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I could not be more excited. I got my Spaniel from the Humane Society about 2-3 weeks ago. Since then I've tried numerous times off and on to teach the guy to fetch. The routine would go like this. He would look at me. I would throw the toy. He would continue to look at me. Every once in a while he would look at the toy go by, then look right back at me. I had given up and basically resigned myself to going back to square run, get started on clicker training and work on shaping the behavior with him.

Tonight I put him and his basset buddy out back to pee before bed time. They did their normal routine of staring at the door waiting to be let back in. I got ticked off since I wanted to go to bed early as it's been a long week so I put on my coat, walked out into the 30 degree weather with a leash, leashed up the basset and dragged his butt out to their favorite spot in the yard knowing the Spaniel would follow me. I figure they'd get the idea and go. The cocker went within a minute or two and the basset just stood there stubbornly sniffing the air and refusing to cave. My cocker ran across the lawn and actually picked up a rawhide the basset had been working on. I was shocked as he'd never expressed any interest in toys before. Then he ran the rawhide about halfway across the lawn and dropped it. I regretted not calling him to me while he had the rawhide in his mouth figuring I could work on "fetch" that way.

While I was still waiting on my basset who was now circling me with a look on his face that said, "Do you realize it smells like pee here? And you're standing in the middle of it? Are you crazy? Do I need to train you better than this?" My Spaniel picked up the rawhide again. This time I called him to me. As he ran past me, I stopped him, praised him and took the rawhide from his mouth (he reluctantly gave it up). Then I threw it and the game of fetch was on. Somewhere in the middle of this the basset caved, peed and started howling wondering why this spaniel was not being punished for consistently returning something the foodslave was clearly trying to get rid of. I need to work on him giving me the rawhide, but we can work on that when we get started on clicker training. I'm excited that I now have a way to wear his butt out on days when I'm way too tired to go walking.
 

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Who would have thought it would be so tough to teach a dog to fetch?

My dog was a few months old when I got her..a young puppy who knew no tricks. I got her a few toys and sometimes she would bring one over to me to play with..sometimes I was busy and I didn't want to be bothered so I would take it from her and throw it across the room..naturally she would go get it and bring it back to me..and I would throw it again, further, and she would get it and bring it back to me..again.

I didn't train her to fetch, she trained ME.
 

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The Spaniel was probably a little too overwhelmed by the new environment to do all the things that comes naturally. Even American Cockers who have generations of non-hunting dogs in their pedigree can usually be coaxed into a game of fetch.

Word to the wise: don't be so quick to take the fetch object away from him. Call the dog to you and praise, but let him hold it while you do. If he gets the idea that he loses his prize as soon as he comes back to you, he'll start playing keep-away. Once he decides that's the new game, you won't have fetch and recall goes right out the window.
 

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The Spaniel was probably a little too overwhelmed by the new environment to do all the things that comes naturally. Even American Cockers who have generations of non-hunting dogs in their pedigree can usually be coaxed into a game of fetch.

Word to the wise: don't be so quick to take the fetch object away from him. Call the dog to you and praise, but let him hold it while you do. If he gets the idea that he loses his prize as soon as he comes back to you, he'll start playing keep-away. Once he decides that's the new game, you won't have fetch and recall goes right out the window.
Thanks I hadn't thought of that. He was at sometimes running toward me and trying to avoid me. I'll try that out. I was just shocked that after spending 2-3 weeks showing absolutely no interest at all that he would jump in and try to initiate the game just out of the blue.
 

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Word to the wise: don't be so quick to take the fetch object away from him. Call the dog to you and praise, but let him hold it while you do. If he gets the idea that he loses his prize as soon as he comes back to you, he'll start playing keep-away. Once he decides that's the new game, you won't have fetch and recall goes right out the window.
Peanut butter on a biscuit! I wish I had known this 3 years ago. Thanks. I think I know how to go about fixing this now. Smacks forehead!!!! :(
 

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Like everything else having to do with dog training, the specific remedy is dependent on the individual dog. If a dog with marginal interest in retrieving gets the notion that you have tasty snacks on your person, he may not want to leave your side to go after a dirty old tennis ball.
 
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