Puppy Forum and Dog Forums banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

We have a 7 and 1/2 month old Border Collie that is absolutely obsessed with fetch. She will fetch ANYTHING. When we're inside, she will bring my every one of her toys to throw. She will put toys in my lap to throw! However, when we're outside she will chase after a ball or her flying disc, but she only brings it back half way. She'll drop it and turn in an attempt to get a head start on the next throw. This is the BC in her anticipating my next move.

I've tried ignoring her until she brings it all the way back, but she doesn't seem to get it. She'll just pick it up where she's standing and drop it over and over again as if showing me exactly where her toy is. Also, I figure it's worth mentioning that using food is not really an option--she's way more toy-motivated than food-motivated, so when there is a ball or flying disc around I could literally hold out an entire chicken and she would look from me to the ball and back again like, "okay, are you going to throw it?"

Any tips on getting her to bring her toys all the way back when we're outside?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
I could be wrong, but she would be good as a disc dog just as she is. There are different contests for disc dogs, and I think one of them is the dog than can catch the most in the alloted time. So they just catch and drop each one and grab another one!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,977 Posts
See, this is why I want a Border Collie :p

I would love a dog to do some metagaming against me like this :D Wally doesn't metagame, it's more like trying to solve a rubic's cube...trying to make all the information line up in his head so he can follow it like a thread to the goal.

Have you tried giving a recall signal just as she's starting to come back with the toy? If the pattern became:

You throw
She retrieves
You give recall
She recalls

Then perhaps she'll anticipate that recall signal and then you have her coming back to you.

Also, if you run away from her as she's retrieving, will that cause her to chase after her? Maybe that will also get her to anticipate "okay, she's going to run away, so I better get back to her so she can't get away."

I could be wrong, but she would be good as a disc dog just as she is. There are different contests for disc dogs, and I think one of them is the dog than can catch the most in the alloted time. So they just catch and drop each one and grab another one!
Good point. This give me another idea.

Maybe throw some close to you so that she has to come in to you to get the disc? While it wouldn't help if you have just one disc (she might drop the disc and then come at you, leaving the disc you threw behind), it might be worth it to get the return established, since this is the real problem you're trying to solve.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
I've tried recalling her and she will just come half way, stop, drop the ball, lay down. It's almost like our work with "drop it" is backfiring! I've also tried the run away/chase thing and she just stands there. Like a statue. We've started Flyball training (we've been to 3 classes) and it's kind of funny--she will grab the ball, but then immediately tries to give it to whoever is closest (i.e. the person behind the box).

I think I need to just not throw the ball or Frisbee as far and see if that helps. That way, as soon as she turns around with the ball she's essentially giving it to me and then maybe I'll work with taking a step back, and another, until she brings it all the way back? Kind of like you said. Hopefully that will work...I'll keep you posted!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,018 Posts
See, this is why I want a Border Collie :p
Or just get a Mia. :p

Are you using multiple balls or is she just dropping it then you're going to pick up the same ball?

What I've been doing with Mia is I'll take two or more balls (sometimes 6 or 7) and just throw one to my left, then pretty much immediately as she picks up that ball, throw one to my right. I find she usually will drop the ball about at my feet on the sprint across, lol. Not sure if that would help but playing some really fast games seems to have made her drop it more consistently at my feet rather than halfway. She does the whole anticipate thing too and will even run out a long ways just based on a slight change in position of my body. It's incredible how she just knows where I'm planning on throwing it next.

That and I just ignore her if I can't reach it. It sounds funny but I just tell her that she's dropped the ball too far away and I can't get it, could you please go get your ball and bring it closer. Sometimes it ticks her off and she'll start crouching and bouncing and screaming for me to throw it again. But eventually she seems to be getting the idea of 'go get your ball and bring it hear'. Maybe try teaching her to go grab and pick up something and then the IMMEDIATE reward is throwing whatever the toy is. Mia picked up quite fast that bring it here and then run away really fast because it's about to be thrown again. It did take some patience on my part though because she has a tendency to be a little obnoxious when she's not getting her way. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,977 Posts
Hmm...

It could be the "drop it" or such. Sometimes, I think dogs can just get things in their heads with the way the think and it comes out with stuff like this.

Sometimes the wires get crossed (or tangled) and getting them straight can be like trying to untangle multiple strands of those icicle Christmas lights.

Hopefully, you'll find something that works. Please share if you do because I'm curious what the solution was for you two.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Thanks! Yeah, I'm going to try the throwing close and slowing backing up and if that doesn't work try with multiple balls. She is a typical BC though in that she needs everything to be very organized, so I'd be interested to see her with multiple balls. If I throw all her toys around the room she collects them into small groups (usually by size or color--seriously!) and then slowly merges them. On the other hand, when we play with other dogs, she just concentrates on her one ball and does this hilarious thing that we call "antsy pants" where she kind of shifts her weight quickly from one foot to the other as soon as she drops the ball... must get that on video.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,406 Posts
two toys. When she brings back the first one, show her the second. You only throw it when the first toy is dropped near you or given to you
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19,018 Posts
Drop it is something I don't even really use anymore. To Mia drop it is just drop it right there where she is. If I don't say drop it, she'll usually bring it back all the way. She's easy though in that she doesn't want to hold onto it, she wants it to be thrown again.

two toys. When she brings back the first one, show her the second. You only throw it when the first toy is dropped near you or given to you
Yes this is what I mean by multiple toys. I wouldn't start out with 6 or 7, but two. Throw one, once the other is back to you, throw the second. From there it's grown for us into what I call 'crazy fetch' which was how I exercised her in that apartment. Just one ball after another as fast as she could go.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,323 Posts
When we're inside, she will bring my every one of her toys to throw. She will put toys in my lap to throw! However, when we're outside she will chase after a ball or her flying disc, but she only brings it back half way.
What is your body position, outside vs inside. I'm wondering if it's one of those situations where she's learned to bring it to you *if* you're inside sitting in a chair or on the floor etc, but once you're outside standing tall and erect, that perhaps she views the game as different (kinda like when dogs learn to recall only if the handler is crouched over and slapping their knees). Also keep in mind that it's a bit more pressure on the dog to return if you're standing tall, so ... what if you try sitting in a chair or getting right down to the ground on her level (like in your sig picture) when you're doing an outside retrieve, just to see if she'll bring it right to hand ? And by the same turn, try standing while doing an inside retrieve. This may help her to generalize a behaviour that apparently, she already knows.


She'll drop it and turn in an attempt to get a head start on the next throw.
Then I'd be careful using two toys. Perhaps sticking with just one might be better.

Other suggestions ..

Break the behaviour down into smaller more workable segments, and concentrate on the weakest link in the chain.

Backchain it.

Strengthen 'the exchange' portion.

Play 'tug + retrieve' with a rope/ball or tail/ball type of toy.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
545 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
What is your body position, outside vs inside. I'm wondering if it's one of those situations where she's learned to bring it to you *if* you're inside sitting in a chair or on the floor etc, but once you're outside standing tall and erect, that perhaps she views the game as different (kinda like when dogs learn to recall only if the handler is crouched over and slapping their knees). Also keep in mind that it's a bit more pressure on the dog to return if you're standing tall, so ... what if you try sitting in a chair or getting right down to the ground on her level (like in your sig picture) when you're doing an outside retrieve, just to see if she'll bring it right to hand ? And by the same turn, try standing while doing an inside retrieve. This may help her to generalize a behaviour that apparently, she already knows.
I thought this might be it and I have tried crouching down or sitting on the grass, but she still doesn't bring it all the way back.

Then I'd be careful using two toys. Perhaps sticking with just one might be better.

Other suggestions ..

Break the behaviour down into smaller more workable segments, and concentrate on the weakest link in the chain.

Backchain it.

Strengthen 'the exchange' portion.

Play 'tug + retrieve' with a rope/ball or tail/ball type of toy.
She doesn't play tug. If I hold or grab on to anything she has she immediately lets go. "Drop it" was one of the first commands she learned because when she was younger she went through a pica stage. -_- Thankfully that's over, but it's sort of a double-edged sword!

UPDATE: We worked with fetch a bunch over the weekend. Two of us stood on opposite sides of the living room--one of us took the ball and put it down between our feet and the other one would hold her and get her really excited to go get her ball. The first few times she would run half way over and then just look up at whoever the ball was near like, "are you throwing that? is this monkey in the middle? wtf is going on?" but we just encouraged her to take it and then got really excited "Come on, girl! Atta girl, bring it here! Come on!" (etc.) then threw a little party every time she did it right. "YES! Awesome! You are so smart!" We actually ended up using pieces of her kibble to encourage her to come closer. She is definitely more interested and excited about the ball or Frisbee, but it seemed to work. I think what helps is making her start out where we want her to return the ball (i.e close to me, not just in the middle of the room or field). She came really, really far in less than 15 minutes and I was even able to move it outside and she was a lot better. Thanks for all the suggestions!
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top