Trouble Releasing After Fetching - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble Releasing After Fetching

Cash is 6 months old and has hit a weird stage. He is great at retrieving and especially likes to play with his "Chuckit:Flying Squirrel".

He has always struggled a little bit with "dropping" or "giving" the toy back though after fetching. I could always count on him letting go if I had treats though.

Now, he won't even release the toy if I have his favorite hot dog pieces. He looks at the treat, then runs away and sits down. He wants me to chase him, which I made the mistake of doing a couple times.

If I ignore him, he will eventually come running up to me, but as soon as a show any interest in him, he tries to run away with the toy again. I have even resorted to forcefully ripping it away from him because I get so annoyed.

At this point, what is my best action plan.? I have read other posts and people usually start with "make sure to feed him good treats". Even if I had a rare porterhouse I'm pretty sure he would just walk away. If he's turning down hot dog pieces...something is up. He normally would knock over a 2 year old and an 89 year old lady in the same stride to get to hot dogs. He just is so obsessed with that toy and not giving it up that nothing else matters.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 02:40 PM
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My Malinois, who is 6 years old, didn't like to give up her toys because she was afraid the game will be over if I take the toy from here. So there are two methods I've been using to get a nice, reliable out.

First method was playing the game with TWO toys. If she came back with one but wouldn't release it once I had my hand on it, or wouldn't come close enough for me to grab it, I would show her the second toy. That usually got her to drop the first one and then I would chuck the second one for her to chase and pick up the first one to repeat the game.

Second method is simply not pulling against the toy to be released. She is very good about coming to me but wasn't always good about releasing the toy, especially a tug or ball. Holding the toy close to her muzzle, I would put it up against my leg and simply hold it STILL. Not tugging against it to yank it away from her, which makes a lot of dogs get really into this game of "who's stronger". Simply holding it close to me and STILL until she let go. Then reward by playing the game again, throwing a toy, etc.

With my husband, she's not always willing to bring a toy. She will come close for him to reach for it, then back up and "tease" him and try to get him to chase her. That's something he needs to work on. I've found that simply ignoring her until she comes up to where you can put a hand on the toy and ask for it to be released (or use the method above) works best.

Most dogs who try to run away with the toy just want you to engage them in play. If you ignore them, it's not working. They need to figure out other ways to get you playing with them. Like bringing the toy TO you so you can grab it. Ignoring your dog can be a pretty good correction for unwanted behaviors.

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 03:09 PM
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I had the same problem with one of my dogs. I would use the 2-toy play. (identical toys) Throw one, bring back, told to drop, throw other. Took time for him to understand, but he started to drop it looking for the throw with the other. Then start to eliminate second toy, but not the command of drop it. No problem now, it took time though. Just a suggestion...

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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-10-2010, 03:17 PM
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the 2 toy is a great idea.... Cody at first would chase the 2nd toy with the 1st one still in his mouth. then he'd get to the toy i threw and either try to get both in his mouth, or stand there trying to decide which one to bring back...i had to laugh. he did catch on

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 06:43 PM Thread Starter
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Tried the same toy idea...didn't really work. He won't release the one in his mouth for the toy I have. He will chase the one I have and pick it up and bring it back...but then won't release it.

He just doesn't really care about ANYTHING I have...as long as he has the toy in his mouth. That goes for other toys, treats, and everything.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 07:23 PM
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Milkmoney....try when he is calm inside just practicing giving a toy to him and then telling him out or whatever the command is....soon as he releases it PRAISE him and give it right back....and do it over and over maybe 6-10 times....this seems to be helping w/Jake and he is the same age. When we are outside he is much more reluctant to "OUT". But he seems to do it more each time we practice...

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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 10:09 PM
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I use two toys if I'm just playing fetch, but not if I'm training. When training I do my best to immobilize the toy firm against my thigh so it's "out of play" and no more fun. As soon as the dog releases I mark the behavior and then play again (either throw the toy or present it for tugging).
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 10:37 PM
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teach him "come".

teach him "leave it" or
whatever command you
want for the release.

ripping the toy out of his
mouth could cause harm
to his mouth/teeth.
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 10:44 PM
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If you use the two toy method pray your GSD doesn't decide to cram both toys in mouth and refuse to release,lol My lab is famous for running around double balled- though he does drop it on command. Your pup is trying to play a game with you and is still young. If you aren't going to compete in anything later down the road why not play back? I would chase, run away from, and even fetch my own stick with Zoe to teach her our playtime was fun. She drops it now, but didn't always at that age and the more you want them to drop it- the less likely they are sometimes. Make a big goof out of yourself- love your own ball and ignore him while you run and play with it! He'll join in wanting to play back and end up dropping his toy for yours. Then mark the good behavior and have fun.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 08-12-2010, 10:49 PM
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First I taught 'drop it' then used the two frisbee ploy- when he brings one back he had to drop it before I'll throw the other one. He still likes to hang on to it until I say the words, but he'll do it.
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