No Stinkin' Leashes Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: SF Bay Area
You haven't had her very long, so the relationship between you is still developing. One very easy thing I like to do when I get a new puppy is to reward eye contact whenever s/he offers it spontaneously. Mark ("yes!") and reward when she starts to come towards you on her own. At this point you're not giving any commands, because she doesn't actually know them yet. You don't want her to learn that "come" means ignore you rather than come running. And at her age and with how long you've had her, I would still be heavily rewarding that, I wouldn't even be worrying about whether she comes with or without food. You don't need to be holding it in sight though, it can be in a pocket or a treat bag, or even a bowl on a countertop. People are often in a big hurry to phase out food or toy rewards, but there truly is no rush.
I wear my treat bag at all times, with something yummy but small, or you can simply use some of her kibble. Just measure out what she would normally get for a meal and then whatever you don't use for training/reinforcing behaviors you would put in her bowl later.
Fetch is a skill - some dogs are natural retrievers, some are not. Those that are not need to be taught, just like you'd teach them to sit or down on command, or to walk nicely on leash. It's possible she doesn't understand that she's supposed to bring it back to you after you've thrown it. A ball on a rope is handy, because you can keep a hold of it. Start by backchaining, which is simply training the end of the behavior first, and then working backwards towards the beginning. She will chase the ball already, so that's the least important part to work on. Let her grab the ball, then have her give it up again. Over and over. You can tug with it using the rope first if you want to, or not. When she will take and give the ball readily (don't rush the steps), let her have the ball and then quickly take a couple of steps backwards, encouraging her to come towards you - make noises, clap your hands, whatever you need to do. When she does, mark it, tug briefly (or not) have her give it up for a treat, give it back and take a couple steps backwards again. Once she will follow you with the ball for a few steps, work up to running backwards a slightly longer distance. Only after she will run to you with the ball would you start throwing it again, and only for a very short distance. You could just roll it a few feet rather than actually throw it. Again, run backwards a few steps, encouraging her to bring it. The stronger you can make the end of "fetch" - bring the ball and hand it to you, the better.
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short