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fetch training

Discussion in 'Dog Training and Behaviour' started by zozzen, Jul 5, 2009.


  1. zozzen

    zozzen PetForums Junior

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    Hi,

    my 1-year-old dog has started her obedience training last week. Simple commands like "sit", "come", well eating behaviour and leash training has almost been done, but she has a problem on fetching.

    When i threw her favourite toy, she never picked it up. I put a long rope on her and get her there, ask her to do it. It just didn't work. Could anyone give me advice on this?
     
  2. Sleeping_Lion

    Sleeping_Lion Banned

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    What sort of dog is she?

    Tennis balls are good for training retrieves with, nice easy shape for the dog to hold in its mouth, sometimes a toy can be quite difficult to hold and carry. Squeaky toys encourage mouthing so I wouldn't use one of those, just so you're aware.

    Retrieves have to be fun, and the dog has to want the object (obviously), but if you're just throwing it away, with a dog that isn't a natural retriever (even if breed specific) it won't be interested.

    A lot of the training I do with Tau is based around getting her to work on my terms, the retrieve is a small part of what I do with her, which surprises some people who assume that a gundog just goes out and retrieves things, and so that's what you would focus on. In actual fact the main focus for her is 'steadiness', the bit that gets her tolisten to me, and work on my terms. Sometimes a training session will just involve sitting her and throwing tennis balls or dummies around her, over her, with me walking round, picking them up and throwing them; she won't get one retrieve. When she does get to retrieve, she is that much more focused and keen for the steadiness training we've done.

    Another thing that puts dogs off retrieving, is they get pounced on by their owners when they return with the object, who are keen to grab it out of their mouth before its dropped. And if they do spit, the owner then gets in the habit of picking it up off the floor. Instead, if you let the dog come in to you and praise them, you can usually get a nice delivery from them as they not expecting to be mugged for the object. Even get down on their level, so you're not leaning over them, to encourage them to come in close with whatever it is.

    With a dog that's really been put off retrieving, for whatever reason, I'd make a bit of a game to get them going. Sit them on lead, so you can physically hold them back, and throw out the ball/toy a few feet in front of you, gee them up a bit and make a great game of winning the first couple of times by getting to the ball/toy first, and then start to let them win and get to it first. If they don't actually pick it up don't worry, just build up the desire to get to it. Importantly, don't overdo it, only spend about five mins max per day, its so easy to switch a dog off even if they appear enthusiastic, short regular sessions work much better.

    Once you've built in the desire to get to the object, hopefully the retrieving bit will come on. I'd also be tempted to either take up any toys left round, or only use a few particular toys for retrieving that are kept aside just for that.
     
    alphadog likes this.
  3. zozzen

    zozzen PetForums Junior

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    thanks Lion, its very comprehensive. My dog is a toy breed with the blood of Pekingese.

    Tennis ball seems too big for her mouth. A few days ago, i found that a rolling small medicine bottle fall off the table , she picked this up and returned it to me for a few times. After that, it doesn't work anymore.

    I guess more patience is needed to train her.
     
  4. Sleeping_Lion

    Sleeping_Lion Banned

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    Old socks make a good retrieve toy, in fact I get Tau to fetch me any dirty socks I've dropped for the laundry, she'll pick up most things for me if I encourage her. Just don't leave any lying around that she might swallow if she's a chewer.

    With the medicine bottle, I would try it again, just once, even if you get a perfect retrieve and delivery, leave it at that. It always helps if you achieve something and get it right together, it gives you something to build on.
     
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