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Suggestions on teaching to play

Discussion in 'Dog Chat' started by Gilly and Jess, Mar 22, 2011.


  1. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    I wonder if anyone has any ideas on how I can teach Jess to play with toys, both at home and out walking?

    She's a cross collie (tho I'm more inclined to think spaniel cross) and she's 6 years old now. She's been with me for just over a month and she's doing really well on her obedience training.

    Doesn't matter how hard I try, I can't get her to play with anything. She's not interested in a ball for any more than 2 or 3 minutes and that's only in the house. She'll play with me on the floor with it, it lasts a few minutes and that's it. She's not interested AT ALL outside, when you throw a ball for her she just looks at you as if to say "yeah? what about it?".

    I tried a rope knot with her yesterday, hoping to start a game of tug with her. She took the rope in her mouth, turned round, put it down and laid down. I've had to resort to throwing food around for her out on our walks, but I'm wary of doing that too much as a couple of friends have commented on how she's beefed up since I took her. I don't want her getting fat, but I can't seem to rouse her interest.

    Any ideas anyone? Please? I'd like to make her walks more energetic for her, but it's just not happening.....
     
  2. What ever cross she may be they are both breeds of dog that should be highly interested in ball/fetch games.

    That said, some dogs are just not intersted.

    What does "turn her on" excitement wise is my first question?
     
  3. bobbyw

    bobbyw PetForums Senior

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    I'll be watching this with interest as my 7 year old rescue chap is the same (has him 2 months). He is a lab collie x and he just doesn't seem to 'get' toys. He likes treats but I have tried every type of toy (excluding ones you put treats in, he will play with those to get at the treats) but it would be nice to be able to motivate him so that we could play in the park.
     
  4. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    In a nutshell? FOOD! That's it. And the knowledge that she's going for a walk! She's animated as all hell when she sees me getting my shoes on and getting her lead in my hand, all four paws leave the ground with excitement whilst her eyes are glistening!

    Out on the walk, when she's let off lead she'll shoot off initially and sniff around. Her recall is fantastic, because I've taught her it with food. I'm reducing the food now because the recall is there 100%. If I could recall her with a ball and chuck it long distance for her, I'd love it! I can throw her treats around as far as I can and she'll shoot off to sniff it out, but toys? Not a chance! nothing.
     
  5. There you go, teach her to fetch with food.

    Start off at a very small distance and work up to lobbing the ball as far as you can.

    Never treat unless she fetch it.

    Once you mastered that, work on the "wait" before the fetch :D

    Always get very excited yourself when she does it followed by heaps of praise
     
  6. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    So are you suggesting I encourage her to fetch me the ball and reward her? I can see how that would work, but even when I rolled the ball 6 inches in front of her yesterday she just sat and looked at it. I picked it up, rolled it again, nothing.

    Sometimes when I roll it inside, I get down on all fours and pad along the floor to race her to it, that gets her interested for a few minutes, she'll grab it, hide it under her chin and we'll repeat, then she's lost interest.

    Tried to do the same outside and she just won't go for it.

    So if I show her I have food, and show her to bring me the ball I might get somewhere?
     
  7. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Out on the walk, when she's let off lead she'll shoot off initially and sniff around. Her recall is fantastic, because I've taught her it with food. I'm reducing the food now because the recall is there 100%. If I could recall her with a ball and chuck it long distance for her, I'd love it! I can throw her treats around as far as I can and she'll shoot off to sniff it out, but toys? Not a chance! nothing.[/QUOTE]

    OK I'll do my best:

    There are at least two ways you can tackle this - both require a bit of patience and perseverance:

    1. Use a clicker (or clicker word like "yes").
    Throw her tuggy toy or ball and when she runs after it click and reward with a titbit. Once you have repeated several times then up the anti and only click when she touches the toy with her nose and again repeat several times. Once she's done that up the anti again and only click when she actually gets hold of the toy and so on and so on. Don't say anything, let her work it out.

    2. Get an old tennis ball and make a slit in it and insert a smelly titbit.
    Have her sitting besides you and say something like "whats this". As she looks at your hand and the ball, squeeze the titbit into her mouth. Do this several times until shes very interested in the ball. Again move the goalpost and only squeeze the titbit into her mouth after she has run after it. If you persevere you should find that she is running after the ball and bringing it back to you for the tit-bit.

    Hope this helps.
     
  8. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    Cool! I have a clicker, I'll try that with her. So it's click and reward for the slightest interest and then when she's got that down pat, it's click and reward for further interest than usual? I can see how that'll work.

    The tennis ball I never even thought of. I did think about dipping her rubber ball in something this afternoon but tennis ball would obviously be the secret.

    So once again, it's all food oriented, :lol: she's gonna be a barrel before we've got everything learned!!

    She's gonna need the damned ball to get rid of it all!!

    Thank you, I'll try those methods tomorrow. Spend some time in the park with her on it while the kids are at school and we've got some peace!
     
  9. Twiggy

    Twiggy PetForums VIP

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    Cut her food rations down whilst you are using a lot of tit-bits. As you progress with either of these methods the toy/ball becomes more and the tit-bits less ie once she is running after the tennis ball you would only squeeze the tit-bit out every other throw and then every third throw etc.
     
  10. If that is what floats her boat, you are going to have to be imaginative.

    The split tennis ball is an great idea.
     
  11. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    It is, indeed! Hadn't thought of it myself, I shall certainly try it. I'm willing to try anything that makes her walks more interesting and more tiring for her. She must get bored of running for food that only flies so far when it's thrown!

    I can't wait for tomorrow now! :D
     
  12. Sled dog hotel

    Sled dog hotel PetForums VIP

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    You can get treat balls, that you fill with kibble (you can use some from her daily allowance) you then set them to distribute pieces of kibble as they roll around. If she is a foodie, that might get her interest. You could try a Kong too, if she hasnt got one already, solid hard hollow rubber toys that you can stuff, with wet food, freezing them to make them last longer, You could smear the inside with peanut butter, cheese spread, liver pate etc too, and you can throw them and they bounce at odd angles, so something like that may get her interest. Another game could be using her nose, liquidising chicken and left overs to make a soup, putting it in a squeezy bottle and laying trails in the garden, with a goodie like a small biscuit or something at the end of the trail for her to find it. If she doesnt like plain "boring toys" like balls and tuggers, you can get a toy called a skineeze, these look like various animals but they are flat and have a tail and squeakers you can get ones like squirrels for example, maybe the "fur" and the squakers will get her prey drive going so she may be interested in something like that. You could also use "smelly" treats and do things like hiding them, for her to sniff out under cushions and things, initially making it easy for her to find, and it she is interested, and likes the game, hide them in more ingenious places, so she has to work a bit harder to sniff them out and find them.

    Hope this might give you some ideas if they are things you havent tried already.
     
  13. Gilly and Jess

    Gilly and Jess PetForums Senior

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    Those sound like fantastic ideas! thank you very much.

    I don't have a kong yet, but I'm going to get one. I tried the sterilized bones with her that I stuffed, in an effort to crate train but she just knew that when she got one of those in her crate I was going out and she wouldn't touch it, just barked and barked......:(

    I've spent half an hour outside this morning with the rubber ball and a clicker, we didn't get very far because she just kept chasing my hands around me cos she knew I had treats in them ready to give her when she touched the ball.......She touched the ball a couple of times, I clicked and rewarded and then she just wouldn't do it any more.

    So I will try some of those other ideas....I'll keep going with the ball tho, it's only early days in teaching her, I want for her to get a good run about on a walk once she's learned how to play with it.
     
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