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Hello!
I've done some training with my 1 year old Catahoula Leopard Dog named PJ. We've taught him "Off" (stop and lay down) "Here" "Sit" "Find it" (hunt for his toy) "wait" and "full run" (his release command to go run around and do whatever he wants).

I had been training him by saying "Wait" as I throw the ball and then Find it once the ball is settled for him to go get it. He was always very happy and excited for the hunt. I also play normal fetch with him all the time. I added "Off" to the mix while he was running after it and then "Find it" and he would pop back up and hunt it.

Recently (within the last 2 weeks). When I yell Off, he lowers his head and slowly walks up to me before laying down. Then when I say find it he just lays there and looks at me. If I make a dramatic movement like I'm going to run after the ball and say find it he gets excited and goes and gets it.

I am stumped on what happened to him and would love and recommendations or advice.

Thanks in advance!!
 

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It's entire possible that he finds Off to be highly aversive when playing fetch, which completely demotivates and/or confuses him. I'd not use it while playing fetch unless there is a safety issue whre an emergency stop is needed.
 

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Get rid of the "off" cue. Completely. Fetch (and all training) is supposed to be fun. Even when I train it for a competition and break it down into little pieces through back chaining each part has to be fun. The most fun part is the prey part when they go out and get the object. Bringing it back and having to let go? Not so much. You can make coming back more fun by having two balls. You toss one in one direction and as the dog is coming back you toss the other one so he passes by and drops the ball he is carrying to get the second ball. It takes awhile for some dogs to get it (dropping ball #1) and you have to run around for a bit getting the other ball so you can keep the game going buty pretty soon they can learn that when you say "out" they drop the ball they have to go get the second ball when you immediately throw when the let go of the ball they have.

We teach our dogs a "send away." Dog runs away from you on a command and then drops when you tell him Platz (or down). We NEVER ask the dog to down in the send away on the field. We tech the down, in drive, OFF the field. The only time we ask for a down with the send away on the field is in a trial. If we train the down on the field and put it together their in training eventually we have a dog that will not leave and run down the field because the dog anticipates the down command.

I suspect that same anticipation, ruining the fun (for the dog) is why your dog is not doing "off" and does not want to fetch.
 
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