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Discussion Starter #1
Hey y'all! It's been awhile.

I have a 5 1/2 month-old Czech WL puppy who I just adore. He's an IPO prospect, and he's showing so many wonderful qualities already. He has high food and toy drive, is a natural tracker, and shows crazy prey drive in protection. He is truly everything I wanted and more.

The one and only thing I've run into with him is that he has no idea how to play fetch. He would throw himself off a building for a ball, so the drive is absolutely there. He gets super amped while it's in my hand, chases it immediately when it's thrown, and then......nothing. He'll pick it up for a second, look at me, drop it back on the ground, and then either stand over it staring at me or will leave the ball on the ground and run back to me without it. If he does pick it up and hold it, he will take it away and lay down with it rather than bringing it back to me. I can't figure it out!

It's almost as if he's too engaged with me, if that makes sense? He knows that the ball is coming from me, and he assumes that if he just waits long enough, I'll either come get it and throw it again, or pull another one out for him to chase. He doesn't understand that if he picks it up and brings it to me, the game continues.

Any insight or suggestions? We've been using a ball on a rope and I'd like to continue with that. The drive is there, I just need help figuring out how to help him put things together!
 

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Can you get another dog who can show him what to do. Otherwise start out tossing close and encourage him with treats when he brings it back.
 

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Can you get another dog who can show him what to do. Otherwise start out tossing close and encourage him with treats when he brings it back.

To be totally honest, I think playing with our other dog has kind of influenced the problem. My older female fetches like a champ, but she beats him to the ball each time and brings it back to me immediately. He chases the ball, but she's older and faster so she always wins. I almost wonder if he just thinks "well someone will get it" whether it's her or me because of that.
 

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Will he push it back into you if you are tugging and you let him win and then you back up a tad?
Yes, as long as I'm moving and being "exciting." Otherwise he tends to drop it on the ground and come to me without it. Every once in a while he'll try to take it away and go lay down. It's really weird. It was like he'd spit it out and immediately come stare at me, ready to engage, but without his toy. I can't figure him out.
 

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To be totally honest, I think playing with our other dog has kind of influenced the problem. My older female fetches like a champ, but she beats him to the ball each time and brings it back to me immediately. He chases the ball, but she's older and faster so she always wins. I almost wonder if he just thinks "well someone will get it" whether it's her or me because of that.

I play fetch with a 4 year old female and a 7 month old male. When we started this Natty was 5 mos old and I always made them take turns - one then the other. I also use two different colored Kong bones and they learned whose is whose. Dasha is not allowed to go after Natty's or vice versa. I always call the name of the dog whose bone is being thrown. Natty, the younger, never tries to go after Dasha's bone. I think he knows he can't beat her to it. It takes some persuasion and reminders to keep Dasha from going after his. Interestingly, one day I called Dasha's name but threw Natty's bone. She went after it, instead of him, but when she got to it, she looked at it but didn't pick it up. She knew it wasn't hers. :grin2:
 

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Susan Garrett's video is EXACTLY what you need to do! She's such a pleasure to watch! It works every time! And do you know why? Her every action is based on watching the puppy's reaction to her actions. It's all about tuning in to the puppy or dog in front of you!
 

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I start with tugging first. Wait until he is fully into it. Then let go of the toy. When he picks it up and comes back for more tug, he is retrieving! So the tug becomes the reward for the fetch. Also teach the "OUT" at the same time. Put the two together and voila. Has always worked with any dog, even my sight hounds. But increase distance very gradually.
 

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I start with tugging first. Wait until he is fully into it. Then let go of the toy. When he picks it up and comes back for more tug, he is retrieving! So the tug becomes the reward for the fetch. Also teach the "OUT" at the same time. Put the two together and voila. Has always worked with any dog, even my sight hounds. But increase distance very gradually.
Maybe I'm trying to increase distance too quickly. What would you do if you had a puppy who dropped the ball after you let go or tried to run off with it?
 

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Can you elaborate a little? I would definitely use two ball for outing if he would pick up the dang ball in the first place, lol!
Oh I didn't get he wouldn't pick up the ball, thought he wouldn't retrieve and/or out it.
Flirt pole with a ball on the end or just a ball on a rope to build prey bite drive?
 

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Maybe I'm trying to increase distance too quickly. What would you do if you had a puppy who dropped the ball after you let go or tried to run off with it?
First, get the tug solid. Increase distance one ft at a time. He is a pup and can't oversee distance yet. I usually do not play more than three times in a row with a young pup. If he loses interest you played too long. So stop while it is still fun; take the toy and say something like "All Done!" and stick with it. If he drops the ball or doesn't come back, I turn and walk away and let him have the ball but there will no more play. I consider that feedback from the pup; played too long.
Also keep it interesting by hiding the toy behind you and let him find it and "Yeah!!!!" Play tug again.
Make and keep it fun. Take your time, he hopefully lives for a long time.
 

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To be totally honest, I think playing with our other dog has kind of influenced the problem. My older female fetches like a champ, but she beats him to the ball each time and brings it back to me immediately. He chases the ball, but she's older and faster so she always wins. I almost wonder if he just thinks "well someone will get it" whether it's her or me because of that.
I would think you could entice your puppy by taking turns or giving her a very short toss.

Try one on one after playing with both of them.

Try using a fluffy squeaky toy but keep her on a leash to encourage her to bring it to you and offer a treat or just huge excitement. :grin2:
 

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Maybe I'm trying to increase distance too quickly. What would you do if you had a puppy who dropped the ball after you let go or tried to run off with it?
So what my trainer said to do with a puppy/dog who dropped the ball/tug after you let go is to be really quick and grab it then play keep away for a few seconds before letting them grab it again. I usually "fake grab" it a few times to get her to realise I'm playing a game that will become "keep away." I'll smack the dog with the tug (gently of course) before turning my body to "hide" the toy, then present it again in front of me so the dog has to move to get it. (Hope that makes sense)

If you're worried about running off, keep him on a long leash so he can't really run off. My trainer's female mali liked to run in circles after she "won" the tug from her. The trainer started keeping her on a long lead and gently guiding her back for more tug. She also mentioned keep sessions super short to begin with - maybe one or two throws/tugs, then put it away so the dog WANTS to do it.
 

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Do the exercise in a hallway or similar structure where the dog can only go after the ball and come back to you. Or you can improvise a hallway by using a fence and putting up an inexpensive temporary wire fence a few feet away that has an end to it that the dog can't get out of. Use a light long line if you need to pop the leash to cue him to bring the toy back. Offer a lot of praise and maybe some food if he has good food drive. Tease him up a lot with the ball and repeat. He really only has the option of bringing the ball back in a hallway. If he just drops the ball at the end of the hallway, tie a long light line to the ball to keep making prey with it.
 
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