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I have a 6 month old lab mix, and she will NOT give me the ball/bone/rope back when we throw it. She runs around the yard and plays keep away. I have tried to get treats out, make her sit, etc. and she still runs away! I'd like to be able to take her out places and play with her, but I'm afraid she will run off trying to play keep away! Any help would be great :)
 

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You have to train and motivate the dog to play with you. Currently your dog is never engaged with you, he just waits for you to give him the toy so he can go play with himself. Make sure you play with him in a distraction free place such as your bedroom, don't try the back yard yet. This link explains how to train a good fetch game.

If your dog runs off and chews on the ball then he's reinforcing his version of the game ie. one where he plays with himself. If that's the case you can either use another ball or piece of food to call him back to you (it's a good idea to train basic recall before this). Also set an alarm on your clock to 5 or 10 minutes so you never end up with him losing interest (very important bit). After a few hours you can have another play session. Slowly increase time of the session as your dog becomes more interested in the game.

If you follow these steps you will have a really good fetch in few days time. Make sure you play this game at least once a day with him.
 

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I have a 6 month old lab mix, and she will NOT give me the ball/bone/rope back when we throw it. She runs around the yard and plays keep away. I have tried to get treats out, make her sit, etc. and she still runs away! I'd like to be able to take her out places and play with her, but I'm afraid she will run off trying to play keep away! Any help would be great :)
Have you ever taught her the game? it doesn't seem like you have. How can you expect her to do something that you haven't taught her to do?

Here is a very good step-by-step approach to teach a "fetch".

How To Teach Your Dog To Fetch
 

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If you use clicker training, you can do what I did with Kabota (who will fetch now, but it's not his favorite thing): click for anything approximating coming back to you and work your way up. So at first you might click if she looks at you, then if she comes toward you an inch, then two inches, then right up to you. At the same time, add "drop it" to your repertoire of commands. Once you get her coming back to you with the toy, use drop it, then immediately reward with throwing the ball again. Eventually, she'll learn that bringing you back the ball leads to an awesome game.

Also, do NOT bring her out somewhere unfenced and unleashed until her recall is rock solid in the face of any and all distractions, and that includes a walking tray of bacon racing across the field. If you can't trust her to come back to you after seeing that, keep her on a long lead instead.
 

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We have taught her to play the game, I have given her treats when she brings the ball back, tried it with 2 balls, which she did for a while, now she just constantly plays keep away, no matter where we are! We use clicker training for indoor things, maybe I will give that a shot outside as well. Thanks for the tips.
 

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Quick fix for what you describe.
Stop playing fetch, start playing swap. Use 2 balls, as he comes to you with other, at the point before he shoots past you, show him the swap ball, and tease him a little till he drops original, then throw the other fast.
Takes about 5 goes to teach a dog that wont give up the ball to do so.
any reluctance to give up ball using swap, is met with you walking off. Try again later in day.
 

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At the same time, add "drop it" to your repertoire of commands. Once you get her coming back to you with the toy, use drop it, then immediately reward with throwing the ball again.
Just note that this is ok if OP's current leave/drop/out command was strictly motivational with no conflict. Most people already have it in the repertoire and it's usually done by leash popping the dog to leave something eg. nice smelly piece of food on the street. People get frustrated and yell at the dog to drop it etc. The page I previously linked just recommends saying "thanks" after you trade the ball with another ball or treat. Thanks is an innocent verbal cue that one can't possibly ruin no matter how bad the training is :). Hope this makes sense.
 

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any reluctance to give up ball using swap, is met with you walking off. Try again later in day.
This would only work if the dog is not prone to chewing his toys. I'd personally never leave a dog alone with my balls (no pun intended) in order to prevent chewing/possession issues that are hard as hell to get rid off. Besides, only a dog with serious possession problem would not want to trade a ball for a nice piece of food.
 

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I was watching this hunting dog special on tv the other day. The dog would actually move about five yards for every arm movement that his master gestured. It was incredible. So if the master moved his arm three times, it meant the bird was 15 yards in a particular direction. Isn't this almost very simple math? I was impressed.
 

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My Lab used to do the same thing. A wicked secret that Lab owners have never told you is that Labs LOVE to be chased :) Don't play that game, b/c you can't win, and after you collapse and have a heart-attack, you Lab will come over and drown you, finishing you off.

She is engaged with you, but her method of playing is different than yours. She won't run off in these situations, unless you chase her. And if you don't chase her, she will come tease you... It's all a game to her.

In addition to some suggestions already posted:
1. When you Lab runs away, run in the opposite direction. She may chase you. You can then give a treat (or trade) and she'll drop the ball. Don't grab at the ball, b/c she will learn that game very quickly, and get better at keep away!
2. OR... I taught my Lab to stop nipping by using the Yelp method of Bite Inhibition. Afterwards, when he did something that I didn't like, I could Yelp, and he'd stop.... But, first he needed to be taught what Yelp means.
3. Related to #2, when she runs away, say "Oops" to provide a verbal marker, then dramatically walk into the house, leaving her alone (if that's safe). Come back out after 30 seconds, and give her another chance... It may take about 3 days for her to understand.

She wants to play with you, but doesn't yet understand the rules of the game. Once she understands, you'll have a much better interaction.
 

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We have taught her to play the game, I have given her treats when she brings the ball back, tried it with 2 balls, which she did for a while, now she just constantly plays keep away, no matter where we are!
seems to me that your pup kinda get it, but there's something that not interest her yet.
it took me sometime too to get my pup interest/play for this game, then I changed its game toys ( from tennis ball - bone -rope) to a ring dog toy, shape like donut ones or you can try with flyer ones.
For some reasons, when we used tennis balls he just like to chase it and when he couldn't find it then he would just give up; with bones..it (kinda) worked when we played indoor, but then he got bored easily; with rope he would think we're playing tug :D I'm still doing it with knibles, I'm in the phase of cutting them slowly
Good luck!
 

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My dogs got a lot better at fetch when we played right next to their beds. Bob loves it, but Sacha isn't too interested. Sometimes they just prefer some things over others.
 

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Patch used to chase a tennis ball and not bring it back, he did this for a week or so untill me niece played with a minature football that was partially deflated, when she threw it for him he would fetch and drop it at her feet untill she got bored (she's 2). From their it was pretty easy to swap to tennis balls or a ball on a string.

He still loves his small football and also a small rugby ball, both of which i play with him in the back garden with plenty of praise and a teething chew as a reward once we've finished, it just takes time and some dogs prefer fetch then others but once taught most will enjoy it.
 
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