North/South Fetch

North/South Fetch

As a fellow in the field trial training group said, my dog would “trieve” but he wouldn’t “re”. He’d go like a shot to get a bumper but would take his sweet time bringing it back, if he brought it back at all. None of any of the trainers’ ideas worked. My trainer was not fond of Force Fetch but he said it was a last resort we could try. We also agreed to try an electronic collar but I found this North/South idea on a UK gundog site and it worked a charm for us. Saved me a lot of money for the E-collar I picked out too. This is so simple it’s hard to believe but It worked for me.

Two tennis balls, throw one north. As soon as dog gets it and looks up throw the second one south. To get it your dog has to run right by you. Don’t worry about him retrieving just yet, you go pick up the first ball and get the second one back however you can. Do it again. Go at your dog’s speed. My dog understood this in 10 throws. I quit at 10. By 7 throws he was bringing the first ball to me, dropping it, and I was only throwing the one ball. Quit while you are ahead, don’t wait for lagging interest or attention.

Two days later I took my dog, he was nearly 2 years old, out again and we morphed the dropping of the first ball into a formal GIVE with a SWING to HEEL. He already knew these three things.

I think this worked so well for us because it taught him the return to me earned immediate reward that other methods I tried didn’t. He learned by the second throw taking him past me in the opposite direction. The strongest reward for my dog was for me to throw the ball again and doing it twice every time finally made that retrieve click in his mind. I was able to build in delay and demand more performance after he clicked he would get another throw.

I did also morph this into a whistle recall by simply repeating the beginning steps. Three tweets, he’d look, I’d throw the ball north (assuming he was south) and he understood in very little time. I can whistle him off deer, wild turkeys, ATVs and snowmobiles. Actually, now that we’ve been doing this for 5 years he’s got so the sight and sound of ATVs and snowmobiles mean I will throw the ball for him and he comes to me without me having to whistle at all. Of course I did have to whistle at first.

If you try this and it works for you I’d love to know. Leave me a note as to how it goes for you. It was a miracle find for us.

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