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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I don't know if this is a phase, or she's just one of those dogs that doesn't care for fetch play (I've had at least one of those). Her prey drive is pretty strong (chases bugs and geckos without fail), and she does pretty well on the first two or three tries. But after that, even when she knows I have treats, she'll give chase, pick it up, saunter back a few steps and drop the toy. Sometimes she gets distracted by a scent or something in the grass. Sometimes she just stares back. I've tried several toys, including stuffed animals, Kong balls, and Frisbees (thrown low to the ground so she doesn't have to jump).

Should I try higher value treats? (Using mini training treats most of the time.) Not worry about it and focus on other games she likes (like tug)?
 

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Well it's your decision. You don't HAVE to have a dog that knows how to play fetch. If you're content playing games your dog does like to play... Well there's no problem then!

But you can teach her to play fetch if you want. Are you familiar with clickertraining? You can use clickertraining to build up to fetch. You start at holding an item that is in your hand, and releasing it into your hand. Then picking up the object and bringing it to your hand, then release it. Then increase the distance the item is away from you. :)
 

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I tried training Sonic to fetch using the clicker method, but it just didn't 'take', so I gave up and bought a 'tug and fetch frisbee' from clean run.
https://www.cleanrun.com/index.cfm/product/3936/doggone-good-flying-treat-tug.htm
He still loses interest in other toys, but this one is working out real well. I got him as an adult dog with no history of toy play and now he does this:
Sonic plays tug and fetch at the beach
https://youtu.be/nEKpCNs7lXU
It's the same toy.
Chasing a toy that contains food seems to make good sense to him, and he brings it back because I have the secret key to the contents (velcro tab).
There are other similar toys.)
Experiment with what works, including 'shaping' the retrieve with a clicker.

@projectclick I need to try that (backchaining) maybe with a new toy. I don't think I started with holding it in my hand. I think I started with ball on floor.
 

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My two dogs will chase a ball until they get to where the ball is and then they look at me like I should go and get it. LOL
 

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Oops, just re-read your post, and realized your dog already likes to play tug.
Try throwing the tug toy, try doing it in the middle of the game, or just letting go when the tugging gets good. Your dog will want the game to continue and may just shove that toy back into your hand. Now you have fetch and tug.
Then buy a soft frisbee, or other tuggable throw toy, and start with tug and then proceed to throw the toy, once your dog is immersed in 'tug is the most fun thing ever'.
 
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I REALLY wanted a frisbee dog and though I would have been golden having a Border Collie mix...nope. Not at all interested in fetch. He likes to run after the ball, but then just wants it so other dogs will chase him. He may retrieve with treats...sometimes. Just not some dog's thing.

On the other hand I have a friend with a full breed Border Collie and that dog is OBSESSED with the ball 24/7, nothing else maters...so I am glad it is not that extreme.
 

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Every dog is different. Ours, Samantha has never been one to play fetch. If you throw something and expect her to retrieve it, she will look at you with eyes that say, 'you gotta be kidding', and will just stand there. Even the toys she used to play with alone, she mostly doesn't have much to do with, unless we are involved, and even then its not for long.
 

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I like Artdog's ideas. Incorporate a game of tug into your fetch games. Dog fetches and gets a game of tug upon return. Let the dog win the tug game.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Reporting back to let the folks know we are now playing fetch with her tug toy (a long'ish and thick knotted rope). She loves to play tug, so she brings it back every time. We already had worked on "drop it" (with that very toy), so when she brings it back, I either ask her to drop it before we "tug", or we just go right for tugging. Either way, she brings back that thing every time, and she doesn't run away with it (one usual problem with fetch), because she so wants to play tug.

I'll keep this up, playing fetch only with this toy for a while, with the goal of seeing if she'll get the clue that fetch in an of itself is fun. I mostly want it because the running is great exercise, and we have a large enough backyard for her to get in her anaerobic workout before (or after) we go for a walk.
 
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