Having a real hard time with fetching
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Thread: Having a real hard time with fetching

  1. #1
    Senior Member becksterorange's Avatar
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    Having a real hard time with fetching

    My dog loves to fetch. Well, he loves to run after what I throw but he won't bring it back. I tried the 2 identical toy trick. He either A)runs to get the toy and when I hurry to the other toy he stops and chases me. Or B)he gets the toy I threw and lays down and chews it. Or C)he tags the toy and runs back. What am I doing wrong?

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    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Prey drive is the drive that causes a dog to run after a moving toy/ball, once it's stopped moving they either lose interest, guard it or play keep away, or "kill it".

    The pup needs to be taught to actually bring it back and give it up to you. The best way I have found to do this with puppies is to backchain it. What this means is FIRST you teach the pup to take the toy from your hand and then drop it (for a reward). Once you have that going on you place the toy on the ground and have him take it and drop it in your hand (still for a reward). Then you toss the ball a couple of inches and repeat the process until he understands "I go get it, bring it back, get a reward and then I get to chase it!"..at this point, if he truly enjoys the process of the chase he will take the throw itself as it's own reward.

    So basically, backchaining is building the sequence (go get it, pick it up, bring it back, drop it) BACKWARDS.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


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    Senior Member becksterorange's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    This is why I love this forum. I think that all the searching on the web would not have given me this tip, Cracker. I will try it tonight. Right now Hoss is out on the porch protecting us from the big bad deer in the yard. The deer are ignoring him though. LOL.

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    Senior Member JuneBud's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Thanks Cracker. I've been trying to teach Kodi fetch and catch and he does the same things as the OP's dog. I did start getting across to him last night that he should drop the ball so he could catch it again, but have yet to get him to actually give it to me. I'll try your suggestions too.

    He does this little "game" of coming up to me with the ball like he's going to let go, but when I put my hand out he turns is head one way or the other or he'll back up - like he is teasing - doesn't really want to let go. Then he will let go but drop it on the floor or ground.
    Last edited by JuneBud; 12-08-2010 at 05:07 AM.

    Kodi - 17 months

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    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    He is "teasing" you ... He wants you to chase him. Suggestions:
    1. Have a small treat ready to trade. After he finishes the treat and is intent on you, toss the ball. He may get it and bring it back. Treat and praise for 10 min. or until he gets bored - but stop with him wanting more, if possible.
    2. In the afternoon or the next morning, repeat, but up the requirement a little. For example, If he holds the ball and doesn't release easily, wait until he drops it... the next day, if he drops the ball, no treat unless he gets it and puts it in your hand. and so on. Phase of the treats within 5 days or less.
    3. With my 3 yo dog (He is 10 yo, now), I had one ball to fetch and one to chase. If he picked up the chase ball, I would chase him for a minute, then pick up the fetch ball and ask for Fetch for a minute... then go back to the Chase ball. Sometimes he brings me the Fetch ball for chasing, but I turn my back on him... and he comes around and gives me the ball... I'll then quickly reward him by picking up the Chase ball, then chasing him. BTW, he has never picked up the Chase ball for a game of Fetch :-)

  8. #6
    Senior Member JuneBud's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Did start to treat him last night. That's how I got him to even drop the ball. I'm going to keep working on it using the above suggestions. He's a smart boy and he'll get it, as long as I teach him correctly. He's got strong prey drive. He wants to chase anything that moves, even birds in the sky. He's even considered going after low-flying airplanes. I bet he'd learn herding fast too. He seems to have that drive also. Lots of Eskies do. They were once used as all-around farm dogs (when they were called Spitz).
    Last edited by JuneBud; 12-08-2010 at 08:03 AM.

    Kodi - 17 months

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    Senior Member lisaj1354's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Pepper has fetch at about 90%. Many times, he'll bring the toy within 5 ft of me, and then drop it.

    I tried treating him for dropping it in my hand, but the second he knows I have a treat in my hand, he won't move. I could throw every toy he has, but he'll sit there staring at me waiting for his treat!

  10. #8
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Maybe the reward could be praise, more attention and excitement, rather than food ?

  11. #9
    Senior Member PiperPuppy's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Quote Originally Posted by Cracker View Post
    Once you have that going on you place the toy on the ground and have him take it and drop it in your hand (still for a reward).
    This is where I get stuck. How do I make her take it off the ground? I put the ball down and she stares at it. Then does her pretty little sit. Then looks absolutely confussed. I will point to the ball and say "get it" but she just licks the ball. I put my hand out for the ball, and she licks my hand.
    Last edited by PiperPuppy; 12-08-2010 at 01:43 PM.

    One super cute Boston Terrier named Piper! We won't be breeding her or showing her. We will just be loving her.

  12. #10
    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    If she gets stuck there it's likely you haven't done enough repetitions from your hand...she needs to have enough of a reward history built up for giving you the ball for it to spur her to pick it up and give it to you. Then you have to learn to be patient and wait for her to figure it out. LOL. She likely IS confused..but if you work with her enough and keep it positive (always positive for puppies!) and encourage her to offer new behaviours she will LEARN to learn and learn to try different things to get a response from you...
    This is why clicker training is so good for puppies and dogs, in the beginning it's hard because they don't know you are waiting for THEM to do something and so they are waiting for YOU to do something..but after they start to learn that something they do is what earns the click/treat they become much more adept at offering something original.

    Quote Originally Posted by lisaj1354 View Post
    Pepper has fetch at about 90%. Many times, he'll bring the toy within 5 ft of me, and then drop it.

    I tried treating him for dropping it in my hand, but the second he knows I have a treat in my hand, he won't move. I could throw every toy he has, but he'll sit there staring at me waiting for his treat!
    This means you need to get the food OFF your body and out of your hands. Keep it in a bowl or something next to where you are working on the behaviour..food comes out AFTER he's performed the behaviour. This is called "fading the lure"..there's a good sticky on it in the training section.
    Last edited by Cracker; 12-08-2010 at 04:28 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


  13. #11
    Senior Member PiperPuppy's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Quote Originally Posted by Cracker View Post
    If she gets stuck there it's likely you haven't done enough repetitions from your hand...she needs to have enough of a reward history built up for giving you the ball for it to spur her to pick it up and give it to you. Then you have to learn to be patient and wait for her to figure it out. LOL. She likely IS confused..but if you work with her enough and keep it positive (always positive for puppies!) and encourage her to offer new behaviours she will LEARN to learn and learn to try different things to get a response from you...
    This is why clicker training is so good for puppies and dogs, in the beginning it's hard because they don't know you are waiting for THEM to do something and so they are waiting for YOU to do something..but after they start to learn that something they do is what earns the click/treat they become much more adept at offering something original.
    That is definitely what she is doing... waiting for ME to do something. Ok, let the work continue!

    I need to learn more about the clicker training. I have never used a clicker. One of the reasons is I am afraid I will not have it on my person when I need it!

    One super cute Boston Terrier named Piper! We won't be breeding her or showing her. We will just be loving her.

  14. #12
    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    Clicker training is just for teaching and shaping new behaviours..so you don't have to have it on you at all times...lol. Once a behaviour is on cue (you add the cue AFTER the behaviour is learned) you only use the cue and reward when the behaviour occurs.

    Check out the vids by Kikopup on youtube for a good primer if you are interested.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


  15. #13
    Senior Member hanksimon's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    For keeping the food off your body.. don't have just one bowl :-) Set up a lot of random areas throughout the house where you can place food out of sight... and reach over when needed, rather than being obvious with food in hand.

    However, place the food in bowls and such, so you don't do like the squirrel who buries lots of acorn, but forgets a few which start to grow ....

  16. #14
    Senior Member becksterorange's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    I think Hoss has got it. He will fetch now and bring it back. I just can't throw anything too far or he loses it. Maybe when he gets older. Thanks Cracker.

  17. #15
    Senior Member PiperPuppy's Avatar
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    Re: Having a real hard time with fetching

    We are still working on it! Piper will bite the ball now (huge improvement) and drop it, but she won't put it in my hand. BUT, she is very consistent with her sit and recall commands, so there is hope.

    One super cute Boston Terrier named Piper! We won't be breeding her or showing her. We will just be loving her.

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