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Discussion Starter #1
I've read sososoo many threads on getting my puppy to play fetch with me, but she's completely 0% interested in the game. Okay... I'm selling her short. She's about 10% interested in the game.

The only way I can get her to even go after the ball is if I either chase her, or race her to the ball. But even then she just jumps on the ball or Frisbee and throws it for herself a couple times and then walks away to eat leaves.

If she knows I have treats she won't play. She just focuses on me and will not for a second even look away if I throw her toy. She will literally completely ignore the toy even if it hits her right in the face (soft plush toy) just because she is so focused on me because she knows I have treats.
I've tried sitting in a hallway where she can't really go anywhere but after the toy, had a rope on the toy and still nothing. If she thinks she will get a treat she will sit there and wait very, very patiently hoping I give her a treat and ignore the toy teasing her.

So obviously she's very treat motivated. Which works really well with any sort of obedience like sit, lie down, trick teaching, focus, wait. But not very effective for fetch.

She just has absolutely no drive. I try to get her hyped up by playing tag which she kind of likes, and then I throw it while I'm chasing her to see if she will run over, and sometimes she does and she puts it in her mouth and plops down to catch her breath and roll all over the toy. If I tell her to come she will, but she'll leave the toy. If I have the toy on a rope and pull it back she will release it and let me reel it in. If she's out there with the toy and she sees I have a treat she will drop everything she is doing and come over for the treat. If I run the other direction to see if she will chase me while she has the toy, she will drop the toy to come after me.

It's been like a month and some working on her to just go get the toy.
It's just so bizarre and weird to me, but it's such an effective way to exercise a dog and I know she'd like it if she could get the hang of it. She soooo wants to play with our very ball-drivey Chocolate lab at the farm, but is just so oblivious to what she's doing. And I'm am definitely not the cheerleader type, so this is definitely a hard thing for me to get her to do.
 

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i read somewhere "when your dog isn't doing what you want you have to stop and ask yourself what am i doing wrong".
4 months maybe a little young to retrieve. maybe you need a trainer.
 

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Have you tried teaching fetch as a trick? Start small as you would with any trick. So sit on floor in a small room where there is nowhere for your dog to go, put the toy on the floor right in front of you, then reward for looking at it, touching it, etc, until she's picking it up. Then you can slowly increase the distance between yourself and the ball.

It will help a lot if you're familiar with clicker training and shaping behaviours. I would also teach her impulse control, like "it's yer choice", which you can find on youtube.
 

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If she is treat motivated have you tried putting a treat inside the ball? That should at least get her going after it and you can add the retrieve after she learns how rewarding balls can be.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Good advice everyone!

I tried the sitting down and clicker training/shaping the behaviour last night. It didn't really work at all. She wouldn't look at the toy, or touch the toy or anything. She knows the word "get it" when I throw it means at least to go over and touch it. So I tried setting it down in front of her and saying, "Get it" nothing, tried holding it up to her and saying "get it" and she avoided it and looked away, and tried luring her nose down to it with the treat and any time it got close to the toy she would back up and look away. It's just weird. That same toy (it's kind of a Frisbee soft canvas disk) I roll down the driveway for her and she very enthusiastically stalks it down like max 4 times, but that's it. She'll pounce and then walk away to go eat some gravel or something silly.

I have not tried using her kong ball, or cutting a hole in one of her tennis balls and putting treats in it. She does generally always fixate on the kong ball with treats so that could be a good way to get her to at least touch the toy with the word "get it" and clicker support.

I got frustrated teaching her fetch last night and so did she because she started whining and getting all fidgety because we both couldn't figure out how to communicate what we wanted to each other. So I decided to try and teach her the trick "bow" she learned it after like 2 minutes of clicking and treating. I do not understand why fetch is so difficult haha

And I think she would like fetch. There's the rare occasion that she randomly does it right on her own and I jackpot her with treats and we have a celebration and she's SO HAPPY tossing the toy in the air, jumping, rolling in the grass, snorting, just so pleased with herself.

Also today makes her 5 months old! :)
 

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Have you been working on doggy zen? Maybe she thinks she's supposed to ignore it and move away?

Have you tried shaping her to touch a random object?

Here's a good article on building toy drive: https://www.clickerdogs.com/createamotivatingtoy.htm

Doe she like to tug? If you can get her excited about interacting with you through tug you may be able to get her to bring the toy back so you can tug some more.
 

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Katie will chase anything that moves, but instead of bringing a ball back to me, she does victory laps around the yard. We've been using the technique in Donna Hill's "retrieve to hand" video and have had some success. We need to move our routine outside if the yard every dries out.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
We were working on "leave its"
But we just use a treat or piece of food for that one, never a toy. But she does do the same reaction when I say "get it" when she's in training mode as leave it.

She doesn't really do anything... like tugging she will put pretend effort into it, but will let go very easily very gentle when you initiate. Unless she begins the game of tug with herself and you join in she will not even play with you at all.

She would probably pretty easily get in on the game in that article. She gets in on any game I try and play with myself, sometimes when she's not focusing on the toy at all outside I'll play Frisbee and chase with it by myself and then soon (probably like 3 minutes of her watching me play) she will chase me back and forth while I play Frisbee and begin to race me to the toy. But does nothing when she gets there she just knows that beating me to the toy is the game.

As for shaping with a random object. I tried the toy last night and then many other random objects when she didn't want to touch any of the toys. I don't want to teach her to touch a cup, she already has nosed over a couple cups on the end tables. ^.^
The only thing I can think of that she might touch are my slippers, but again... I don't really want her touching that haha
 

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We were working on "leave its"
But we just use a treat or piece of food for that one, never a toy. But she does do the same reaction when I say "get it" when she's in training mode as leave it.
It sounds like she's confused and thinks she should "leave it". This is pretty common when they first get the "leave it" game but she will figure it out with time and more training. I would start shaping with random objects, like a box, and just teach her to interact with things. Keeps your expectations low and click for any movement of her head or body towards the object at first.

She doesn't really do anything... like tugging she will put pretend effort into it, but will let go very easily very gentle when you initiate. Unless she begins the game of tug with herself and you join in she will not even play with you at all.

She would probably pretty easily get in on the game in that article. She gets in on any game I try and play with myself, sometimes when she's not focusing on the toy at all outside I'll play Frisbee and chase with it by myself and then soon (probably like 3 minutes of her watching me play) she will chase me back and forth while I play Frisbee and begin to race me to the toy. But does nothing when she gets there she just knows that beating me to the toy is the game.
Keep building her drive for the toy and try going step by step as Susan Garrett recommends. I would also look into other toys, especially those with natural fur and ones that you can stuff with treats (Clean Run has a good selection of these toys). Tugging is also a mechanical skill on your part, and dogs who never tug with their owners will often tug with a professional who really knows how to do it. I would look into videos on how to tug - Michael Ellis comes to mind. I would start with a soft toy on a string and drag it around erratically and get her interested in it, then put it away when she's still engaged (don't worry about tugging just yet).

As for shaping with a random object. I tried the toy last night and then many other random objects when she didn't want to touch any of the toys. I don't want to teach her to touch a cup, she already has nosed over a couple cups on the end tables. ^.^
The only thing I can think of that she might touch are my slippers, but again... I don't really want her touching that haha
Try a box. Something that you can bring out just for the shaping game that you aren't going to be telling her to "leave it" in real life.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The main problem I'm having with shaping her to look at the object is that she will not do anything but maintain eye contact with me when she knows there's treats around.
We sat there for like 3 minutes of eye contact the other day. How do I make her look at it? Tapping the box, or using a squeaky toy has not worked in the past. She will just stare at me like she's waiting oh-so-patiently for her treat, but that's not the point.
I thought of maybe spreading a little bit of peanut, butter on the toy or something?
 

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The main problem I'm having with shaping her to look at the object is that she will not do anything but maintain eye contact with me when she knows there's treats around.
We sat there for like 3 minutes of eye contact the other day. How do I make her look at it? Tapping the box, or using a squeaky toy has not worked in the past. She will just stare at me like she's waiting oh-so-patiently for her treat, but that's not the point.
I thought of maybe spreading a little bit of peanut, butter on the toy or something?
I would start with a small object that you can hold like a book or toy. Put it behind your back and then whip it out where she can see. Most dogs can't resist looking at something that has just appeared in view, so be quick and click any eye movement or head flick towards the object. Put it behind your back again and repeat.
 

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I have the exact opposite problem. We can't have toys in the house because saying Colby is obsessed with toys is the understatement of the century. At times I wish I could turn off that drive.

Anyway, where are you looking when asking her to engage with the toy? Make sure you're not staring at her, but looking at the toy (or where you want her to look). That may help.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah I usually am looking and exaggerating my look at the object like if it's sitting on the ground in front of her I'll turn my head down and look and point/tap on the object and she just stares at me and doesn't move her head.

But I will definitely try making the object move, that could make her touch it! I also thought maybe trying to use an empty pop bottle or something. It already has a scent, it makes a sound when she bites it, and she likes chewing on them when she steals one. But yeah we'll try some of the suggestions tonight and I'll let you all know how it worked tomorrow.
 

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I'm not sure if this is useful or not, but you could try playing monkey in the middle with her and another person (her being the monkey). She may engage in the ball more if you are throwing it back and forth over her. My dog has a lot of drive so I'm not sure how this would work with yours, but she goes crazy running from person to person trying to get the ball. It may just help her get interested in it.
 
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