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Old 01-04-2010, 04:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to teach fetch?

I have been trying to teach my dog to fetch but I don't know if I am doing it right. I figured I should come here to get some advice. I wanted to teach my dog to fetch so I can have a game to play with him and also to make it easier to exercise him.

So far, it's been brutally cold here so our walks have become rushed and our outside time is for quick bathroom breaks. I have been using my hallway to run him back and forth. This is how it goes.

I pull the ball out and I show it to him. He gets very happy (never had a dog that was toy & food motivated). Anyway, I wave the ball around and throw it down the hall while saying fetch. He runs down the hall at lightning speeds with a crazy pug running behind him. He grabs the balls and starts to run back towards me and then he does a lap around the dining room table and then I tell him ok and go towards him to take the ball out of his mouth and then I have to say "leave it" for him to start to loosen his grip on it. He doesn't willingly hand it over though. How do I get him to do this part of the exercise? Should I put him on a lead and lure him back into me and force the toy out?

I feel if I were to whip out a treat to exchange for the ball (so that he drops it by me) that he would just be more interested in the treat and less interested in the ball and the exercise.

Once I take the ball from him and throw it again he goes to run and get it. He likes to run after it and grab it. If only I could get him to bring it to me the exercise would go smoother and I could exhaust some of his energy better.

The only game so far that I know I can get his energy exhausted completely is ToW. I got him a tug toy that has 3 connecting rubber rings. I grab one and he grabs the other side and we play tug. I win, I let him win and when he wins he comes right back to me so I can "regrab" the toy. I guess it should be the same concept with the ball but it's not.

Are there any other games anyone plays with their dogs?
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:56 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

You can put a short lead on him (not sure what they are called, they are about 6" long) so that you can grab onto him as he runs by. I am always afraid to let my dog run with a long lead as I an neurotic and think they'll step on it and choke herself (nutty, I know).

The idea is to make him think that going back to you with the ball is BETTER than running away with it. Don't chase or you are playing his game instead of he playing yours.

I think exchanging a treat for the ball is a good idea. He would realize that in order to get the treat, he has to drop the ball. Then slowly take the treats away.
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Old 01-04-2010, 04:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

Seems to me that part of the game in his mind is having you go to him to get the ball. I used two toys for Z to fetch, and he would automatically drop the first one to get me to throw the 2nd one. They had to be of equal value so I made sure they were two of the same toy. We used Wubba's. When he would drop the first toy, I added the command "drop it". Now when I tell him drop it, it automatically is dropped to the ground, no matter what it is. Comes in handy when he grabs something he should not have Forcing the ball out/taking it away from him could very well be part of the game to him too.
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:09 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

Quote:
Originally Posted By: ZissoSeems to me that part of the game in his mind is having you go to him to get the ball. I used two toys for Z to fetch, and he would automatically drop the first one to get me to throw the 2nd one. They had to be of equal value so I made sure they were two of the same toy. We used Wubba's. When he would drop the first toy, I added the command "drop it". Now when I tell him drop it, it automatically is dropped to the ground, no matter what it is. Comes in handy when he grabs something he should not have Forcing the ball out/taking it away from him could very well be part of the game to him too.
Not a bad idea...not a bad idea at all, why didn't I think about that. I have tennis balls that he loves to fetch. I will be trying to play fetch with two balls today. Thanks!!
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Old 01-04-2010, 05:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

We kind of do the same as Zisso. Two balls are better than one and guarantees the dog will drop the ball. However, Siena is three and still doesn't 'get it' that we can't throw the ball until she drops it. If she does drop it, it's 5 feet away from us and by the time we get to it, it's back in her mouth. She gets the fetch bit, just not the drop bit. Sometimes she even likes the ball she just dropped better than the one I throw, then I have to go get the other one since she won't. I guess she nows how to teach ME fetch
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Old 01-04-2010, 06:28 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

Use either two balls or a flirt pole (ball on a string on a stick). Beware of the smart pup though that learns in less than one session how to cheat with a flirt pole.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:29 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

I used two methods with Denali. The 30 ft. line method and two ball method. I threw the toy, then guided her *gently* back with the line and gave her a treat when she got to me which automatically made her drop the toy. At the same time she dropped it, I used a command.
The two toy method is pretty good, but now I have a problem where she sees the second toy and doesn't even bother to bring back the first LOL
At least I get a work out too when I play fetch with her lol.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:41 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

I agree, two balls is better than one I thought we'd never get him to to fetch. DUH, two balls why didn't we think of that before! it took seriously 10 maybe 15 minutes. TOPS!
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:35 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

Not to hijack this thread, but what about a pup who chases the ball, pounces on it, attacks it a little, but doesn't pick it up?
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Old 01-04-2010, 11:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: How to teach fetch?

haha, Take him hunting he doesn't have time for silly games! sounds like he's doing what pups do, I don't take it out of their mouth, cuz then your fighting him for dom. be patient. repetion. If my dog doesn't play fair I walk towards the door to go inside he looks at me (head tilt) " what where you goin' ah, fine we'll play your way" drops the ball or lays next to it with his down giving me those big brown eyes!....So basically manipulate each other!

(I'm NOT a dog trainer LOL)
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