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Why wont she retrieve...is she just lazy?

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Does anybody have any advice on how to get our border collie to return the ball! She is a year and a half, and we have tried everything to get her to retrieve. She's very good at going to the ball, but she'll just carry it a few feet and then drop it. At first I thought that it was the cow dog in her. Her parents are great hearders. I figured that maybe she was "showing" us where the ball was. As if she was showing us where the calf had strayed from the heard. I recently read; however, that border collies have a natural tendancy to retrieve...any suggestions as to how to get her to stop showing us where the ball is and bring it back to us.

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There are 7 different BC or BC mix dogs that regularly play with my BC, Allie, at the local dog park. Of the 7, only 2 are very intense ball/frisbee pups. 3 of the dogs will play fetch for a while, but lose interest and 2 do NOT play fetch at all. Moral of the story -- it depends on the dog.


It also may be that she just doesn't understand what you want her to do with it. :confused: Allie wasn't all that thrilled about playing fetch when we first got her, but we would throw the ball, she would chase it and then we would cheer and praise her for picking it up. The bringing-it-to-us part took longer. She would pick the ball up and then bring it to a certain point and then drop it, no major how we cajoled and plead. (Treats for bringing it all the way to us and "drop it" eventually worked.) We also switched to a frisbee, which for some reason she enjoyed more and would work harder to play with. She now is an absolute ball and frisbee "fiend".


So, be careful what you wish for . . . :rolleyes:

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I suggest starting over by throwing the ball maybe a couple of feet away from you. When your girl brings the ball to you lots of praise and treats. Gradually increase the distance you throw until you see the light go on..and you will. I agree with Deb that it sound like she just doesn't know what you want her to do with the ball once she has it. I would also give the command "Bring it" or whatever you want to use so she connects the job to the command

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Here's what I'm working on just now,

Meg was a born retriever, but she was wacky when it came to delivering the ball precisely where I wanted it. It has taken six months to finally get her to drop the ball where we want it generally.


Lots of praise if she EVER does it right and

getting up and going away when she stops doing it right are the basics.


I've worked her continuously at different distances and then mixed them up. If I want her close I say 'wait' before she starts her drive out to the anticipated target area.


I use the command 'give' and the signal for touch to get her to return it to my hand but she will only do this if I am crouched. I work this skill along with 'Take it' at about a foot away before dinner every night.


When I stand I say "Bring it here" and she drops it near my feet. If she doesn't I say "No", and she tosses it to me with a little flick. Sometimes she calculates the velocity she's going and gambles on a running roll so that she can peal out before she gets to me, and sometimes she doesn't and has to stop herself paws up to my chest. 'Thunk'.


Training her to return the chuck it ball closer than 6' away was a challenge until I realized that the straw broom technique might work. Meg is so fixated on sweeping that I use it to recall her when she's being stubborn. So I started scraping the ground where I wanted the ball with the chuck it and lo and behold. High velocity dog returns ball exactly on the mark softly.


The point of all this is to work close, be as consistent as you can, use praise and correction. It can be very frustrating.....

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