Teaching 6m old puppy to "drop it" during fetch

Discussion in 'Dog Training: Principle and Practice' started by chelseaoliviaxo, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. chelseaoliviaxo

    chelseaoliviaxo Registered Users

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    My puppy LOVES fetch and we've been playing it for months now, however I am becoming increasingly frustrated that he won't "drop it". Instead of bringing whatever he's fetching directly back to me, he brings it off to the side like 5-10 feet away and I have to go to him for it. Even then, or in the instance that he does happen to bring it somewhere near me, he will very, very rarely drop it. It's beginning to really bug me when I try to play with him so I need some advice on how to train him to do this. I've always offered treats as a reward when we're playing fetch and he does bring it back and drop it, so I'm not sure what else to do to get him to bring the ball back and drop it.
     
  2. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Try using a second ball instead of a treat and see how he does.
     
  3. chelseaoliviaxo

    chelseaoliviaxo Registered Users

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    I have tried that as well, but all it does is get his attention when he's thinking about running off in a different direction or going to have a sniff of something rather than actually bringing the other ball straight back to me.
     
  4. chelseaoliviaxo

    chelseaoliviaxo Registered Users

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    Amazing news- all it took was a super high value treat! Now to buy more dog jerky that costs an arm and a leg... haha.
     
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  5. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    Rather than drop it, train him to put it in your hand :D
     
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  6. chelseaoliviaxo

    chelseaoliviaxo Registered Users

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    Oooooh never thought of that- I'm going to try that next! Thanks
     
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  7. QuinnM15

    QuinnM15 Registered Users

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    Hmm hopefully someone else has better advice - my dog is so ball obsessed getting another throw is her highest reward over anything!
    Shows all dogs are different - Quinn is so ball obsessed she wouldn't even look at steak - eye on the ball at all times!!
     
  8. snowbunny

    snowbunny Administrator Forum Supporter

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    You could also try running backwards as he comes towards you to encourage him in.

    Dog jerky? Ew!
     
  9. lynda-Lola

    lynda-Lola Registered Users

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    I have a similar issue with Lola-the tennis ball is a high treat! Lola has always retuned the ball but refuses to drop it. We've used a second ball and this sometimes works, with lola dropping the recently fetched ball and waiting eagerly for the next one. But, when she doesn't give up the ball (to the another ball), I'm stuck-she refuses to come near and under control to get her back on the lead. So, any tips greatly received.
    Lynda
     
  10. JulieT

    JulieT Registered Users

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    I could write an awful lot about this...having a genuinely ball obsessed dog. A ball obsessed dog (if they really are obsessed) is a bad thing, because they will chase any ball, across any obstacle (including water, roads etc) and it's not only annoying, it's dangerous. So the first thing is to be careful what you do with balls if your dog is showing signs of being obsessed by balls. Most dogs are not, thankfully, and are just super keen on balls.

    So, for a dog that is super keen on balls, you have to 'fade out' the second ball. The two ball swap is a good way to get a puppy to start bringing back a ball but, just like misusing food, the second ball is a bribe and becomes part of the cue if it stays visible. This isn't always a terrible thing, I use a blue football to bribe my obsessed dog in an emergency or when not to do so would make things even worse - I've deliberately built up the value of this particular ball - but it's no good to train a dog to bring back a ball in the long run (it's an excellent thing to train for a ball obsessed dog when you have to plan for emergencies though) .

    You can start working on two different things.

    First with the 2 ball thing, you need to start taking the second ball out of sight, and you need to use a marker. So do the two ball swap thing, but use a marker 'yes!' when she drops the first ball, to let her know that's what she gets the second ball for. Then, start moving the second ball out of sight, behind your back, in your pocket etc. and so there is a little gap and the ball is hidden before she gets it. Then, give her a treat before she gets the second ball (to reward the 'yes') but wait a few seconds before you throw the second ball...and so on, until you can just give her a treat for dropping the ball.

    The second thing is just train her to give you things. You can do this in the house - train her to 'give' to put things in your hand. Work on this until in the kitchen etc. she will hand you a ball, then move out to the garden and so on. This 'give' cue can be used to prompt your dog to give you the ball later during a game.
     
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  11. lynda-Lola

    lynda-Lola Registered Users

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    Many thank Julie-this is really helpful will let you know how we get on.
     
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  12. BevE

    BevE Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Hi Stacia,
    My puppy, Bailey, who is 5 1/2 months old, retrieves no problem, but he drops the ball to the floor and it being round,it rolls away. How do I train him to put the ball into my hand? I do use a clicker and he responds really well. The rest of his training is fine, but this is a sticking point and I don't know to overcome it. Do you have any suggestions?
     
  13. Stacia

    Stacia Registered Users

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    You can shape it, but I find that takes ages. You click for a touch of the ball, then the mouth on the ball etc etc etc.

    I found that if I had the clicker and treat and just waited, said nothing, that finally the penny seemed to drop and the dog picked up the ball. Perhaps try it with a dummy which won't roll away. Never reward when the pup puts the retrieve down! You could also teach a palm touch without a retrieve, put your hand down, palm out, when the pup touches it with his nose, click and treat. When you have this as a strong behaviour, try it when he has a ball or dummy and you will find he will attempt to put the ball/dummy into your hand.

    There are several You Tubes I believe on clicking the retrrieve to hand, I am sure someone on the forum will know the sites. I do find them a wee bit long winded though :) However, not everyone would agree with that sentiment.
     
  14. BevE

    BevE Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Thanks Stacia, I'll give that a go with Bailey. He tries hard and I think with this one the problem is me not training it quite the right way
     
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  15. edzbird

    edzbird Supporting Member Forum Supporter

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    Coco will sometimes drop a fetched item early, or off to one side, or even hold on to it, but if I extend my open hand he will come to me and hand it over. I did start off clicker training this, it seems if he sees the clicker he knows he has to try & earn the click, so works out what I'm after.
     
  16. mcatalao

    mcatalao Registered Users

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    "Wha't do you mean???? We're playing freaking Catch, not Drop it!!!!"
     
  17. Bailey48

    Bailey48 Registered Users

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    This is something that has bothered me for some time. My solution, so far, has been to teach her "SIT". I no longer use "stay", sometimes use "Wait". I have been teaching her that "SIT, means SIT", if they will do that, you don't need "stay". Frequently when we are bumper training, or playing in general, I will give her the "SIT" command on the way out to retrieve, and the way back. It has been working pretty well.
     

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