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Thread: Havoing trouble playing fetch

  1. #1
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    Default Havoing trouble playing fetch

    Hi All,

    My 7 month old border collie is having trouble playing fetch.

    She is always really excited to play, and when I am holding the ball she is ready to go, but when I throw it, sometimes she only runs a short distance and then stops and stares at me like shes waiting for something. She will eventually go and get it if I encourage her enough but she will just slowly walk over and get it.

    I cant find any pattern (distance, angle, time spent playing, etc) because sometimes she is keen as anything to play and will blister after the ball and be a good puppy, but it's really frustrating when I am the one always fetching the ball!

    She is in prime health so I'm not worried about her joints or anything, I think she is just being a princess!

    Has anyone got any advice?

  2. #2
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    Well mine got the hang of it when she watched another dog fetch the ball, that is also how she got toilet trained younger than I expected after having owned lab dogs previously.
    I know some BC do not care about balls so it may not be something that excites her! Having said that it is a way to keep them exercised so useful.
    When she is keen give her excited praise and stop before she gets bored. They are a smart breed and if that was my Maggie she would be enjoying a game watching me fetch the ball for her! She would see that as the game.
    I have said in other posts I get trained by her sometimes before I catch up....lol

  3. #3
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    Thank you for your advice!

    Millie is still very keen to play with the ball at other times, when I get home from work she always pressures me to take her to the oval for a throw, and if there is a ball around she always has it in her mouth or drops it ready for me to throw it. She prefers a ball over any other toy also, if given the chance she always goes for it.

    I am making sure that when she does go after the ball and bring it back I give her lots of praise also, she isn't very food driven to the point where she won't take a treat if she has a ball waiting to be thrown.

    Maybe she is just being a little princess who doesn't like to run, but that surprises me being a BC seeing as they are so energetic!
    Last edited by Becca; 02-11-2015 at 03:45 PM.

  4. #4
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    Also make the distance shorter and if she does not go run with her and play really exited......i do a lot of yayyy and happy stuff and bounce the ball for them when they get there..

    As soon as she does a good one at short distance.STOP.... reward and put the ball away, thry again the next day and again when she does a good one Stop...Sometimes we confuse the dog, because we keep going and they don't know what we want, becuase we keep throwing it. let them know with a Click/treat it is the right thing and openly put the ball in a place out of reach....it makes the ball special and exiting. Eventually increase distance and also the frequency. And sometimes the time will come where you wished you had not trained the dog to fetch. i also use differnt items....sqeaky toys and objects..because the retrieve is very important in Water rescue work, but a lot of people do too much too soon and make it boring, i try to get them to want to retrieve, exitement. I click and treat......i find it helps and is a better rewarding system, eventually the chase and the throw becomes the reward........And i also have them retrieve and reward with a tug, just for a change......and they love the tugs even more, so again it is the reward. i will also throw the tug and they bring it back, we either tug or i say thank you which means give it to me. Everything I do with my dogs in water rescue has to do with Take it, retrieve and pull.......if they will not pick up the item, I shape that
    Last edited by newfsie; 02-11-2015 at 03:56 PM.
    Pets are forever

  5. #5
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    Intersting the reward ladder of desire- for Maggie it is
    Ball
    Ball
    Ball
    Walk
    Waterplay
    Bucket- favourite toy she kills a cheap $1 bucket most weeks
    Food
    Makes it tricky for training as she is not interested in food when distracted or excited or really if anything at all interesting is happening. Gotta love em
    Oh yes I have a special ball that only I use to play and it is put away after. Makes it very special.
    Last edited by farrview; 02-11-2015 at 07:45 PM.

  6. #6
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    My dog will beg for the ball at the beach - fetch it about three times - and I make her work for each throw (has to do a sit, drop, stay - facing the direction I intend to throw it - to reduce the chance of joint injury on the spin... runs in the water and has a good chew on the ball and then she might bring it back...

    If it's not going how you want - you have to look at what you're rewarding. You also need to quit while the dog wants more. So count how many throws you get before the return starts to get a bit slow and / or indirect and put the ball away. Next time - do one less throw than that so you're not building in the crappy retrieve and put the ball away.

    Each throw of the ball is a reward for the previous retrieve, and any behaviours between. So just make sure each throw is earned with what ever dog tricks you want her to be doing at the time.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for everyone's advice - I took a frisbee out last night instead of a ball and she seemed to like it much more. Between throws I was playing tug with her and she was really excited and never once stopped chasing it when I threw it. I also couldn't throw it as far as a ball so I think she liked that too.

    I think she really was getting bored of the ball, mixing it up seemed to really help out!

  8. #8
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    Hi Becca

    you could try putting the ball in an old football sock and chucking that... and then you can play tug when the dog brings it back.

    But now - tug is the reward - which is really helpful for most kinds of dog training especially agility... so you try to get her to do some sort of trick before each time you play tug...

  9. #9
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    But....if you are teaching retrieve the reward is not the throw, you have to reward the going and also the coming back, hence the click and rewrd works best...if they love the chasing, than the throw is the reward, if they love tugging it is also a reward. you at first have to make sure what the dog enjoys and if it is a reward for the dog........gets kinda complicated. And you need to pin exactly what you reward, hence again a click is best
    Pets are forever

  10. #10
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    I'm not sure about click or the word yes...

    again it's all in the reward and my dog's thing - most of the time is food... so

    If I click or say yes, she's right there going "where's my treat?". Which isn't what you want with a retrieve.

    then you have to be really careful about progressing what she has to do to earn a click and trying to get the reward (food, ball, tug) where she doesn't come back to you without the fetch...

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