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I'm trying to train my dog to fetch and I've read various posts and sites that suggested giving treats when they nose at a toy and then pick it up. Eventually having them pick it up and bring it to you. I've been trying this to no avail and my dog is not interested in any toys or balls. He will watch them if I kick or throw them but that's the end of his interest. He won't follow them or even look at them if they aren't moving. Any suggestions?
 

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I used to volunteer at a shelter and train dogs learning on my own. There were these to pitbull mixed dogs that I wanted to teach fetch with them with a frisbee. Each of the dogs needed different training exercises to get them to 1. understand what to do and 2. enjoy playing the game

The first dog took it right away actually. I got down low on the ground called the dogs name to make sure they're paying attention to me and to let them know I wanted to play and then I took the frisbee and moved it from side to side making them follow it then I threw it and the dog went after it. After that the dog just stood next to the ball not knowing what to do. You have to go over to the dog, teach the dog to put it in its mouth by putting it in the mouth then dropping it and giving it to you. Then you start the process again and once they get the handle of it teach the dog to run back to you with the toy.

The second dog took a few minutes to get interested in the game. I did two different things first I made sure the dog was paying attention then I rolled the frisbee. Nothing happened. Second thing I tried was I called the dogs name making them pay attention then I stood up and started running backwards with the toy. They followed and ran after. Here I made the instinct to hunt come alive. Then I moved the item from left to right in the air and when the dog was following it thats when I threw it and the dog ran after it. Next I taught the dog to bring it back to me. It worked.

I trained both dogs to fetch in 20 minutes. I hope it works for you and what ever toy you choose to use for your dog. You can use the same principles as I used with a frisbee with any toy. Good luck to you. And have fun. Make sure the dog has fun and you have patience. Never give up. Oh and these dogs were teenagers.
 

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Start in a small room with few distractions, like a garage or a room with only one door to enter/exit.
Get them focused on the toy, for my dog I slid one of his favorite toys on the ground and tapped his feet, his face with it to get him driven up to try and take it from me and the second he got riled up enough I threw it. When he went to go get it he picked it up and I called him over to me and kept saying "right here" while tapping the ground. If he looked at me, or took steps towards me, I'd say good boy over and over and over again. It's all about being very excited and interesting.
Even if I had to get up and get the toy I'd start back at the beginning and little by little he'd start bringing it back closer to me or walking more to me or where I was tapping the ground.
After he started going to where I was tapping the ground I changed where I was tapping to right in front of me, and he started bringing it there. Little by little I phased out the tapping, and just was saying "right here". After he was more consistent with "right here" we moved to the backyard where it was more challenging and went back to tapping and saying right here. He caught on real quick and his reward was tons of praise and throwing the ball and I was able to phase out tapping in the same way.

He learned this a month ago and now he can fetch the ball in a huge open field. I'm planning on buying a chuck-it now for him.
He is a 3 year old German Shepherd.
 

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One thing that might work (I used this a little bit to help Dexter get into fetch, among other things) is a ball on a string. I flapped it around on the end of the string to get Dexter interested in "the ball shape". Eventually he looked at it and he was super interested despite the fact that it wasn't moving....because he knew it would eventually, and he would grab at it (rude, I worked on getting him to stop that later on, but at that stage, I counted it as a good thing!). That (along with the treats when he went for it) helped getting it as far as him actually going for the ball even when it wasn't moving in the yard......from there was the frustration of getting him to bring it to me. I'd say first get your pooch excited about the ball (or whatever else....a flirt pole is another great toy that I've found appeals to some degree to most dogs). Once your dog has interest, start trying for a fetch of maybe 2 feet away, and go up from there using treats or play (the great thing about the ball on a string is you can do a bit of tug if your dog is into that...).
 

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My dog has toys he likes, and he would fetch once then not give you the toy back. I taught him to fetch with a tennis ball. At first it was literally holding the tennis ball up to his mouth, and he had NO IDEA what I wanted. He kept trying to shake my hand (because I had my hand up to him). He's clicker trained so whenever he touched the tennis ball with his mouth (even if that meant I put it to his mouth), I'd click and treat. He picked up pretty quick that mouth on ball = treat, and then we built up from there. For a while at first he did continue to shake your hand before dropping the tennis ball into it, which was very funny, but now he's learned that all he has to do is get the ball and give it back and he gets a treat!
 

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The flirt pole is a good idea for starters. Then, move on to playing tug with a rope toy or braided snake so that your dog becomes accustomed to your hand (you) being part of the picture. It's all about confident interaction between you, your dog, and the toy.

When you reach that point you can begin to backchain the retrieving behavior. I believe kikopup or at least 'someone' has a good tutorial on youtube that will guide you through the remainder of steps.
 

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It can make a huge difference on how to approach this and how easy it is depending on how much interest the dog has in toys. Does he play at all?

My old papillon has never played once and actually hid from toys. I have had to clicker train any interaction with a toy from ground up. It is a long process for us but she will follow a tug for a while now and mouth it.
 

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The flirt pole is a good idea for starters. Then, move on to playing tug with a rope toy or braided snake so that your dog becomes accustomed to your hand (you) being part of the picture. It's all about confident interaction between you, your dog, and the toy.

When you reach that point you can begin to backchain the retrieving behavior. I believe kikopup or at least 'someone' has a good tutorial on youtube that will guide you through the remainder of steps.
I've used the techniques in this video: Clicker Training a Bird Dog Retrieve Part 1 Shaping and Chaining The Basic Retrieve
 
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