2 ball to 1 ball? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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2 ball to 1 ball?

I am sitting here trying to think how to solve this problem.

I have built good ball drive in my dog using 2 ball game. BUT.... she is dropping the first ball way too soon to beat feet to the ball I am holding. I unknowingly created this problem by having her run and grab the first ball on string while i hold it up. (She absolutely LOVES to do this).

Any ideas on how to fix this and switch to a lively 1 ball retrieve?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 03:00 PM
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Get rid of the second ball. Try this: throw the ball a few feet away from you and wait until she returns to let her figure it out. You can reward for even picking up the ball. or you can practice catching the ball first so she learns to focus on just one.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 03:15 PM
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You need to be careful and not let your dog see you pick up the second ball. There are a couple of things to do. After the dog learns the game, it is natural for the dog to drop the first ball to get the second ball. That is why this game is so effective for teaching the "out" and the recall.

With dogs that know the game and drop the first ball too far away, I make them go get the first ball and will not reward with the second until they bring the first ball back closer. It is all about the timing. I may also leave the second ball on the ground and not pick it up until the dog is really close and just beat him to it. That is where the timing comes in. I find with some dogs, if they don't see you holding the second ball, they will keep the one they have longer as they return to you.

If I see a pattern developing where the dog drops the first one too soon, I will not tease or entice with the second ball until the dog is really close. For an older or experienced dog, I give a negative marker, with hold the second ball, point to the first and tell the dog to bring that one to me. The dog quickly learns that to get the second one it must bring the first one all the way back to me.

Leaving the second ball on the ground and snatching it up really quickly just before the dog gets to it works as well. You have to make some adjustments depending on the dog.

To go to one ball, I do a very similar thing to what Wolfy described. Start close and reward quickly when the dog drops it. If the dog is toy possessive, you need to instill that trust that the dog will get the ball back.

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Slamdunc View Post

With dogs that know the game and drop the first ball too far away, I make them go get the first ball and will not reward with the second until they bring the first ball back closer. It is all about the timing. I may also leave the second ball on the ground and not pick it up until the dog is really close and just beat him to it. That is where the timing comes in. I find with some dogs, if they don't see you holding the second ball, they will keep the one they have longer as they return to you.
^^ this is what I have always done.

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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 04:29 PM
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I would use a ball on string and tug...this way the dog is into bringing the ball back for a game of tug and interaction with you, not away from you.
Outing is the next question?

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
I would use a ball on string and tug...this way the dog is into bringing the ball back for a game of tug and interaction with you, not away from you.
Outing is the next question?
Great idea! For determined tuggers who don't want to out I do the following: holding on to the toy (never use balls initially for this to protect your hands), freeze your grip and don't move, not even your eyes ( I always eye them). I let them tug whatever they want and so far, all of them have gradually loosened their grip as it was no longer fun. Once they let go I marked it with with "drop it!" and tugged again by invite "Tug!" and repeat the out. Once they learn that out is not the end of the fun and drop the toy reliably I start to introduce the ball again. Never needed treats as tug was the reward for dropping the toy.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 05:14 PM
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For the out, I pair the action and thought process of the dog dropping the first toy to get the second one. When I see the mouth start to open as the dog is running back to me, and the dog is about to drop the ball in it's mouth, I say "out." I make an association with the command and the action the dog is already doing. The dog is already thinking about dropping what is in it's mouth and I simply pair the command with that thought process.

I do not try to teach an out with a dog that is tugging. I do use a ball on a rope or a kong on a rope for the two ball game. I have found that when a dog is tugging it is counterproductive to even say "out" because a different association is made. The new association is "out" means tug harder. This directly corresponds to bite work and releasing a bite. I find that dogs taught the two ball game and learn to out the toy, out in bite work much cleaner, quicker and with out any conflict.

I agree with marking the "out" once they drop it, that is the key. I just do it a little sooner. When the dog is about to open it's mouth and release. Here again, it's all about the timing. My dogs would be reluctant to let go if there was any tension on the rope. They would also tug hard, causing movement and the game is on again. Once they know the out, then I release tension on the rope and say out and they will release.

With stubborn dogs or new dogs, I simply pull out the second toy and make that one really exciting, get the dog interested and then reward when it drops the first toy.

With the new dog, Boru, I run the risk of getting tagged over a toy. It has gotten much better, but corrections over a toy will cause him to redirect. I simply tell him "LOS" or out, step away, command him to down or return to heel and he complies quickly. I then command stay, pick up the toy and go back to work or reward. I have made progress where he will drop a toy into my hand, but telling him to out and stay is very manageable. Allowing him to do tug wouldn't work, he would do it all day. He's a little OCD and ADHD with toys.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
I would use a ball on string and tug...this way the dog is into bringing the ball back for a game of tug and interaction with you, not away from you.
Outing is the next question?
I had to re read your post. Yes, a tug as reward will work well.

“Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance”. George Bernard Shaw

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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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I cannot use the tug at the moment because she does not value it nearly as much as the ball. I also assume I am throwing it way too far, but she loves to run.

I have noticed the difference if a ball is on the ground when she comes in, she is holding on much longer.

So, then I would race to the ball on the ground and say "out" as she drops the ball, grab and throw it quickly?

She does like to tug the ball, but can get "lockjaw" about it..LOL!
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2016, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wolfy dog View Post
Get rid of the second ball. Try this: throw the ball a few feet away from you and wait until she returns to let her figure it out. You can reward for even picking up the ball. or you can practice catching the ball first so she learns to focus on just one.
Questions: She is by my side. Do I fake the throw so she runs away and then back?

Reward with the other ball?

Third, you mean beating her to the ball then letting her have it?

Sorry, I'm confused
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