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[FETCH] Only returns when no eye-contact

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Hi everyone,

 

I have a 7 month border collie puppy named "Gogo" and he has changed my life. I want to play with him and make him happy. I want to help him get his endless energy out. So I tried to play fetch with him.

 

But I have encountered several setbacks during the training. I have tried lots of methods but none of them seem to work really well.

 

He only drops a ball when I have no eye contact with him. When he does bring it all the way back to me, I'd throw it immediately to continue the game. But if I do look at him on his way back, he stays away from me and won't bring it all the way back.

Shall I just never look at him while playing then?

 

When he has the ball and is away from me, I would ask him to "release" the ball. But he seems very reluctant every time. If he drops it and I try to approach it, he will pick it up again. In such situations, I tried to ask him to "release" again. It sometimes work, sometimes doesn't. When it doesn't work, I'd go back to my bedroom and close the door -- as a signal that "no release no game". He will learn the lesson for the next few minutes but return to the old patter before.

 

I've tried treats. And treats don't work for him in play sessions cuz his attention is so fixated on the game/toy.

 

I've also tried playing with two balls, he would drop the ball without any cue, but he would drop the first ball very far from me on his way back, and has his attention fixed on the ball in my hand.

 

What have I done wrong? Or what shall I do better to do the "perfect" fetch? Please help us!~

 

Thanks a lot!

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Turn your back or side to the dog, kneel down and hold your hand out toward the ball/sideways for the ball. Praise when he drops it and throw it again. Yes, it's annoying but it won't be forever. It will build confidence and habit in how the games work and you can fade it out and play like a normal person. But for now the eye-contact, straight on approach is applying pressure he doesn't like and adding mental conflict. So, just do what works for a while and then the habit will carry you.

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Body position and tone are VERY important to a dog. They communicate with position remember. To dogs facing them with square shoulders and direct eye contact can be intimidating. If you stand with a shoulder to him that is less threatening. if you squat all the better, much more inviting to him. Maybe sit on the ground and throw the ball, see how that changes his reaction.

 

Small steps forward will get you get there, don't aim for perfection. Work on one thing at a time. I would want him coming all the way to me then even if you have to take the ball just ask and take it and throw it again. Make it less about obedience and work on his confidence.

 

Higher faster tone and speech is exciting, encouraging - low slow gruff is correcting

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Following this, as I am having the exact same thing happen with my 7 month old Border Collie pup! Glad I am not the only one! :)

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Good advice, above. And remember that he is still a puppy. He also sounds like a dog who might possibly be easily intimidated, which is not uncommon in this sensitive breed.

 

Make sure that you encourage confidence in your other activities with the puppy....don't loom over him with your body, don't pat him on the top of the head, approach him softly and more often let him come to you, and so on. Make sure you are not telling him No a lot or correcting him physically. I am not saying you are doing these things, not at all. Just in case you ever do, you might want to rethink how you approach him. all of these things, plus the advice above, will, over time, allow him to become more confident and trusting with you and will help with this issue as well.

 

And as others say, it won't be forever. Let him get confident at his pwn pace and all will be well. Best of luck, and we would like to see a photo of your pup.

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I had a dog, not a bc but a herding breed, who did that. She came with the toy, I looked at her, she droped it. She was insecure by temperament and it was like, she sensed I wanted the toy, she would let go of it.

I worked with her extensively in building confidence in the world and trust in me. It took a long time, at least a couple years, but I did succed in teaching her to deliver the toy in my hand.

Don't look at it from just the point of view of "he doesn't deliver the toy to you". Work on his confidence skills in any way possible, and eventually you will get there.

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2 ball play helps, he may feel conflicted "I don't want to give her the ball, I love the ball!" but knows he has to return it to you to get it thrown, using two balls so he has less conflict about it might make him less reserved and stressed.

 

and just because I love this and it kinda fits here:

 

q46L4QH.jpg

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Turn your back or side to the dog, kneel down and hold your hand out toward the ball/sideways for the ball. Praise when he drops it and throw it again. Yes, it's annoying but it won't be forever. It will build confidence and habit in how the games work and you can fade it out and play like a normal person. But for now the eye-contact, straight on approach is applying pressure he doesn't like and adding mental conflict. So, just do what works for a while and then the habit will carry you.

 

Hi CptJack! Turning my back or side to him worked a bit! He is more willing to approach me.

 

But I can't hold my hand out toward him. Once I do that, he keeps a distance between us or just back up :/

 

Even when I hold my hand out to praise him, he'd think I'm trying to get the ball from him lol.

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Body position and tone are VERY important to a dog. They communicate with position remember. To dogs facing them with square shoulders and direct eye contact can be intimidating. If you stand with a shoulder to him that is less threatening. if you squat all the better, much more inviting to him. Maybe sit on the ground and throw the ball, see how that changes his reaction.

 

Small steps forward will get you get there, don't aim for perfection. Work on one thing at a time. I would want him coming all the way to me then even if you have to take the ball just ask and take it and throw it again. Make it less about obedience and work on his confidence.

 

Higher faster tone and speech is exciting, encouraging - low slow gruff is correcting

Hi Denice! Thanks for the tips!

 

One question tho -- are you saying that I can take the ball from his mouth myself? But will that make him unwilling to come back all the way to me?

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I had a dog, not a bc but a herding breed, who did that. She came with the toy, I looked at her, she droped it. She was insecure by temperament and it was like, she sensed I wanted the toy, she would let go of it.

I worked with her extensively in building confidence in the world and trust in me. It took a long time, at least a couple years, but I did succed in teaching her to deliver the toy in my hand.

Don't look at it from just the point of view of "he doesn't deliver the toy to you". Work on his confidence skills in any way possible, and eventually you will get there.

oh wow Teresa! That's inspiring! I might have been "in a rush" in terms of teaching him to drop. But it can take years! I'll remember that!

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2 ball play helps, he may feel conflicted "I don't want to give her the ball, I love the ball!" but knows he has to return it to you to get it thrown, using two balls so he has less conflict about it might make him less reserved and stressed.

 

and just because I love this and it kinda fits here:

 

q46L4QH.jpg

 

 

Thank you rushdoggie :D I must say the drawings in your post is very cute haha

 

I tried having two balls. And he did drop ---- but he may just drop it when he is still wayyyyy too far from where I am. Did you ever come across that?

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Thank you rushdoggie :D I must say the drawings in your post is very cute haha

 

I tried having two balls. And he did drop ---- but he may just drop it when he is still wayyyyy too far from where I am. Did you ever come across that?

 

Yes, initially. And to start I simply walked to the first ball after throwing the second. But once my dog kind of got the game, he started coming closer, and I started only throwing when teh 1st ball was close enough (I simply held the 2nd ball neutrally and let him pick it up and drop it a few times, when it got closer to me I threw the second). I made that area closer and closer to me, and now he drops it at my feet. Now he even understands if I don't throw #2, that #1 is too far away and he goes searching for it and races back to leave it with me.

 

And now that we reduced the conflict I can use one toy and get him to return and drop it. But I still choose 2 toys a lot because it seems more fun for everyone.

 

Full disclosure, this dog is not a Border Collie, hes an obnoxious and highly driven little sh*t of a Papillon.

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