teaching fetch

(38 Posts)
KittyBeans72 Sat 13-Aug-16 14:20:51

anyone got any ideas for how to do this? my pooch will chase, chew and wander around with the ball but not brig it back. he did it beautifully off his own bat for a while, and we rewarded him and praised him and made a fuss of him, but then he stopped.

I've tried having two balls; using a tug ball instead of a tennis ball; hiding a treat inside the ball so he has to bring it back to me to get it (he just got it out)....

anything else I can do?

Shriek Sat 13-Aug-16 23:24:20

You have to start small. Be close andexchange anything in mouth for a treat . You can also teach 'hold' and give rewards for them holding something. It does depend also on your own ddogs innate propensity to retrieve as to how im/possible this might be.

Shriek Sat 13-Aug-16 23:28:24

Also some dogs will simplu get bores of it. I have seen dogs in parks 'walked' this way where the owner just stands and repeatedly hurla a ball for like 20 mins solid and goes home again. Dont how the ddog doesnt a) get bored of that and b) get cruciate issues

CalmItKermitt Wed 17-Aug-16 13:42:30

What Shriek said.
I prefer more interactive games like tug personally.

A dog who doesn't naturally get a kick out of retrieve might enjoy it a bit but soon get bored.

My 7 year old rescue dog had zero interest in chase/retrieve when I got her. I taught her to fetch a ball as a formal exercise using a clicker and she did learn to enjoy it for its own sake after not too long; she quite liked it because she'd been conditioned to like it but it was never her favourite thing.

KittyBeans72 Wed 17-Aug-16 15:08:07

he LOVES chasing the ball but he also loves chasing wildlife so I want to get him into fetch so he has an outlet for that instinct. him bringing the ball back to me, me rewarding him, and then throwing the ball for him again is more interactive than him just shooting off after squirrels and rabbits every two minutes. I'm not proposing it as a substitute for a walk or some other lazy dog owner business, I am trying to get him to do it so we have a game to play together. he's not interested in tug and anyway I don't fancy playing tug with a 40 kilo dog.

TrionicLettuce Wed 17-Aug-16 15:44:44

You might have more success with using a flirt pole rather than playing fetch. It's a much closer simulation of actually chasing prey so it's a great outlet and it's also brilliant for teaching impulse control.

CalmItKermitt Wed 17-Aug-16 16:58:22

Do you clicker train at all?

I think Pippa Mattinson has some good tutorials on teaching dogs to bring items to hand.

KittyBeans72 Wed 17-Aug-16 17:06:02

ooooh the flirt pole looks good! I do that with the cats - he might like that, thank you TrionicLettuce. and I'll look at Pippa Mattinson, thank youCalmitKermit.

villainousbroodmare Wed 17-Aug-16 21:10:40

Most dogs are much more likely to follow you if you run away, acting excited. Or hide and pop out.
Also, intermittent reward is a stronger reinforcer of behaviour than constant reward. And your reward must be something really good - a fabulous snack or the ball instantly handed back to maul, or something, but immediately.

Shriek Wed 17-Aug-16 21:16:33

i would just add be careful about hardening a dogs mouth by playing tug with them... especially the retriever group.

Floralnomad Wed 17-Aug-16 21:33:50

My dog will bring balls back to me if I kick the ball but if I throw it he will only bring it half way back and then drop it - bizarre and of no help but perhaps try kicking the ball and see if yours is wired the same as mine ( he also likes chasing wildlife) .

CalmItKermitt Wed 17-Aug-16 23:18:15

"Hardening of the mouth by playing tug"??

KittyBeans72 Thu 18-Aug-16 09:58:13

i've kicked it, used a chucker, used my arm, same result every time. we're also hampered by the fact that he has a very sensitive stomach so the type, volume and frequency of treats we can give him is very limited.

CalmItKermitt Thu 18-Aug-16 11:19:29

Is he on kibble and does he like it?

villainousbroodmare Thu 18-Aug-16 14:57:16

Sounds like it just doesn't blow his ears back. Retrieving an item and handing it over is not a natural behaviour for lots of dogs.

KittyBeans72 Thu 18-Aug-16 18:50:00

he is on kibble and tinned food. I've bought a flirt pole thing so hopefully that will be his game of choice! thanks all.

Shriek Thu 18-Aug-16 20:58:19

soft/hard mouth....

some breeds have incredibly 'soft' mouths that cause no damage by holding something in their mouth, like an egg for instance (these would be retriever types and playing tug hardens that grip)
other breeds are bred for strong grip like bulldogs/staffies, etc.

Shriek Thu 18-Aug-16 20:59:19

the same hard mouth breeds tend to be more into ripping stuff apart than handing it back... so training some is harder than others and some may never like it

CalmItKermitt Thu 18-Aug-16 21:40:19

Yes but unless the OP works her dog on game then playing tug won't hurt at all.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Thu 18-Aug-16 21:46:13

some dogs just don't like fetch!

one of ours used to love to chase a ball, would run and find it, pick it up and then drop it and come back without it.

TondelayaDellaVentamiglia Thu 18-Aug-16 21:46:32

some dogs just don't like fetch!

one of ours used to love to chase a ball, would run and find it, pick it up and then drop it and come back without it.

winwhizzer Thu 18-Aug-16 22:14:46

Don;t worry you will never ever teach a dog to have a hard mouth by playing tug.

I would definitely work on a chase game with you, so if your dog loves chasing furries then have you own furry tug and run away, squealing the word you want to for a game of tug, when your dog gets to you have a fantastic tug game.

a good place for fantastic tugs here

sparechange Thu 18-Aug-16 22:20:34

I wouldn't worry about giving a dog a hard mouth unless you are using it as a gundog. The worst that will happen is it gets through tennis balls a bit quicker by chewing on them.

(Sheik, I trained my old rescue Staffie to retrieve a raw egg, to prove a point about hard and soft mouths..! She was as gentle and soft as my working lab)

Some breeds just won't be as hard wired to fetch. My labs have done it instinctively from weeks old, bringing me leaves or bits of newspaper from the whelping box.
Terriers have been trained to do it but just don't get excited about it the same way retrievers do

KittyBeans72 Fri 19-Aug-16 11:15:17

my pooch is half lab half alsatian so you'd hope there'd be some instinct to fetch in there!

villainousbroodmare Fri 19-Aug-16 19:29:00

My setter will only show enthusiasm for fetching useful items. My boots. His hi-vis vest. A deliberately dropped scarf or infant sock while out walking. Once he found my keys in a field (but I reckon it was a fluke).

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