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Discussion Starter #1
I'm having a difficult time with this and Tucker. I really want to teach him to fetch and retrieve so I can work out some of his pent up energy, but if he fetches as all, he rarely will give. What he'll do instead is bring the toy back, lean on my legs, wrap his front paw around my legs and play with his toy. If I can capture and mark his dropping the toy, the sound of the clicker makes him pick it back up again. Sometimes he'll drop the toy, I'll capture it, I'll give him a treat, and as I'm reaching down to get the toy, he'll grab it first and want to play tug. I'm fairly tall, and his snout is a lot closer to the ground than my hand.

I'd love some advice!
 

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I got my dog to give up the toy by holding a piece of food under his nose. Obviously he would want the food more so he dropped the toy to get the food. When he did he got clicked and got the treat.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I've tried holding the food below his nose, and he will drop the toy (C/R), but as I said, he'll just grab it again. Maybe that's okay? So, in essence, he gets the reward and the toy, and I get nothing. ;)
 

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My advice would be to get down to his level. If he's leaning on your legs to play with the toy, he's close enough to teach drop-it. I prefer to use a tug toy to do this, something long enough that you can grab easily. The trick is to immobilize the toy against your body. Dogs want to play with toys that can be made alive, not dead inanimate objects. He'll eventually give up on the dead inanimate object (drop), and you should capture this with a food reward. Give this behavior (drop) a name once he starts offering it regularly. Resume the game.

Eventually he'll learn that you + toy = game. He'll start bringing the toy to you for play, even if you throw it (the retrieve).

One day I was trying to figure out why Elsa would drop the toy 10 feet from me. She wanted me to chase her and she gave herself a 10' advantage. I'm not always interested in that so one day I motioned my hand out for the toy. This smart dog walked up and gave me the toy. I had accepted the short drop for a long time, and had I been smarter I probably could have saved myself many a bend-over.

You may need to approximate this starting at his level until you're eventually standing up. You start this training once your dog knows drop. You'll simply put your hand under his mouth when cuing drop and incrementally raise your hand until your dog learns to reach for your hand. Keeping in mind that the game can't resume unless he does.
 

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Tucker needs to focus on you as soon as he drops or gives up the object.

If you have been neglecting focus exercises, now is a good time to start them.

At first, focus can be on a verbal cue (such as "watch me" or "eyes on") or a hand signal (such as two fingers pointing at the dog and then at your eyes). This tends to produce a focus with eye contact, which is good for some activities. You will want to work on eventually getting to eye-contact-focusing without the cue or signal, but that comes later.

Some trainers use an all-fingers-wiggle for a focus because they specifically don't want the dog focusing by making eye contact all the time. Some trainers use a whistle because they will be using it for other work.

You do what you have to. The important thing is getting the dog to focus on you immediately upon giving or dropping the object.
 

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Another thing you can try: get a 2nd toy. When he brings his back show him your's...wave it, shake it, make it the 'better' toy to have. When he drops the one he had, toss yours. As he's fetching, pick up the 1st toy and repeat....you've always got the 'better' one. He will quickly learn that if he drops it, he always gets it back.
Once he starts dropping it on his own, then you can put a command to it.
 

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Another thing you can try: get a 2nd toy. When he brings his back show him your's...wave it, shake it, make it the 'better' toy to have. When he drops the one he had, toss yours. As he's fetching, pick up the 1st toy and repeat....you've always got the 'better' one. He will quickly learn that if he drops it, he always gets it back.
Once he starts dropping it on his own, then you can put a command to it.
I found that this method worked with my German Shepherd. Just make sure you are using two of the same toys. If you try and use a ball and a frisbee, your dog will probably decide that he likes the toy he has better at the moment.

Also, when he does drop it, tell him "good drop" or whatever command you want to use, and shove a lil tiny treat in his mouth. If you can, I know holding 2 toys, treats and playing with a dog all at once can get complicated!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Tucker needs to focus on you as soon as he drops or gives up the object.
Tucker offers eye contact really well. I haven't attached a verbal command/hand signal to it, though. Perhaps I should. It may speed up the process. Thanks for pointing out the focus step.
 
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