Bring that here! C'mon... puleeeez? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 01:30 PM Thread Starter
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Bring that here! C'mon... puleeeez?

Okay, how do you get a dog to bring back a toy!? I got the idea it is good for them to return to you for tugging and interaction.
Actually, I have dogs who will run back and shove the thing into me for a game.... but then there is this one...

I have a long line on. I am moving and encouraging and then tugging and praising if I manage to get him reeled in, and that is like once. He actually lays down in the grass like a log and won't budge.

Should I not toss? Just keep him close on a line and tug, release to him and keep him close by and tug again etc... and then quit? I really am trying to teach this with little result.

I am thinking tug game has not won out over his concern for possession here. I haven't spent a lot of time outing either.


I wonder what I am doing wrong or not thinking of. I don't want to create conflict.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 01:48 PM
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This sounds exactly like Nikon. Nikon did not want to come back to me at first, his idea of a reward was to possess the ball and he was half-assed interested in actually tugging. I hated using a line b/c it always tangled, didn't really change his desire to come back. Two things worked for us: 1) I started using two balls, so the one I had suddenly became way more exciting than the one he fetched and 2) at some age it was like a lightbulb went off and he was far, far more interested in tugging than just having the ball. Now he will come back and if he's not quite within reach he will actually place the end of the string on my hand and look at me like "C'mon! TUG IT!" I think once he decided that tugging was fun, he understood that it takes two to tug. Now he's all about me and the toy. He's ripped the strings out of so many toys, I have them all over the house and yard, but the second I move towards the box where I keep the stringed ones, he spits the ones he has and comes charging over to me.

Last edited by Liesje; 03-31-2010 at 01:57 PM.
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 02:09 PM
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I had one dog a few years ago where I had to really teach this, and some days Heidi is giving me a reminder course as well. Sometimes she comes tearing back to play, other times the desire to possess takes over.

2-ball can help, but is not my favorite way to deal with this as I feel it can build some bad habits elsewhere. So I've just used the long line method. Tug, dog wins, I pick up line and circle dog (similar to as would be done in protection). I never let the dog lie down to possess. The dog has to keep moving. Then after a circle or two I run backwards *away* from the dog, reeling the dog in with the line and encouraging with body language and voice, and once the dog comes to me we have a big tug playing party, then repeat. Doesn't seem to take long for them to figure out that coming back for more play is a LOT more fun, especially since I block their ability to lie down and possess the toy.


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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 02:14 PM Thread Starter
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Okay, this sounds good. I was trying a bit, but didn't want to go further without looking for some ideas. I can get him back with two toys, but that really wasn't transferring and I don't particularly like it either.

I will just persist. He needs more experience at it to come to really like the tugging. I will try to keep him close and moving. His propensity to lay down and really use his body as an anchor in this is something I have never seen. It will be a challenge to keep him hopping. I have even considered little encouraging pops on a pinch. He is on a flat.
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 08:51 PM
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Just a thought, but could you switch to more of an Ivan type game? Where the reward is the tugging and not so much the winning? That way you could build the value of the tugging and make it less about possession?

I also don't particularly care for 2 ball. Little pops on the pinch worked for Argos.

I know when we taught Cade to bring things back, we basically did what Chris said, running away when he won so he'd have to chase me, hitting my chest etc. Although we never did the circles. As soon as he tugged back, I would pretend like he was the strongest dog in the world, let go, and then immedietely lean back and encourage him back. I really never gave him any room to "get away" since it's only about arms length and I often play this game sitting on the floor.

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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 08:52 PM
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Molly takes the toy and walks back to you like you will get it back then she makes you chase her.lol I think teach her to drop it, when you say "Drop". thats what we did with our other dogs.

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jessiewessie99 View Post
Molly takes the toy and walks back to you like you will get it back then she makes you chase her.lol I think teach her to drop it, when you say "Drop". thats what we did with our other dogs.
For just playing with the dog or general companion training, teaching the dog to just bring it back and drop it can certainly work. But this discussion is particular to SchH training which is a bit different. Here the dog needs to actively engage the handler with play, be comfortable tugging and possessing the object in the presence of the handler and not worried that the handler will require letting go, and you also don't want to condition the dog to always drop what is in his mouth when he returns to you (one of the aforementioned possible bad side effects of 2-ball) as that can cause havoc with the retrieves later on.


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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 09:12 PM
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I avoided the two ball method for a long time, everyone said it would be really bad, but it got to the point where I could not enjoy a simply game of fetch without my dog running off and trying to avoid me. I two balls *only* for playing fetch (not as part of obedience training, for that I just never threw the ball so he wasn't given the chance to get possessive), and even with the two balls the dog was still reluctant to drop his ball, I had to make my ball interesting and ask him to out. We played fetch this way for a few weeks and it helped immensely and also carried over into playing during obedience, without him ever dropping the ball. I can't think of a time he has ever, ever just dropped the ball during obedience. We've actually regressed a bit and he often will not out the ball without being lifted up or if I give him a quick pinch on his thigh. We did retrieves over the winter and I had no problems with him ever chewing or dropping the dumbbell, but we spent months on just the "hold" part and backchained with food and clicker. I still play fetch with two balls, and now he will drop his on his own but he knows it must be dropped between my feet, I'm not going to be fetching his ball because he dropped it and wanted mine. I've not seen any negative effects on obedience or the retrieves but it's all totally different contexts. Now that he likes tugging, I can throw the ball during obedience too, he comes right back. Outing can still be a struggle.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 09:37 PM
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I haven't had any problem with Karlo bringing back the toy or tug to re-engage.
He isn't one to prance around after he wins on leash, even in protection, he would rather bring the sleeve back to the helper for more. I wish he would want to possess it more?
Last night, he brought back the ball and spit it before he sat.
I just started(last night) to work on retrieves/hold and this was interesting, that he was giving it up, when I wanted him to hold it!
Usually he has always held it for more tug,but he must have known I wanted to change the game, so he decided to play by his new rule. Always a challenge!

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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-31-2010, 10:49 PM Thread Starter
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I understand, Lies. Its not the worst thing in the world to do two! I will do it if I have to and maybe it wouldn't be a long term thing. I think I just need to devote some work to it so he learns to like and understand the tugging. He is not fighting, tugging sort of guy though unless he really gets revved. Mostly he will just grab hard, pull downward to get himself to the ground and hold on. Loverly! hehe
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