My dog has forgotten how to play fetch - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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My dog has forgotten how to play fetch

I've been playing fetch with Sam ever since he was a puppy. Every now and then he'd go through a phase of not bringing the ball back all the way but sooner or later he would get the point and all would be good.

He's now a year old and for some reason does not bring the ball back all the way to us. Oh wait - he's picked up this bad habit, ever since the ground has been snow covered, that he will "double-back" every time he chases after the ball.

So we throw the ball or frisbee, he chases it, once he pounces on it he drops it and circles back retracing his steps while sniffing the ground. Then he finally goes back and eventually brings the ball back to us anywhere between 6-20 feet away. Since I've been training him to come back to us all the way he will drop the ball and come back to us on his own.

I've tried taking him to get the ball back. I've tried waiting him out telling him to "get the ball" but no dice. I tried giving him lotsa praise and even treats when he actually brings it back closer but he just doesn't understand that I don't want to have to go walking to get it every time he retrieves it.

This has become soooo frustrating as it's been pretty cold outside. Plus, he's not making the best use of his exercise time when he just sits there staring at the ball while we tell him to get it. I would just LOVE to get back to the same routine of him dropping the ball and fetching x repeat.

Has anybody else gone through this? Any tips to get him to bring it all the way back again?

Last edited by JeanKBBMMMAAN; 02-07-2011 at 02:29 PM. Reason: removed pseudo swearing from title - Admin
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 02:27 PM
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Put a long line on him or play with 2 balls. I have a dog that never brings back the ball I throw unless I am playing with another ball, tossing it up in the air and catching it myself. Works like a charm for him.

Carolyn
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 03:01 PM Thread Starter
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Put a long line on him or play with 2 balls. I have a dog that never brings back the ball I throw unless I am playing with another ball, tossing it up in the air and catching it myself. Works like a charm for him.
Thanks Kiya, I will give that a try but I'm pretty sure of what the outcome will be. He'll probably get to about 15 feet then drop the ball as he focuses on the other one.
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 03:06 PM
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Jake does this also! Sometimes he will bring it back and sometimes he will drop it several feet away. I feel your pain...

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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by kiya View Post
Put a long line on him or play with 2 balls. I have a dog that never brings back the ball I throw unless I am playing with another ball, tossing it up in the air and catching it myself. Works like a charm for him.
I use 2 balls or squeaky toys. They need to be of similar "value" to him. If he horses around and tries to get me to come to him, I turn my back and walk away until he brings me the ball. LOL- can anything be simple with these guys?
I will bounce the ball off the roof of the house, run with it roll it, throw it high in the air, etc..., to keep it interesting. Not a breed that will mindlessly retrieve-- but would you have it any other way?
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 05:38 PM
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He'll probably get to about 15 feet then drop the ball as he focuses on the other one.
If Apache leaves the other ball and comes for my ball I tell him "no, get your ball" so he does,then drops it again a little closer "no, go get your ball". Sometimes I'll throw it, he'll look at me and I tell him "get it".
When Lakota was little the exercise I used was tossing food away and having her come back to me. There was no command for her to come back, she just would. The purpose of the exercise was sending her out to get the treat and she would realize that it was good to come back because she would get more treats (toss a treat again). Maybe you could do something like that to get him think it's better to come back.

Carolyn
Lakota - WGSD 1/13/10
Wolfen - WGSD 12/31/14
Bull -WGSD 2-10-10
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Apache - Shiloh Shepherd 12/15/02 - 6/9/15
Kiya - Shiloh Shepherd 5/15/04 -12/19/25
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 05:42 PM
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Not a breed that will mindlessly retrieve-- but would you have it any other way?

LOL that's one way to look at it for sure!

Renee'

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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakeandrenee View Post
Not a breed that will mindlessly retrieve-- but would you have it any other way?

LOL that's one way to look at it for sure!
My black lab, that's what they are for!

He will bring the ball back to me no problem, but then proceeds to "kill" it. (insted of dropping it) But he will drop it in a moment, when he sees another ball flying through the air, so I usually go out with him and about 3 balls, so one can always be ready to throw one out, as he brings back the prior ball.

"outside of a dog a book is mans best friend, inside of a dog it's too dark to read." Groucho Marx
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 02-07-2011, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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So strange...we have this big rubber ball that we sometimes play with and with THAT ball he usually brings it back. In fact, with THAT ball I can tell him "too far" and he will bring it a little closer. Of course, this was working for a bit this afternoon until he started leaving it 20 feet away again. I can shove him towards the ball while telling him to "go get it" or I can just walk away but no dice!

For the time being I'll keep using this ball since he typically brings it back. I really hope that when the snow melts he will be less distracted by scents and start getting back into the old routine! I can only hope!
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