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Old 01-13-2013, 03:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Playing Fetch - His way. Grrr

For the longest time Bear has been a Wizard at playing fetch. Now he will play for a random number of throws, and then keep the ball. He'll drop it and wait for me to make a move to pick it up and the snatch it again. He won't Come. won't Drop, won't Leave It all of those things that he *will* do the rest of the time.

He is playing *me* and it very frustrating. He is having a good time, but I'm not.

It is also a potential hazard if we are at the beach or a park and he suddenly "forgets" how to come back to me if he has a ball. It's also expensive as especially at the beach he has lost a few tennis balls in the waves dropping them in places I can't get to quickly enough. Thankfully he hasn't lost either of his Kong super balls.

Bear is a 16 month old entire male.

We play with a ball thrower and two balls. To start the game I'll say "Are you ready?" and make for a throw. He will come close and be alert for the throw, land or water. He brings one back, and as he is getting close, I tell him to "Drop it". When he drops the one he has, I throw the one I have. He had been dropping the carried one at my feet for the longest time. It made other owners jealous!

Why the switch?
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Mac is the same way and it drives me crazy. With Mac I know he wants me to chase him instead of playing fetch. Maybe they get bored with fetch. Anyway, I'll be interested to hear what others have to say.
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Old 01-13-2013, 03:28 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I *know* that is what Bear is doing! Putting the ball down to tempt me into having a go at it, and then snatching it and running away?

"Chase me Daddy!" The little snot knowing absolutely that the has the speed and cornering on me, a game he is sure to win. Grrrr
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:13 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Oskar der Drachen View Post
"Chase me Daddy!" The little snot knowing absolutely that the has the speed and cornering on me, a game he is sure to win. Grrrr
So make the game end as soon as he will not bring it where you want.

I'm currently working with my boy to bring the ball closer to me so I don't have to walk to get it.

If he doesn't bring it close I say Bring Here and wait. If he doesn't bring it closer then I simply stand there and wait. If he runs off with it I walk over to my chair and sit down (in our fenced yard) and the game has ended.

I will start the game again when he brings the ball to my feet.

Remember, it takes two to play ball and if he doesn't follow your rules then you won't play.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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So make the game end as soon as he will not bring it where you want.

I'm currently working with my boy to bring the ball closer to me so I don't have to walk to get it.

If he doesn't bring it close I say Bring Here and wait. If he doesn't bring it closer then I simply stand there and wait. If he runs off with it I walk over to my chair and sit down (in our fenced yard) and the game has ended.

I will start the game again when he brings the ball to my feet.

Remember, it takes two to play ball and if he doesn't follow your rules then you won't play.
The problem is the game is still on his terms if the game starts again once he decides to bring it to your feet. Not saying its bad advice or that it won't work for the OP. It just doesn't work for me. I've had a little success with turning around and facing the other direction completely ignoring him.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lauri & The Gang View Post
So make the game end as soon as he will not bring it where you want.

I'm currently working with my boy to bring the ball closer to me so I don't have to walk to get it.

If he doesn't bring it close I say Bring Here and wait. If he doesn't bring it closer then I simply stand there and wait. If he runs off with it I walk over to my chair and sit down (in our fenced yard) and the game has ended.

I will start the game again when he brings the ball to my feet.

Remember, it takes two to play ball and if he doesn't follow your rules then you won't play.
Exactly this. I play fetch with my girl nearly identical to the way you do, Oskar. We have two balls. When she fetches one ball and brings it back, I command her to drop it, and the next ball is thrown. She can go like this for ages. But every so often she'll try and pull what your Bear has been doing.

The minute Juno does this, I turn on my heel and say, "No play!" and I start to walk off and act like I'm going to stop playing with her. She immediately runs over to me and drops the ball. No more shenanigans. Try it. Let us know if it works!
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Lauri & The Gang View Post
So make the game end as soon as he will not bring it where you want.

I'm currently working with my boy to bring the ball closer to me so I don't have to walk to get it.

If he doesn't bring it close I say Bring Here and wait. If he doesn't bring it closer then I simply stand there and wait. If he runs off with it I walk over to my chair and sit down (in our fenced yard) and the game has ended.

I will start the game again when he brings the ball to my feet.

Remember, it takes two to play ball and if he doesn't follow your rules then you won't play.
There lies the rub though, Blued and Bolded. It's unpredictable when he will stop Fetch and start Keepaway.

I had started ending the Fetch game on my terms in my own time. So three or four throws, and then pick up and keep both the balls to walk a bit. The only effect was to have the cunning little booger start Keepaway sooner. He is *reading* me and as soon as it looks like I might stop the Fetch game he starts his own Keepaway version.

I've gone to only throwing the ball after he has dropped and stayed away from the first one. That was after I had to retrieve one of the expensive balls from the hip-deep surf. I had thought he would drop the first ball if I threw the second one, but no dice. He carried the first one into the water, dropped it there, nabbed the second one, and brought *that* one back to the beach.

What point can I go back to for re-training to stop this behaviour?
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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The problem is the game is still on his terms if the game starts again once he decides to bring it to your feet.
No, the game started back up because of YOUR terms - bring the ball to my feet or we don't play.

Now, if you have a dog that would just run off and play with the ball by themselves - then my suggestion wouldn't work.

What's happening is the dog is changing games. They are going from Fetch to Keep Away (which might be more fun for them).

When they do that and you stop playing - there is NO game.

I had a similar problem with a customer that lure courses her dog. The dog learned (from other places - NOT ours) that if they ran away from the people when the lure stopped the operator would start up the lure again to try to coax them back to the start line. The dog got to keep playing the game. It finally got so bad that after trying for 30 minutes to catch the dog they were banned from the event.

She came to me for private training and here's what we did. I had her bring a bathmat with her. We placed the mat on the ground, sat the dog on it and then started the lure. I let the dog run for about 3 minutes then I stopped it and we waited.

I had brought a couple chairs into the field because I knew it was going to take a long time. We sat in those chairs for over 30 minutes that first session. The dog ran off. It stood there and barked. It ran towards us then bolted off. It ran at us barking.

The whole time we just sat and waited. The INSTANT the dog put one foot on the rug I started the lure again.

It took a couple days of training and some REALLY long waits but the dog finally got the idea. Not on the mat - no lure chasing. Now she brings that mat with her to all the events and the dog is not a problem.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:50 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Haha! Little snot! He and my dog would get along great.

Juno has done that with me as well. It's time to cut down to ONE ball for awhile. Don't give Bear the luxury of playing with two balls until he plays properly with one again.

Play your game of fetch and when you are ready to end it, do not let on at all that you are ending the game. What I usually do with Juno is once she drops the ball, I pick it up as though I'm gonna throw it again, but instead of throwing it, just put it in my pocket. I say, "All Gone" and she knows the game is finished.
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Old 01-13-2013, 04:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Oskar der Drachen View Post
There lies the rub though, Blued and Bolded. It's unpredictable when he will stop Fetch and start Keepaway.

I had started ending the Fetch game on my terms in my own time. So three or four throws, and then pick up and keep both the balls to walk a bit. The only effect was to have the cunning little booger start Keepaway sooner. He is *reading* me and as soon as it looks like I might stop the Fetch game he starts his own Keepaway version.

I've gone to only throwing the ball after he has dropped and stayed away from the first one. That was after I had to retrieve one of the expensive balls from the hip-deep surf. I had thought he would drop the first ball if I threw the second one, but no dice. He carried the first one into the water, dropped it there, nabbed the second one, and brought *that* one back to the beach.

What point can I go back to for re-training to stop this behaviour?
I've given this a lot of thought because I to struggle with this. I remember when Mac first started doing this I actually stood outside with raw hamburger in my hand to reward him for simply bringing the ball back. And that didn't work. I honestly think you nailed it when you called him a cunning little bugger. I think the game they are playing with us is mentally stimulating and fetch is not. Maybe the answer is doing more mentally stimulating activities along with fetch. Actually I think someone on this forum gave me that advice a long time ago and I just never followed through with it.
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