Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Northern California
I think you'll see that there are slight variations of each method and you'll need to adjust / fine tune / combine things according to your individual dog.
If you have a dog that enjoys tug, I'd totally use that to your advantage. I work in the blind community where interactive toys/play are maximized - i.e., the toy only has value if I'm attached to the other end of it (in that context it prevents keep away or dogs taking off and just playing with the ball where the handler is unable to locate them).
Initially what I'm looking for (in a room or on leash) is a good game of tug where the dogs response when I let go of the toy is to present it to me to engage in more tugging. When this behavior is there... you can release the tug while taking a few steps back, making the dog travel towards you in order to engage. Now you have a dog bringing a toy to you. Incorporate either a "that's enough" release to you, or "drop it". Now that you have the toy, toss it a short distance and start backing up with encouraging verbal or body language once the dog has the toy and increase space / distance / off leash as the dog progresses.
I use the two ball or two toy method only to develop the tug response.... keep an identical toy behind you and out of sight while tugging with the other. When you release the first toy to the dog it becomes "dead" and immediately you present the second toy while moving it about wildly - typically the dog will lose interest in the dead toy and go for the "live" one. Rinse and repeat.
When I have the behavior I want, I put a command on it and start to generalize...especially since it's not always easy or possible to tug with a ball.
TILDEN: Male: Blk/Red LHGSD: DOB: 12/24/06 65lbs of Love
KEYSTONE: Male: Sable: DOB: 2/11/13 55lbs of Go!!!!!