Common Training Problems

One of the most common day-to-day issues I see is a dog that won’t give a ball or toy back to the owner once they have it. The owner wants to play fetch, and they throw the ball for the dog and he goes and grabs it. Next, a fun game of keep away ensues. Here is where your head needs to be. Put yourself in the dog’s shoes. Every time you get the ball, your owner wants to take it away. You need to teach the dog that by giving the ball up, he gets a fresh throw in return. The problem is, dogs are simple association animals, so it’s one action at a time. The solution is this: Get another ball, and play two ball with the dog until he understands that giving the ball up is a good thing. Simply hold the ball up by your chest, and tease him with it while giving the “drop or let go” command. The instant he lets go, launch the ball immediately. Timing is everything here, in that you have to be quick to throw the second ball.  I like to use a clicker to “mark” the behavior. On my next entry, I will discuss the finer points of marker training, and how to use it properly and effectively.