[nagdu] Fetch training

Julie J. julielj at neb.rr.com
Wed Jul 31 12:56:32 UTC 2013

If you just need to know when he has picked up the toy, then I'd agree that 
using a toy that squeaks or crinkles or jingles would be the easiest 
solution.  It will take a bit of practice for you to notice the change in 
noise of when the toy is picked up though.  I'd suggest using a special toy 
that your dog really likes only for these fetch play sessions.  It will keep 
up his interest and enthusiasm for the game.

If the problem is him relinquishing the toy when he returns, then the treat 
method might work.  It didn't with my current dog though.  Food is way more 
exciting than toys.  As soon as he discovered that there was food involved, 
he lost all interest in toys.  That could be a training failing of mine.  I 
don't know.  You could try food rewards and see what happens.

I have used the two toy method to minimize the frustrating game of keep 
away.  It is based on the principal that the grass is always greener on the 
other side of the fence, or in this case, the toy I have has to be cooler 
than what he has.  So I'd toss one toy.  He'd get it and bring it back, 
dancing around in a victory lap.  I'd show him the second toy.  He'd drop 
the first toy at my feet in anticipation of the much cooler second toy.  I'd 
toss toy #2 and pick up toy #1 while he was off getting toy #2.  Rinse and 

If the point is for some exercise and fun, I honestly wouldn't be too 
concerned with a perfect retrieve.  Just have fun with it.You could even 
hide toys out of sight and then send him to find them.  Make it really easy 
at first, working up to more difficult hiding places.  Use treat dispensing 
toys for extra incentive if you like.  Monty loves this game, but he's not 
super good at it and he only plays it when I use one of his favorite toys.

Have fun!

-----Original Message----- 
From: minh ha
Sent: Wednesday, July 31, 2013 3:30 AM
To: NAGDU Mailing List,the National Association of Guide Dog Users
Subject: Re: [nagdu] Fetch training

Hi Andrew,

I don't know if the method I'm about to suggest would work as I don't
allow my dog to play fetch, but this has work for me in terms of
calling my dog back to me with her tug once she's wrestled it away
from me (she's strong). You need some form of food reward in order for
this to work, either kibble or a treat that your dog likes. After you
have thrown the toy, call your dog back to you and when he does, give
him a reward and praise him. It's basically just another training
session in which you're conditioning him to the fact that " I come
back with the toy, I get yummy delicious food, yay!" I hope this
helps; like I said, I'm not sure of its effectiveness, but it worked
for me with having Viva come back to me.


On 7/31/13, Andrew Webb <awebb2168 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> I hope people will forgive me if this question is outside the normal scope
> of discussion for this list.  But here goes anyway.  Like any dog, my 
> guide
> dog needs and benefits from play time, and in that spirit I'd like to work
> with him to play fetch, at least a lot better than he presently does.  As 
> I
> think is pretty standard for dogs, he's always quite excited to go run 
> down
> an object or toy that I throw for him, but getting him to actually return
> the item to me and relinquish is another matter; that doesn't come
> naturally
> (even though he's a retriever).
> I've read and researched enough to understand what are the usual steps in
> training a dog to play fetch properly, but I can't get past the fact that
> the process seems to rely pretty heavily on vision.  Most critically, I
> find
> it rather hard to know whether my dog has actually gone to run down the
> object that I've thrown, and certainly it's hard for me to know the moment
> at which he has picked it up in his mouth.
> Anyway, I'll bet there are some folks on this list who have found ways of
> teaching dogs to play fetch  without the benefit of vision (on the human
> end).  If anyone could give me any pointers, I'd be very grateful.
> Thanks,
> Andrew
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