Fetch woes.

Discussion in 'Dog Training Forum' started by GlassOnion, Mar 1, 2010.

  1. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion Thanks, and Gig 'em.

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    Been trying to train Nikki how to fetch, and she's real good at the "run really fast towards the ball and try to nab it in your mouth then wipe out because you have no coordination" part of it, and she does eventually grab it, but sometimes she'll just grab it and then see a stick or something and chew on that. Or just drop the ball and go off wandering else where.

    If I play with the stick instead (since she obviously likes it better than the ball) she'll follow the same fetch routine, but she just stops and chews on the stick.

    Other times, she does well at coming back to you, but the problem is she over shoots you instead of stopping in front, so it's hard to reward her at the right time because she just keeps going. Also if you reward her too soon, she drops the ball too early and goes after the treat instead. You can tell she knows that the 'click' is a good thing but she loses all interest in what she's doing once she hears it, because it's like "I've done my job, you've rewarded me, let's see the treats or move onto something else".

    So I'm at a loss. I've never been good at training dogs to fetch (most of them never had the drive to even go get the ball, and Leo [the only one who would actually fetch after the ball] just grabs the ball then runs and hides it) and don't know how to even begin with the next part of it.
     
  2. FourPaws

    FourPaws New Member

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    Firstly, how old is she? if she is too young, it is natural for her to have the attention span of a gnat. Be patient.

    But if age isn't the problem, perhaps the training method is to blame?

    How engaged with the game are you? are you getting her worked up before you throw the ball / stick/ frisbee etc? A dog must see the action of running to get something as something fun and exciting.

    An important note here, is that you MUST use a toy that Nikki absolutely adores. After all, WHY would she go to get a ball she doesnt care about? What is the point? The aim of the game is to reinforce natural habits, and slightly modify them.

    Sometimes, when I have trouble making a dog run after something, what I do is I hold the toy in my hand and run along with it, with the dog running beside me. When the dog is used to that action, I then "drop" the toy. This usually results in the dog picking the toy up, and when she does, PRAISE her immensely! That is positive progress.

    Once she is used to the action of picking up the toy, you can progress to throwing it SMALL distances. You dont want her to think you're throwing it away, because she will want to stay by you. When she has picked it up, call her to you in the happiest voice you can muster.

    Repeat as necessary, and when she gets used to picking up the toy, gradually increase the distance you throw it.

    Best of luck
     
  3. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion Thanks, and Gig 'em.

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    5 months. Think that's too young? She has a pretty good attention span but she's prone to the 'ooooh shinies' as well.


    Yah I like to get her worked up about it.

    Well she does like playing with her balls, but maybe I should use her pull toy instead. Problem is that with her rope (which she does 'absolutely adore') is that she likes to play with it by herself (slinging it around and what not), so I think that'd amplify the 'can't get her to bring it back' problem.
     
  4. Criosphynx

    Criosphynx New Member

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    There is som'thing called backchaining that I would recommend...you basically break down the behavior in reverse. (short version)You would have the dog mouth the ball and give it back to you, then pick up and give it to you...toss it like 6 inches and give it to you and so on...

    as far as getting her to chase it, if you throw it and chase it, that should help her get the idea :)
     
  5. OutlineACDs

    OutlineACDs Crazy Dog!

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    Long line. Either for the dog or the toy. :)

    Also, when she picks up the toy say "Yay!! Wooohooo!" and run in the other direction to encourage her to chase you. Play tug with her when she gets to you, and let her win a lot. I reccommend a ball on a rope or fleecy toy with a ball.

    Teach a solid "Out" (I use "off") by having her in a really exciting game of tug, suddenly stop, say "out" and place a cookie right on her nose. When she drops the toy praise and give her the cookie, then engage in another tug game.

    But the long line will help. You can reel her in if she decides not to come back, or if she wants to lay down and just chew the toy alone you can reel the toy in (with her attached) and then play tug. Try shorter retrieves with you running away when she picks up the toy.
     
  6. GlassOnion

    GlassOnion Thanks, and Gig 'em.

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    Ya know the long line is a good idea. That's what we use to teach 'come', not sure why I didn't think of it for fetch. It's the exact same thing just without a preemptive command.
     
  7. pitbullpony

    pitbullpony BSL Can Be Beaten

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    ^^^^ Thanks guys (I was spying on this thread too). Dora does basically what GO was saying; she'll run, she'll pick it up in her mouth; then it's a 50/50 split on lie down and chew or go slinging it around and pouncing on it.

    If I turn and run to encourage her; she'll spit the toy and come get me, if I call her without a treat/click; she'll drop the toy and come/ with a treat/click; she just spits the toy and comes and waits for the treat.

    Better to long line and use a separate command word. Cool; have to try it.
     
  8. Maura

    Maura New Member

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    She doesn't know what you want her to do. Follow Chriosphynx's suggestion of back chaining. Teach her to take the ball, then trade the ball for a treat. Give her back the ball. If you want her sitting front and center to you, then teach it with her sitting front and center. I wish I'd done this. I taught fetch the way you are, and it didn't work very well.

    Use the long line when you are tossing the ball more than a couple of steps away, and increase the distance gradually. When she is giving you the ball, praise when the ball drops in your hand. Don't keep praising for the pick up, reintroduce the pick up praise when she is at a point that she has to look for the object, and then use a "good girl", saving the praise and/or treat for the hand drop.
     
  9. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    I completely back chained fetch with Meg. As in starting with "touch the ball with your nose". She had less than zero interest in toys or fetch at the time. We played inside for a few days only, to get the pattern down before adding in outdoor distractions.

    While you certainly want to play with the toy she likes, you want to make sure you have something higher up the chain of desires to reward with. After all, if the ball is the most amazing favorite thing in the world - why would she want to race back and give it up to you? Meg is so much more food driven than toy driven, it was fairly easy to find treats she wanted more than the ball. I know with flyball people I've spoken to, they say that despite common belief, it isn't the insane ball-driven dog who is best to train - it's the tug dogs. Because the tug dogs are going to race back twice as fast to get to what they really want.
     
  10. FourPaws

    FourPaws New Member

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    That is so true. Tug dogs absolutely RACE back to you, often faster than their little feet will carry them, just so you will play tug of war with them.

    With tug dogs, their instinct is to NOT let the ball/toy go after they bring it back, which can slow progress significantly, because you must teach them two things at once, fetching, and letting the ball go after they bring it back. (instead of tugging, and changing the game)
     
  11. BostonBanker

    BostonBanker Active Member

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    The way I've seen it taught is that dropping the ball or fetch toy results in the reward of playing tug with a different toy the owner has on them. So you get the race back to you, and the drop, then reward with the tug.

    Having said that, my dog has to be coaxed into tugging, so we reward with cookies :D
     

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