encouraging play time breakthrough - what next? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 04:10 AM Thread Starter
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encouraging play time breakthrough - what next?

Hi all -

I was blown away yesterday by my Nissa ... she's my "spectator sport" dog who just absolutely seems to have no interest in play time with a human. She will sit and watch but will not participate in things like ball catching, tug'o'war ... nothing interactive with a human as far as play. For 2 1/2 + years I've been encouraging her to play with people and she just stands there looking at me or goes and lays down or comes to me for cuddling but she will NOT play.

Yesterday I was going to start teaching them a new trick out of the doggie trick book I got. I can't even remember what the actual trick I was shooting for was because I was bowled over and so shocked! It starts out with teaching the dog to catch a rolled up/wrapped in rubber band newspaper. I chose a small advertiser type newspaper that I had in the recycle bin.

I tossed it a few times for Riley who's always happy to play games. With a big sigh and thinking "this is a waste of time" I tossed it for Nissa and she actually grabbed it! She dropped it immediately but she grabbed it! So, I tried a few more times and she kept catching it and dropping it and catching it and dropping it - I was on Cloud 9! (yes, treats for each catch) She even got to the point she'd jump up from her sit to catch it!

Then I tried a test and tossed a soft ball to her - she sat there looking at me and the ball bounced off her nose and to the floor like it always does. Tried this ball a few more times w/the same results. Went back to the rolled newspaper and she caught that, over and over. So we've now finally after all this time, determined she's picky as to what she'll catch.

I'm not real imaginative when it comes to things to do w/a dog ... anyone have any ideas on what I could do to get more out of this newspaper catch game with her? I'd really like to run with this, hopefully we're onto something good for her.

Deb • Riley & Nissa
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 06:36 AM
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Re: encouraging play time breakthrough - what next?

Substitute a piece of rubber hose or a long soft toy for the newspaper?

Are you rewarding the catch or the drop? If you use a clicker and click (mark) while the paper is in her mouth you will reward that behavior and may be able to extend the time she holds on to it. If you reward after she drops it without marking the hold, you are rewarding the drop.

Glad you have made some progress with her. I think once she gets it she will figure out the rest pretty quickly.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 07:31 AM Thread Starter
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Re: encouraging play time breakthrough - what next?

Ah ha! I'll bet she's getting me rewarding the drop. She drops it so quick it's almost instantaneous. I don't think she holds it for more than a second, it's in and it's out. I'll have to get her to catch, treat then drop on "drop" command ... yuppers, I see that issue right now, thanks!

Deb • Riley & Nissa
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 08:41 AM
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Re: encouraging play time breakthrough - what next?

I found out I think they are all different. neek is a rescue dog and when I discovered he doesnt like tennis balls, well you can throw a ball and he will totally ignore it! What he does like is his hose collection. He will now sit and wait for me to throw a piece of hose, its his "thing" LOL it was my garden hose and he slowly took it apart and now had about 10 pieces out back, thats what he plays with. ! We bought him a wiggly giggly ball and sometimes he will play with that, he knocks i around with his paw and growls at it LOL That stays inside.
Just keep throwing the paper, its probably what she likes. Ive already realised Neek will never be the tennis baall type like Sashi was. Oh well I have a huge colection of tennis balls, too. Cuz ball, frisbees, he has no interest in them.

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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-06-2010, 09:29 AM
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Re: encouraging play time breakthrough - what next?

since your dog likes the newspaper how about
throwing it and have her retrieve it. then hide
the paper and have her retrieve it. once she catches
on you could start playing with other things. i use my wallet, key ring, clothing (wth a rubberband wrapped around them), towels,etc.

you could teach her to retrieve the mail. i use to walk down
to the mailbox and hand my dog the mail. he would carry the mail to the house. now i can let him out when the mail person
comes and he'll go to the mail person take the mail
and bring it to me.

have tried any tug games with your dog? the retrieving and find it
games you can play indoors or outside.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-07-2010, 01:03 AM Thread Starter
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Re: encouraging play time breakthrough - what next?

I have been thinking about the bring the mail in thing for quite awhile. Riley can open the fridge so teaching him to open the mailbox would probably be very simple. Nissa has the right idea opening the fridge, she just doesn't put any muscle behind her tugging at the sock I've got tied around it to tug the door open with. But I think with some work she could learn that, too. They play 'find it' really well for treats, so I guess I should move on to other objects for that. Thanks for the ideas everyone.

Deb • Riley & Nissa
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