Teaching dog to drop the ball?

arkansas_girlDecember 19, 2013

UGH, my little dog loves to play fetch but she just cannot figure out the part about letting me have the ball. She stands there chewing on the ball and allowing it to fall out of her mouth but then when I try to take it she jerks her head away or if it's on the floor she beats me to the ball and snatches it away from me. If I have some treats she will give me the ball but only if I have treats...she just cannot seem to learn how to let me have the ball unless it's in exchange for a treat. She loves to run after the ball when I do manage to take it from her...she comes right back to me and it starts all over...her little game of keep away...HA! Any ideas how to encourage her to give me the ball? She just doesn't get it...I cannot just give her treats after treats though or she'll be over weight if she keeps eating!

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I have the exact same problem with a lab who is 4 years old now. But - when one particular grand daughter comes here (twice a year) Sadie will always drop the ball right at her feet. I keep asking her what she does differently and she doesn't know.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Well when you find out what your GD is doing let me know...HAHAHA!

My dog is just a silly happy nut. Not the sharpest tack in the box but she's a good dog. She is very treat motivated so she'll do a lot of things if she gets a treat. She will throw the ball up toward me but of course it's bounces off my leg or something and then she just has to grab it as it's rolling then it starts all over again. She even throws the ball up in the air and catches it.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2013 at 10:53PM
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Use the treats. Just extend the length of time you give it after she drops the ball. Keep extending the time until she drops it each time, then give a treat after 5 times---and so on.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:23PM
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Many dogs do this because it's so much fun, especially if you try to tug the ball out of their mouths!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:18PM
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My Boston mix is the official ball guy at the doggie park. He is OCD about balls. He would do this till he dropped dead. He always grabs the ball in mid air and brings it to me. He will occasionally play tug of war till I say...okay, I'm not playing anymore. Then he drops it and I put my foot on it and say WAIT. He's gradually catching on. I don't do treats.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 2:36PM
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The easy way to get around that is to use the two ball system. As soon as she is at your feet, show her the second ball in your hand, then she will drop the ball in her mouth. Toss the second ball, and pick up the first ball as she is fetching. You can really tire out a dog quick this way!

You can train them to drop the ball and not play keep-a-way, but you have to be really consistent. My stepson has taught our dog to drop the ball and not go after it, as he is afraid of dog teeth. After the dog drops the ball, he puts his hand in front as a signal, then moves his other hand slowly toward the ball. If the dog moves one inch, he stops, he won't pick up the ball until the dog is completely still. I'm sloppy, so our dog still plays keep-a-way with me. I'm inadvertently rewarding him by going along with his game.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 12:42AM
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Thanks for the ideas!

The two ball system sounds good! She needs the exercise and standing there playing keep away isn't getting it done! AND OH yes, she does LOVE playing keep/tug away! She has other toys for tug though, a ball does not make a good tug toy. She has stopped biting us though so it's not quite so dangerous as it used to be. She knows "OUCH!!!"

I'm going to try that "hand in front of the face" idea and reach with the other...that sounds promising.

She wants to play so bad and she stands there shoving the ball into our backs when we are at the computer. Sometimes if we ignore her, she will finally drop it and leave it alone.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 7:46AM
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UPDATE: I have been using the two ball system and she's really catching on. As she runs up, she automatically drops the one ball at my feet and goes to chase the other ball that was in my hand. She has even already figured out that we are playing with two balls too because she will bring me both balls when she wants to play...she's a little smarty pants...HAHA!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2014 at 11:03PM
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