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candi
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Hi there, I was hoping I could get some suggestions...I have a 9 month old female border collie...She is from a big line of wroking dogs...My question is how can I get her interested in her ball or frisbee outdoors...She will go for hours indoors but once we go outside all she wants to do is run or jump up at my evergreen trees to see if she can grab a branch or two...any suggestions? By the way I also have her in obedience classes and trying to work on some control to go to agility...

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Candi--

Wait on the frisbee until she's a year old. Invariably she'll be jumping and twisting and landing in odd positions when she catches it, and her joints are still a little soft. Better to be safe and wait a few months.

 

It also helps if the dog is already bringing the ball back to you regularly before starting with the frisbee.

 

I think you are on the right path by working on some control. She needs to listen to you and do what you want. Start with the ball in the house, down a hallway or something. Once she catches it, just give her a recall command so she'll bring it to you. she'll get the hang of it soon enough.

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Because your dog will play consistantly inside it would seem your only problem is teaching her to focus on you outside.

 

Go to the thread "to young??" in general border collie discussion and read the part on the "let's go" game. This is fantastic in getting the dog to start focusing. Once she is paying attention to you start carrying the ball while playing the game. Every so often wave the ball directly in front of her nose and say "fetch" or whatever command you prefer and throw the ball. Just use shorter distances at first and then as her prey drive for it builds go farther distances.

 

This has to be fun so don't get frustrated if she has trouble at first. If she shows any inclination to chase it PRAISE her. If she doesn't, lead her to it on a loose line and in a happy voice repeat "fetch it" and give the ball a little kick. Unless you are having to lead her just leave the rope/leash dragging (careful not to step on it or get it wrapped around your ankles). It won't interfere with her running to catch the ball.

 

I think that once she has the idea that she needs to focus on you she will have no problem understanding that fetch is a fun game outside to.

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Retrieval can be taught in a structured way like other obedience work. Talk with your instructor about whether your dog is ready to start dumbell work. If so, get a dumbell (not too big - one finger width each side of her mouth on the dumbell should be ok). Sit her in front of you, say 'take' as you open her mouth with your fingers, place the dumbbell in and say 'hold, good hold' while gently holding her mouth closed around it. Then say 'give' as you let go and take the dumbell out of her mouth. Never praise the give as she will then want to give rather than hold. Don't push it, do a few times at a time then give it a rest. Always make it a positive experience. Don't expect it to happen immediately, but once she takes, progress to taking from the ground, then to staying while you throw it and fetching (in stages with distance). Your dog must be at the stage where she comes when called to be able to do this. My dog didn't much like the dumbell at first, but now she is at the stage where she will happily fetch almost anything. I use the dumbell for work only, and balls to be chased for fun. She loves it all. Hope this is of some help. Good luck. Training just takes a lot of patience I think. I try hard to keep positive and keeep a sense of humour about it all. You just get over one hurdle then hit another!

 

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Sharon

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