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Have you tried trading the ball he is holding for another ball that he likes equally well? Ex. He brings the ball back to you, you praise him, then show him another ball and toss it for him to fetch. Hopefully he will drop ball #1 and chase after ball #2. Then you can trade back and forth between the 2 balls.

I've seen this work......but I've also seen dogs try to hold both toys in their mouths at once!

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Bring a second ball out.  As you do cue 'drop' verbally.  ONce he drops the first ball mark the drop with a 'yes' and then throw ball 2.  You'll eventually be able to lose the second ball.

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Yes, play the trade game with another ball. When he brings the ball back, play with the 2nd ball as if it is the greatest thing in the world to make your dog want that ball. He may be enticed to drop ball 1 to get ball 2. After you get a fairly reliable drop, you can start incorporating a verbal command when he drops it. The goal, of course, is to eventually tell him to drop it without the need of a second ball.

You may want to check out Agility University online. Tracy is going to run an online class called Toy Transitions starting April 15 -and it is free! The class is to help handlers with techniques to teach their dogs to play with toys AND to release them. My dog has a lot of tension when he releases the toy, so I am hoping to learn some new techniques.

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I never try to grab the ball from his mouth. I would just ask him to drop it and leave it long enough for me to pick it up and if he did not would simply say "OK, play is over." and walk away. Not until he dropped the ball would I throw it again. If he wants you to throw it he has to drop it.

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1 hour ago, D'Elle said:

I never try to grab the ball from his mouth. I would just ask him to drop it and leave it long enough for me to pick it up and if he did not would simply say "OK, play is over." and walk away. Not until he dropped the ball would I throw it again. If he wants you to throw it he has to drop it.

That's what I'd do, too.

The other alternative might work but they're not teaching him what you really want. Plus I don't really want to be dealing w/ 2 balls myself. Better IMO for him to learn to play by your rules.

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1 hour ago, GentleLake said:

That's what I'd do, too.

The other alternative might work but they're not teaching him what you really want. Plus I don't really want to be dealing w/ 2 balls myself. Better IMO for him to learn to play by your rules.

It actually is teaching what you want - the out gets rewarded, immediately, the same way.  You're just luring the dog to out the toy with the second one. The typical cycle is 'lure the out with toy two, as soon as first ball is out, mark and reward by throwing the second toy and pick up first'.  Lots of people hang here, but it's not the complete behavior.  

 

The rest of it's roughly

Add a verbal 'drop' or 'out' if so desired once the drop is consistent at sight of the second ball/toy,  if not don't  - behavior will become automatic a nyway I just sometimes like a drop before the dog's all the way back (mostly in disc) and 'spit the thing out immediately' is sometimes useful in other scenarios.   

 

Anyway you then:

1-) Continue to hold the second toy, but  only throw the first - so dog outs toy 1, you pick up toy 1 and throw it

2-) Ditch the second toy - put it by or under your foot  or something at first, then pocket, then stop using it entirely.

 

It takes most dogs who are fetch motivated about a day (several short sessions of play) to get this, without the -R experience of losing the opportunity to play because you've made very clear what you want by luring and then rewarding the out, as opposed to 'Fine, you're not doing a THING that I am not specifying in any clear way at all and therefore I'm walking away and no play for you'.    I mean that can work, and it's fine (Punishment/removal of reward is a part of life, I'm not claiming it's terrible), but it's leaving it to the dog guessing what it is you want, overcoming their own conflict, and giving it to you or getting their reward opportunity removed.

 

Versus just  bringing out a second ball you get what you want fast, and without conflict,  you name it (if you want), mark the correct behavior with a YES! and then reward it.  Any biddable  and toy driven dog will pick it up fast, and you've removed confusion, conflict, and the -R component entirely.

 

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On 4/8/2019 at 4:24 PM, D'Elle said:

I never try to grab the ball from his mouth. I would just ask him to drop it and leave it long enough for me to pick it up and if he did not would simply say "OK, play is over." and walk away. Not until he dropped the ball would I throw it again. If he wants you to throw it he has to drop it.

All well and good, but our Ben would just never drop it! 

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Mine doesn’t drop either. I now won’t throw the ball now until he does. He will drop it a few feet away, but hardly ever at my feet. Same with the trade game, he will drop the ball but not near. He seems to like running with a ball in his mouth and then run round another ball. Still work in progress.

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22 hours ago, Icaraa said:

All well and good, but our Ben would just never drop it! 

Fine then. Then there is no ball play. Just walk away.

If he wants to fetch he will learn to drop it.

Maybe he doesn't want to fetch. Maybe tug would be more to his liking.

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3 hours ago, Mandy1961 said:

Mine doesn’t drop either. I now won’t throw the ball now until he does. He will drop it a few feet away, but hardly ever at my feet. Same with the trade game, he will drop the ball but not near. He seems to like running with a ball in his mouth and then run round another ball. Still work in progress.

Yeah, some dogs are just - really conflicted.  They want to play but have enough desire to possess that you get a lot of internal conflict.  You can resolve that conflict by just walking away or you can resolve it by using a second toy to cue the out an d switching back and forth leading to a dog who understands that letting go of what they have isn't the end of the world.  Switch between two balls, switch between two tugs or two discs or two totally different toys.  The point is that using a second toy as a lure immediately rewards the dog for dropping the first one and reduces all that conflict and elements of punishment for the dog which, honestly, can just create more and throw frustration in on the top. 


Frustration and conflict aren't inherently bad, and dogs do need to be able to handle them, but they're not great states for training a dog and frankly it's a game we're playing FOR th e dog.  Why the heck *wouldn't* you try to make it easy for the dog to understand what you want and succeed at giving it to you?

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It took forever for Charley to learn to bring the ball to me and then let go.  He would drop it 10 feet away and then grab for it if I walked over.  I would sit down and tap the ground next to me, and wait.  If it didn't come to within a reasonable distance to me it didn't get thrown.  I didn't take it out of his mouth, he had to play the game nicely or we didn't play.  He still has some quirky habits that I will never understand.  We will play catch with a toy in the house and then he will drop it in my husband's lap across the couch and look at me to throw it for him.  If my husband throws it, he will bring me a different toy to throw. I think it is like Calvinball, Charley has his own set of rules and he isn't sharing.

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