Can't get my dog to put the ball into my hand

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Can't get my dog to put the ball into my hand

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Old 05-02-2018, 03:10 PM
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Can't get my dog to put the ball into my hand

I want my dog to bring his ball back and put it in my hand when we play fetch. Otherwise he comes into my general direction and drops it a few feet away.

The instructions I have read say that when the dog has the ball in its mouth, just put one hand below his mouth, then put a treat in front of him, and he'll drop the ball for the treat.

Not mine! Nothing will make him drop that ball - regular treats, chicken, cheese, nothing. If he does drop the ball for some reason, and I try to put the treat in front of him, he will push the treat away in order to get the ball!

I'll add here that he's a Border Collie/Retriever mix, and has never been all that interested in treats anyway.

Any advice?
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Old 05-02-2018, 05:30 PM
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Have you tried using two balls? When your dog brings the one ball back, put your hand underneath it like the treat method, and pull out the other ball. Some dogs will drop it and go after the second ball. However, some dogs (like my own lol) are so focused on the ball in their mouth that they won’t go after a second ball. Worth a shot though.
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Old 05-03-2018, 10:15 AM
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I was just going to suggest using two balls as well. I use two balls when I play fetch with my dogs. That's how I trained one of my dogs to drop the ball at my feet. If she drops it too far I tell her to go back and bring me the ball before I throw the next one. It took a bit of training but she knows that if she doesn't bring it to my feet I won't throw the next one. (I wish I remembered how I trained her because I'm trying to get my second dog to do the same thing! lol)

That second ball might be useful to you because it could motivate your dog to come to you and drop the one in his mouth.
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Old 05-17-2018, 08:08 AM
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Train him to pick up something that isn’t the ball first! I actually accidentally taught Cosmo this behavior because I taught him to pick up items and bring them to me (he’s a Service Dog and this is one of his tasks) and since then he either puts it in my hand or I’ll just say “bring it here” and he will get it and put it in my hand. I trained him using a little pack of tissues but you can use anything.

Your dog seems to find the ball more rewarding than the treats, so Id put the balls away since the game of fetch might distract from the training session in my experience with dogs that are so intensely focused on balls.

The way I trained him is I put the tissue pack in front of his face and made it kind of interesting so he would put his mouth on it. The second he put his mouth on it I’d click and treat. You can use anything, I’d suggest something light and easy to carry like a sock. Practice him getting used to putting his mouth on it for a while and then start letting go of the item. He’ll probably drop it immediately but try to click and take it back before he has time to drop it and see how long you can get him to hold it without dropping it. After he’s taking the sock and holding it a second or two, pair it with the command “pick it up!”. Eventually you can start giving it to him, taking a step back, and the goal is to have him walk toward you with the item in his mouth. Then you can experiment with different items. Cosmo will now bring me everything from his leash, to my bag, to even my credit card and keys if I drop them and point to them (and sometimes he does it automatically which is nice).

Eventually you should be able to say “pick it up!” and point to it and he will bring you the ball and put it in your hand even if he does drop it a few feet away. Kind of a long way around the issue, but it works great and then you have the added bonus of him able to bring you whatever you want!
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