

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The crouching and staring is called "eye." It's common in border collies and ties into aspects of the "herding instinct." The backing and circling when you approach is her following an impulse to come to balance, as she would if the ball was a sheep that she wanted to keep near you. In her mind, her job is to bring the sheep - or ball - to you, and your job is to do something with it. ;)

 

This is no indication of how she'd work or how well, but possibly she has some herding instinct in the box. :)

 

~ Gloria

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In addition to adding a second ball, you could try the "chase me" game where you run away from her as she brings the ball back. Generally I use this with dogs who aren't really bringing the ball back at all, but it may also be successful in getting her to bring it closer to you.

 

My lab used to drop the ball far away -- I'd just stand there until he picked it up and brought it closer. He figured out that the ball wasn't much fun out there doing nothing, so he learned to bring it to my feet.

 

Secret brings it to me, but I'll be darned if I can get her to drop the stupid thing when I'm holding a chuck-it -- It's just too mind blowing for her, apparently (she gives me the ball easily when I don't have a chuck-it).

 

Ultimately, your puppy is only six months old. Be happy that she is retrieving at all, as mine didn't tend to get into that game for a couple more months. lol She'll figure it out!

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I've tried the 2 ball thing...as soon as she sees I have another one she drops the one she has or keeps it in her mouth and starts the crouching stare. Only problem is, she still won't come close. Won't come close if I have treats either...they are less value than the ball. If I run the opposite way, she drops the ball and chases me. If I try to wait her out she just starts playing with the ball herself. With my older dog she did a similar thing but if I turned my back and waited she brough it closer. I just can't remember how old she was when I did that kind of stuff with her as its been 13 years. I'm hoping as she matures she will be more driven to get me to throw it again. She saw some mallard ducks on the ground a month or so ago and started staring and stalking them. I'd be interested to see what she thinks of sheep.

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I would backchain this by teaching dropping the ball in my hand, Just teach that and give it a command, then start small in the house teaching drop the ball in your hand and gradually give it more space.

 

My dog generally brings the ball back within 10feet throws it at me and waits giving the ball "eye" , I give her the "give it to me" command and she picks it up and puts it in my hand.

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I had one like that. Had to condition, with two toys (and it took some time) that she had to let me one, touch her first. And two, along with that rather than stopping her, keep her moving around me. Was a bit of trial and error but did work. Oh, and you may want to back it up in the beginning with a long line. Not to bring her in but to keep her from actively moving away.

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Listen, it could be a lot worse. Dexter lays down between my legs or somewhere nearby, and launches out like a barracuda to grab the ball another dog has dropped in front of me. Twice in the last 24 hours he's bitten my foot when he mistimed his lunge; nearly took off my big toe last night!

 

RDM

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Sometimes it helps to have your dog play fetch with a to-hand retriever. Especially if you take the other dog's returns and do a feint to start them away and throw the ball to a spot where the other dog will be likely to get it first. Your dog will soon get tired of being "out of the loop" and may begin to bring the ball in.

 

Another ploy I've used is to pretend not to see the ball and wander about saying "Where's the ball?" I've had dogs snatch up the ball, bring it in and put it on my foot as if to say, Here, stupid! Are you blind?"

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I have two dogs...with two different approaches to the "ball game"...

 

My first dog i compete with in obedience trials and herding trials....he does EXACTLY what your pup does...in fact..when I let them out to go potty the first thing he ALWAYS does is run to the opposite side or "balance" as if the ball were sheep...about 20 feet away from the ball and lie there....he has done this since a pup...he also ALWAYS wants to drop the ball about 10-20 feet away from me...circle behind me...then do a perfect mini outrun again about 20-30 feet at "balance"...with me and the ball...

 

The way I've managed this is by teaching him a HOLD command...did this as a seperate exercise...inside where things weren't so HIGHLY stimulating knowing he was going to play fecth with a chuck it...just takes some patience and alot of treats....a couple times a day I would do this...Chair out. Ball and hand full of treats in chair...get him to grab the ball, then I genlty put my hands over his muzzle, said "hold it" for a split second then "give" took my hands off...ball spit out treat...did this OVER and OVER and gradually increased time until he really understood what it means..then I would just practice it while watching tv whatever...have him "get it"..HOLD IT..."give" and treat..

 

I also taught him Heel position seperatly...so when he is bringing the ball back to me when he is half way back I tell him HOLD IT..and HEEL....he comes perfectly into heel holding the ball until I take it from his mouth...I find that by GIVING him something to do before his brain kinda of takes over and goes into herding mode he GETS IT...If you let him kinda do his own thing he will do his wacky ball herding all day...I don't make him do the FORMAL HUNTING dog heel thing all the time..just here and there...but I use the hold quite a bit whne he wants to do his quirky thing..

 

Another thing I have done with him is timed his herding behavior a bit...I can tell exactly when he is thinking about dropping the ball to early and if I give him a verbal correction or tell him to hold it he will be like "oh ya, sorry om forgot...was in my weird herding-ball mode" and will bring it all the way back....

 

With my other older dog I bought recently and taught to fetch I don't care as much...I spent alot of patient time on the couch just NOT throwing the ball until he brought it all the way to me....he found out he didn't get to play the fun ball game until he brought the ball all the way to me...and turning in the other direction works for him...

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One thing that can work well, and quickly, for dogs like this is to teach them to nose target the palm of your hand. Once you get that behavior very strong & on cue, you can cue them to target your hand in a calm frame of mind, indoors, with a low-value toy in their mouth. Then transfer to cuing the hand target outside during toy games.

 

It sounds like you have a great "drop it" already, so once she comes in close to target you can vary when she does so and you take off running as a reward, with when she does so and you just cue her to drop it for another throw.

 

Barbara

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I had the same problem, minus your circling issue up until recently with my 2 year old BC. When he was a pup(6mo to 1yr) he would do it all the time and drop(without giving a drop command) the frisbee about 6 feet away and just look at me in the crouch position. I would command him to "get it" until it was about an arms length away. Sometimes it would take 3 to 4 "get it " commands.

As he got older it was less frequent, sometimes, I have to use the "get it" command, but rarely. Now he drops it at my feet almost every time.

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The crouching and staring is called "eye." It's common in border collies and ties into aspects of the "herding instinct." The backing and circling when you approach is her following an impulse to come to balance, as she would if the ball was a sheep that she wanted to keep near you. In her mind, her job is to bring the sheep - or ball - to you, and your job is to do something with it. ;)

 

This is no indication of how she'd work or how well, but possibly she has some herding instinct in the box. :)

 

~ Gloria

 

Gloria, thanks for this explanation -- Brodie behaved exactly the same way -- now, I know why. It doesn't make sense to him! Because Ken loves to play ball with the dogs, I did eventually teach him "fetch" by putting him on a lead, tossing him the ball and when he caught it, giving him a tug and calling "Come." He is still is sometimes reluctant to bring the ball all the way in but, oddly, not the Frisbee! - he loves playing Frisbee almost as much as he loves his sheep.

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I have a different problem. Jude wants nothing to do with fetch. I can throw a ball or other object he's interested in, and he will wait for it to fall, then go after it, almost like he's trying to track it instead of retrieve it. Then once he gets to it, he'll either leave it or chew on it.

 

No fetch with this dog. But boy does he like to track

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If the pup is not bringing the ball go back to basics.

 

Start with the pup on leash and only throw the ball a couple feet. When the pup starts to bring the ball you use the leash to make them come back. From there, you can teach the drop/out command or teach the dog to hold it longer by playing tug with the in the mouth. You just need to teach a proper bring command.

 

If once you know the dog knows how to bring you what you ask and the dog chooses not to do so, end the game and try later.

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