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teaching "Give" when playing fetch

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I am fostering a border collie mix, and she loves to play ball. She runs to get it, and brings it right to me. I am just a little confused as to the steps once she gets to me! She tends to drop it and it rolls away. I want her to put it in my hand, and to sit. I have been saying "Give" with my hand out, then telling her to sit, and THEN treating her. But, in this sequence, she doesn't want to give it up so easily. I am not pulling it out of her mouth, but she will give it up when I hold a treat near her mouth.


Am I missing some steps here? I have had her for about 2 weeks now, and her previous people did play fetch with her too, so she is familiar with the game. I think she is ready to just give it to me.




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Hi Kali -


My husband and I taught our dog how to put the ball in our hand, simply because with how often we throw that ball for him, he should make it as easy on us as possible! LOL


He would bring it to us, drop it, and then he would go out about ten yards and wait for us to throw it. We would hold our hand out very low to the ground and tell him "bring it here" and point to the middle of our palm. He would go over and pick it up and drop it. We would repeat, "bring it here" pointing to our hand - until he did it. We made a huge stink about it. It took a few times and he got the idea pretty quickly. Then we were able to start raising our hand higher and higher off the ground, and he will now put it in our hand even if we are standing up.


Careful, though. This could backfire on you. I was snoozing on the couch the other day, and I guess my hand was hanging off the coach. I woke up with a wet, soggy ball in my hand and a dog staring at me.


Hope this helps.



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OK, I've got one for you. My dog will bring the ball to me, but will not drop it (most of the time). She wants me to try to get it from her, and seems to enjoy playing keep away instead. If we play with two balls it is better, as she'll bring one back and drop it when she sees the other one in my hand, but I've not been able to figure out how to do it reliably with one ball. Not a problem for me, but it's weird when she brings a stranger a ball and then refuses to hand it over!


P.S. I've tried getting her to drop it for a treat. That doesn't work because as soon as she sees I have food, she has no interest in the ball. She just sits and waits for the treat.

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Keegan and I learned something very early on that has helped us in a few areas.


We started by clicker training an "off" command. We would hold a piece of food in front of his snout (obviously when he was very hungry as he is NOT food motivated). We would say off and click as soon as his snout left the piece of food then he would get the piece of food. He would get a click in the beginning even if he only backed away for a split second.


Since he is very smart, it only took about a day for him to realize not to even go for the food in our hand if he wanted it...and he learned the "off" command.


The command has come in handy because I use a tug reward in agility. If he does what I want then we play tug with his tug toy that only comes out during agility training. When I am done tugging and ready to move on...I tell him off and he drops the tug toy and moves on.


I don't know if something like this would help you but it is worth a try.

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