retrieving the ball! - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 06:02 PM Thread Starter
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retrieving the ball!

how do i get my boy matrix to retrieve a ball or anything for that fact and bring it back and drop it in my hand or in front of me at least? everytime i go out with him to run him around and i throw the ball he sprints and gets it and then i would say most of time he comes close but not close enough to me but he doesnt drop it nor does he have any intention to give it back! without the ball, he listens to the basic commands, sit, down, stay but when the ball is out fohgget 'bout it lol! i just want him to bring the ball right to me and drop it in my hand! any ideas how?
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 06:09 PM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

Hmmmm.... .... are you using treats? That is how I taught Riddick to drop the ball in front of me, he had to come in close to get his treat, and he had to drop the ball in order to get the treat.

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 06:22 PM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

well i have learnt alot with all of this fetchin stuff, but duke sure hasnt! i am going through about the same thing with him, and one thing i have learnt is not to chase them! if you chase them they think "hey if i dont go to her, she will come to me, and we can play my game".

I have also learnt to do it more when no one is around, because some people tend to shout out bring me the ball! so until i get him to where i want him, i want him left alone by others!

Another thing is LOTS & LOTS of treats! I am getting all kinds of good treats (some that i didnt even know they could have) on a post that i wrote last night. Today I took him to the yard, and we played ball and I cut up some very small peices of hotdog and kept them in a baggie, he loved them, and he tended to bring me the ball 4 times today!



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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 06:31 PM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

I used two balls. Threw one and then would request "drop it" in order to get the second one. As soon as Gracie dropped the first ball the second one would be thrown. When she chose to blow me off, I just turned my back on her, and if need be, walked away signifying the game was over. I was able to do this because we were in a fenced yard so I knew she was safe. Worked like a charm, she couldn't stand being ignored nor did she want the game to end so she caught on pretty quick.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-09-2008, 06:45 PM Thread Starter
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Re: retrieving the ball!

i do use two balls and i have tried treats and i have them with me all the time but no chance, he does not care about any treats or anybody! he's so into holding on to the tennis balls, it's funny! i do throw one and he goes after it then throw the other one and in the middle of running drops the first one! but i want him to come and drop it to me! i guess maybe use a long leash and try it! any other ideas?
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 05:28 PM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

Maybe you could use the tennis balls for the reward instead of the treats? Throw something else and when he brings it back and releases it reward him with the tennis ball. Just an idea, not sure if it is a good one.
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2008, 08:25 AM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

I have the same problem. I'm working on what graciesmom said - if Zack doesn't drop it, it's "game over" and I turn my back. Unfortunately, chewing the tennis ball is a reward unto itself until he gets tired (and the ball is soggy.)

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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-11-2008, 09:57 AM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

When you throw the ball for your dog and he runs to get it, as soon as he grabs it, say "BRING" or "HERE" or "COME" to reinforce him to come back with the ball. If he comes slow or does not come all the way, as soon as he does start coming back, start running the opposite way so he has to chase YOU down with the ball, if dropping the ball is still a problem I would have a second ball ready and tell him to "DROP" or "OUT" and as soon as that happens, throw the second ball. I would not throw the balls really far at this point, just a few feet, so he has no option but to come closer.
Some dogs that are really possessive of their toys do not like bringing them back, but running away from the dog and having a second ball may help!
And I agree, if this still does not work, "game over" and no more fun at that point.
Good luck!

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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 02:24 AM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

Tazer has been one of those who wants to zoom by with the toy (her squirrel frisbee is her favorite). I found that throwing another frisbee meant that she would drop the first one, but often it was pretty far from me.

So what I've done is when she's returning to me after getting the frisbee, I turn away from her (to make my body language look like I'm going to move away, which encourages her to come to me) and then I hold out one hand with a treat and I praise her as she's coming toward me. I don't move toward her - she has to come to me for the treat. Because I was encouraging and praising, she started carrying the frisbee closer and closer before she'd drop it. Once she figured out that I always had a treat, and that I always threw the frisbee again, she was much more comfortable in bringing it all the way to me.

I also started doing a lot of massage/petting when she would return to me. Even if she dropped the frisbee, I would lean over and say "Tazer! C'mere, sweetie .. gooood girl!" and when she came to me I would rub her back and sides as she leaned against my legs. She's not a real "huggy" dog but she got into this kind of petting. And when I stopped she'd run to the frisbee and pick it up again, which was fine.

It took a while - actually we worked on it for months. I was in no hurry and I didn't want to stifle her enthusiasm for the retrieve. I knew that she wouldn't lose her enthusiasm for the frisbee but she could very well decide that bringing it to me was no fun if I forced the issue. So I kept everything very happy and upbeat and it's worked out pretty well.

She doesn't hold the frisbee for me to take from her mouth, but that's our next step. I will teach a hold command separately using a dumbbell and once she's solid with that, I'll incorporate it into her toys.

I never did the "game over" with her. In part that's because she would willingly drop the frisbee or ball if I told her "leave it", and in part because throwing the frisbee/ball and her running to chase it is an important part of her exercise. She has a ton of energy and she NEEDS to run! So making this into something more of a training exercise just wasn't important to me.

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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 11-12-2008, 08:06 AM
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Re: retrieving the ball!

I used to fret over my dogs not coming up and handing me the ball until I just changed my point of view about the whole thing. Mack always goes out at a dead run, retrives, wheels and comes back at at least a gallop. He'll then run past me and wheel behind me and circle me a few times in a victory lap or two. He relishes me trying to get it from him. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't. If I don't try to take it from him he'll invariably drop it within 15 seconds or so.
What I'm getting at is this is an enjoyable game to him and one of the few things where I let him make up the rules and don't make it an obedience thing. Just like when he decides "game over" he just lays down and starts chewing on the ball.
When I used to worry about it, I used a very long line and reeled him as he came to me and put him at sit in front of me and then said, "Give it." With the usual, "NO" "Give it" corrections for refusal. When I did this I noticed that they always went out as fast but came back at a trot. It wasn't as much fun to them then.
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