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    1. #1
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      amandalmw's Avatar
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      No Interest In Fetch

      So naturally you'd think a labrador would instinctively be great at fetch...not our Stig.

      He loves to go after a ball, frisbee, or anything else we throw BUT he will not bring it back. I take that back...he'll bring it back to us ONLY if we have treats to give him. We've been working on this since we got him, but he has no interest in giving us back anything unless we bribe him with treats. My husband would like to hunt with him this coming fall/winter, so we're a bit worried about this. What's interesting is that we'll play a bit of fetch in the house while watching tv at night & he's much better at bringing his toy back to us without treats.

      Does anyone have any tips or suggestions to get him to bring us what he retrieves without using food as a bribe?

    2. #2
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      If you want him to retrieve as a job (hunting, obedience, etc.) then you have to treat it less like a game and more like an exercise, much like you have taught sit or leave it. You can still have fun and praise, but as you know, there's a difference between playing around and training.

      Does he lay there and chew it? Ignore it? Run away with it? And, what do you do when he doesn't bring it back? Knowing this will help.

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    4. #3
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      Repetition in hallways worked for us when our girl didn't want to fetch. Don't keep playing of he doesn't bring it back.

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    6. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by Labradorks View Post
      If you want him to retrieve as a job (hunting, obedience, etc.) then you have to treat it less like a game and more like an exercise, much like you have taught sit or leave it. You can still have fun and praise, but as you know, there's a difference between playing around and training.

      Does he lay there and chew it? Ignore it? Run away with it? And, what do you do when he doesn't bring it back? Knowing this will help.
      He wants us to chase him...like a game. If we try to grab the ball or whatever he has, he runs away. If we do not have treats, we stop "playing" with him.

      Quote Originally Posted by AlexS View Post
      Repetition in hallways worked for us when our girl didn't want to fetch. Don't keep playing of he doesn't bring it back.
      I feel like at this point her should have gotten it by now, but I guess not. We don't continue to play with him when he doesn't bring it back.

    7. #5
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      Labradorks's Avatar
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      Like AlexS said, try the hallway, doors closed. Do that for awhile, then move into a larger part of the house for a while, then the yard -- add a long-line so he cannot get away with it.

      Also, whatever you play fetch with, make sure it's something he LOVES and ONLY let him have it during these games of fetch. Throw it, hold him by the collar, get him excited about it (say, "ready? ready?"), tell him to fetch it, then get him to bring it back. One way to get him to bring it to you is by running away from him so that he chases you. Make it a fun challenge. Do not give him the opportunity to play keep away. Let's say that he does play keep away in the hall, then you ignore him and put the toy away. You can say "Too bad" like in a really disappointed voice and he'll be like, "What? That's it?". And, this is a biggie, only throw it a few times BEFORE his excitement wanes. If that means one throw, so be it. It's usually about three. And, that is the only time you play fetch with him. Eventually, he will covet that game, the toy, your attention, etc. and will do whatever it takes!

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    9. #6
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      Although Dan is great at returning things on his own, I taught him "bring it" for the times when he's a bit distracted by something else. (bring it...with a long line, reeling him in at the end of the fetch even if he already starts back)

      I also taught "take it" for something I want him to pick up. (I guess you could also apply that when you throw something out instead of saying "fetch"...I don't say anything because Dan already knows he's to follow what I throw)

      When he returns something, I say "give".

      I've had dogs in the past who weren't at all interested in fetch...mostly just didn't want to follow the ball out in the first place. And I've had puppies not interested who became interested with age.

      Sunnie's interested only when Dan's involved and she thinks she'll be able to play "keep away"...she's never returned anything to me.
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      Danny: The Sundance Kid....Sunnie's boy....birth 03/31/09 (in my living room)

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    10. #7
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      I suspect getting your dog to fetch for fun and fetch for hunting are 2 different kinds of activities. There are some hunters on this board who hunt with their dogs and others who have trained the skills for competitions. It's more than just training the dog to bring something back to you, but learning to sit quietly by their owner, return to the owner when called, go out for something that wasn't thrown for them and being able to recognize what they've been sent out to retrieve and bring it back without tearing it up in the process. If he really wants to hunt with your dog and have the dog understand what he's doing out there in the woods, you'll probably need to look into a more formal training program or enlist the help of someone who has trained their dogs for hunting. One of our members who trains hunting dogs is away for the next year but if you post your question under the Hunting section, maybe some of the hunters who hang out there can offer some suggestions, too.
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    12. #8
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      So as someone at our field training said, Stig will "trieve but not RE" . We struggled with this too and had no success until we discovered North/South Fetch on a UK gundog site. Where FF and E-collars were frowned upon (at least by the people on that board). This worked for us but the caveat is we did not go on to even the planned first hunt test and my OH no longer hunts.

      Snowshoe's Album: North/South Fetch

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    14. #9
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      Have you tried with two toys? You throw one and when he runs back you show him you have another one in your hand Then you throw the other one when he brings back the first one.

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    16. #10
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      I agree with Smartrock that if you really want to hunt, getting a good trainer is a good idea. The dog probably knows the retrieve, it's just not been handled correctly in one way or the other. As in all training, experienced or not, it's usually handler error. It is always nice to have someone there to point out what you're doing wrong and give suggestions based on what they are seeing.

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