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Discussion Starter #1
Just thought I would mention a weird behavior and see if anyone with workingline dogs knows what this is. When Grimm and I play retrieval games (he LOVES this), I will throw the toy, and say "Bring!" and he zooms off to get it. He brings it back at full tilt, skids to a stop in front of me at a sit, and drops it in my hands. (I never taught him this, he made this game up on his own-- even the sit part
) But then as reward, if I just give the ball or toss the ball to him, he looks all disappointed and sad, hangdog, may drop the ball, usually tries to shove the ball back at ME.

But if I instead take the ball he drops into my hands and ask for a Sitz! or a Fuss! or a few other commands-- then he is SO EXCITED to take the ball when I reward him with it by tossing it to him after the commands! Yippieeeeeee!! Then, he can't wait to zoom off away with the ball, return, and sit in front of me-- clearly wanting commands again, because he seems to believe the quick, zippy, exciting sits, downs, heelwork, etc are all part of the Yippieeeee factor of this game.

Is this unique to Grimm? He is my first workinglines dog. He doesn't just want me to give the ball back to him in a fetch game, he wants to do zippy sits or downs or heeling for it. Is there something important behind this? My last dog was happy to get the ball simply tossed to him as reward during the fetch game. Grimmi only wants that ball toss reward as part of a series of stuff he can be asked to quickly do.
We do have fun though! The nice thing is, he can and will stop the game when I have had enough. While he clearly would love to keep playing this till he drops, he can and does turn it off and settle himself when I am tired of playing, calmly gnawing on the toy quietly himself for a little while until I later put it away.
 

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He is just a clever boy, that's all!

He anticipates you. When you say Sitz! or Fuss, he gets exited, because he KNOWS that there will be more play to come!

Where, if you give him the ball....that's the end of the game (from his point of view).

So, relax, it is not weird behaviour, it is just a sign that you have a very intelligent GSD!
 

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It would seem easier to him to just take the ball for free following a retrieve, as a reward, no? But he clearly prefers the interaction of the he-and-me game instead. He wants the commands to come first. Puzzling, but that really seems to jazz him.
 

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That's kind of funny. My brother had a dog that developed a very elaborate set of rules for his game of fetch. On the retrieve he would take what we called a "Victory Lap" around the yard, bring it to your feet and lay down with the frisbee under his feet. You were not allowed to bend over and pick it up. If you did he would run away with it and try again. You had to put your foot on the frisbee along with his. He would then pull it out and push it toward you with his nose signaling that it was OK for you to pick it up. If you didn't know the rules you couldn't play. My brother never tried to change the rules, he just figured, "****, it's his game, let him have his fun."
 

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Great stuff. Gotta love the mind of a GSD.
 

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Originally Posted By: Chris08That's kind of funny. My brother had a dog that developed a very elaborate set of rules for his game of fetch. On the retrieve he would take what we called a "Victory Lap" around the yard, bring it to your feet and lay down with the frisbee under his feet. You were not allowed to bend over and pick it up. If you did he would run away with it and try again. You had to put your foot on the frisbee along with his. He would then pull it out and push it toward you with his nose signaling that it was OK for you to pick it up. If you didn't know the rules you couldn't play. My brother never tried to change the rules, he just figured, "****, it's his game, let him have his fun."
That is actually a dominance issue. Fairly harmless maybe, but long term I would not allow it. The dog needs to know that all his toys belong to me and must surrender them upon request. However, that is a normal dominance behavior and I will play along to a point with my pup, but I want him to know when I'm serious and he has to give it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Any insight into why he doesn't just want the ball as the reward after the retrieve? He honestly doesn't want it if I just give or toss it as a reward after the retrieve.. he wants to Sitz, Platz, or something.. a few zippy commands, and then it is FUN for him to have the ball as reward. Okay.. maybe my dog is the only one with this quirk LOL! I get the feeling that he likes the "together" and the "us" part of it.
 

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I noticed similar things as well. There are times when she will not take something I am offering her - treats, food, toys, etc. If I make her do a few commands and then offer it, she takes it readily.

I always figured she felt she had to earn it, and the fun was earning a reward item, not just acquiring it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Exactly-- there's somehow a value to the object after the working for it.. or the value is the working/game itself? I'm not sure what I'm seeing. But that is exactly it. (okay, Grimm oinks down all treats readily, but wants to work for toys when it is part of the retrieve game)
 

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Because the ball itself is not the reward, the reward is the interaction with you, is to know that you are happy with him and then you play together.

When you toss the ball, he brings it, you toss it, he brings it... he knows your mind can be miles away from the game and he knows that when he does something for you and you make a party for him then you are truly connected to him.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
You may have it exactly. The interaction seems to be the reward. It is so odd, it is like it isn't legitimite or fun as a reward until yippieeeeeeee he has sat or heeled for it, then we both kinda yahooooo.
 

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Chara, my ball crazy girl also does this.

She will drop the ball in my lap or hand and won't chase it until she sits, downs........... I did not teach her this, it's her own little game!!

I do have to end the game as she would do this 24/7!! I have balls hidden all over the yard so she can't find them!!
 
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