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Hello everyone!
So I have a Icelandic Sheepdog, 3,5 months old. Quite active and eager to work. I thought that teaching him to play fetch would help do some more activity outdoors (As well as helping for other "tricks" such as picking up stuff).

I have tried the method: praise when he holds on something and slowly let him drag it, but when it leaves my had he drops it or he chews it down...

The other method of throwing indoors with no distractions, he goes for the toy but just plays with it. And calling him to come makes him drop the toy and come.. or he just walks in a huge loop past me to his mat.

I have tried swapping it for a treat, but then he gets into "training mode" and sits patiently for a command and doesn't follow the toy.

Any tips? I know some dog are just not into fetching.. but I would still like to try and train him.
 

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I've had decent luck with cutting a small slit in a tennis ball and putting a few treats in it. The dog will hear and smell the treats but, to get them, will have to bring the ball back to you for you to get the treats out.
 

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The other method of throwing indoors with no distractions, he goes for the toy but just plays with it. And calling him to come makes him drop the toy and come.. or he just walks in a huge loop past me to his mat.
PWR's suggestion is great, but if that doesn't work, what I did is break it into steps, click chasing the toy, click looking at the toy, click picking up the toy, click taking the toy 1", then stand on the way to Kabota's chew spot and click him approaching me. Once he would go past me, I would grab the toy and pop a high value treat in his mouth. It didn't take him long to figure out that bringing me the toy meant awesome treats.

He's still not a natural retriever, but he'll play fetch a few times before moving on to tug or just chewing on his own.
 

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I taught my non-toy motivated dog to retrieve, and she finally enjoys playing fetch just for fun. I did all of these things:

-food toys: Kongs, etc. just getting food out of a toy helps the dog associate toys with food, and then learn to like toys

-clicker trained retrieve. Some good instructions here: http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/retrieve.html One thing that I had to add to my retrieve was teaching Sienna to bring the item to my hand. Before I did that, she picked it up, dropped it, and looked at me for her treat. I had to teach her to bring the toy to my hand. Starting with a few inches away, then a foot, a few feet, etc.

-figure out what drive your dog is strongest in. Some dogs love to tug. Sienna loves to chase. So I found a toy that she liked to chase (she likes the kong because it bounces randomly). And I threw it really far. She doesn't always bring it back, but she LOVES chasing it, so at least I get the benefits of being able to exercise her with fetch. I usually give her a treat when she does bring it back, and cheer for her when she doesn't, and gradually she brings it back more often.

-Sienna's problem is that she doesn't always pick up the toy. If your dog picks it up, but doesn't want to bring it back, you can run away from him. Don't give a formal come command, just run away and call something like "puppy, puppy" so he thinks it's a game. When he gets to you, you can trade the toy for a treat.

-Patience. It took me a year and a half to get to the point where I could go to the park and actually play fetch with my dog. But now she loves it - so it is possible with a lot of patience and willingness to try anything.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks everyone for the great ideas!

I wil give them all a try and of course have patience ;) I am happy to report that Tjido does fetch his "piggy toy" after a good tug and brings it back 1 to 3 times. But he has only done this when he's quite hyper. Right now he's more in the "chew to destroy" mood with his toys.

And Misfitz you are right, if teh dog loves to follow the toy, then that is also good.
 

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If he brings it back 3 times, ask him to do it 2 times, then end the session, take the toy away and try again later. Always leave the dog wanting more. When getting my dog to chase & fetch her kong, I had to start with 2 times, then work up to 3, and now she will chase it 5+ times (I throw it pretty far). I usually stop at 5 throws even if she seems to want to play still. If you ask for too much too fast, it can take the fun out of it for some dogs.

Hyper is helpful :) I had forgotten, but that helped with my dog, too - I only tried getting her to chase & fetch when she was wound up. Gradually it carries over, and they associate the 'hyper' feeling with the toy. Then the sight of the toy will get them wound up and eager to play.
 
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