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Pup not bringing ball back

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Hi there. I would love some suggestions/tips for my 6month pup to encourage/teach him to bring the ball back.

 

To give you some background, he loves chasing a ball and from a very early age (i.e about 12 weeks), he always bought the ball back and dropped it at my feet ready for the next throw. At this age we were only rolling it a few metres and would only throw it a few times before ending the session. However in the last 3-4 weeks he has started not bringing it back, rather circling and doing loops of me or our yard with the ball in his mouth having a great old time. Although he eventually drops it, it is on his terms, or when I catch him and ask him to drop the ball. I realise he is still very much a baby and he is just having his own fun, however, my plan is for him to be my next agility dog and therefore will be using the ball for training as a reward and to encourage drive, but my criteria will be that he brings it back if he wants it thrown again. If I make him sit, and then bring him back to where I originally threw it and want it returned to (gently leading him back by the collar), he then chases after it but that's it- stops and looks at me with ball on the ground, like I've wreaked his fun,therefore he doesn't want to pick it up at all (but still enthusiastically chases it).

 

I know many people on this board are very against ball throwing and believe it encourages ball obsession, to the point of telling others on here they are bad for encouraging it....and yes, everyone has a right to their own opinion, but that's just what it is, a personal opinion and belief. My training belief is that I would like to use a ball for agility training (coming from training an agility dog who has no ball interest but understanding the benefits of a ball). I don't believe my pup is ball obsessed, as he is equally enthusiastic about tugging and very focused when training with food. He also knows " game over" as meaning that's the end of the game, training session etc.

 

Has anyone got any tips for getting the ball bought back to me, and likewise stoping the "sulk" for want of a better word, when I stop him and ask him to run after it on my terms.

 

Thanks :)

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When I spend some time with Betty and the ball ,if she doesn't bring it all the way then I start walking backwards and tell her to come on. All through the time with the ball we work on various commands together. I find the ball great as a reward and the tug as a general 'fetch' toy. It's no substitute for a good old ramble with her tho.I'm no trainer but it works for me and we both have fun doing it.

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Quit playing ball for a few weeks. You don't like how he's playing so give him a chance to mature a bit before. It also sounds like he's confused so when you do bring it back out start at the beginning and shape the behavior you want by just loking for and rewarding baby steps in the right direction. I wouldn't be doing more than a couple casual ball rolls at this age anyway. Just have fun and quit while you're ahead.

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Does your pup chase you if you run away from him? I taught Zorro to bring it back separately from chasing it. I would put the ball on the ground and when he picked it up I would run away. If he dropped it or left it I would stop and tell him to get it and repeat once he picked it back up. Once he got the point that bringing it back was fun I added the throw. I would also recommend teaching a drop command separately. Fetch is really a lot of different skills and can be difficult to learn if you are expecting him to do all of them at once.

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Thanks LittleBetty, Maralynn, 5Bordercollies and Zorro 13, all these ideas are very helpful. I started a few days ago by breaking down the throw, retrieve and bring back to me in our hallway. I also tried the running away from him and he chased me back with the ball. He is now bringing the ball back to me in the yard each time. I Have decided to put the balls away for a month or so now that we are back to what I want. Hopefully when I introduce it again and do a recap training of the stages I won't have the same problem. Thanks again for your help.

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