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  #1  
Old 03-18-2005, 11:13 AM
joana joana is offline
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Default Lab/Mix help needed!

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this site and I hope you can help me out. Last night a wonderful Lab/Mix dog moved into our home. We rescued her from a local organization. She is 1 year and 2 months old, is very smart and knows all her basic commands. I've taken her for successful leash walks and two great runs today. She responds really well to my commands and is eager to please. On my second run with her, I stopped at this big clearing in the woods and put her on the retractable leash in order to play fetch with her. I brought along a ball and a frisbee but she was absolutely not interested at all. Not a bit. I have two sons who are desperate to play fetch with her and it will break their hearts if they can't. Is there some technique I could use to get her interested in fetch/retrieving? We don't know what she's mixed with but she looks like a small black Lab (ca 45lbs) and has the personality of a Lab so I'm puzzled as to why she was not at all interested in retrieving. Could I have been doing something wrong. She was on a gentle lead. Could that discourage her from playing fetch? Am I asking too much too soon? Please help.

Thanks in advance for all your advice,

Joana
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  #2  
Old 03-18-2005, 05:07 PM
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smkie smkie is offline
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start slow and inside..it doesn't always come easily for a dog, even a lab, but you can teach well. Start with a sock with a ball in the end. Drag the sock in front of her like a live thing then..encouraging her to get it..yippee praise when she does. Then holding her collar ..best in a hallway drag it in front of her and give it a few feet toss.. she should very much want to catch it, and bringing back is the only way she can go in the hall..that way you can praise praise for both..the do this no more than three times each session..a few sessions a day. That will build her passion. Change the ball/sock to regular ball, or the stores sell a marvalous elongated tennis ball with a loop on the end, what we called a bumper..once she understands that this is a game that everyone enjoys.and her passion has been established you can take it outdoors..once again using an alleyway if you have one. if she takes it and runs the other way..run the opposite way..even throwing another bumper in the air and catching it having "fun" all by yourself. I had trouble with Victor bringing it back, when i got him someone had played keep away and so he had a bad bad habit. I started throwing out the front door and running inside..he couldn't stand the thought that i might be getting more toys and ran inside as well with the frisbee. We are still working on this but he is getting better..now he circles around me outside but isn't running the fields. i have had him for 6 months. He had many many bad habits. FRom the yard you should be able to go to water. If you dog does have the habit of playing with it and not bringing back..throw a double..one in front of you and one behind. You just got to be a good catch and not let them dodge past you to give and sit before you send them for the second. Forgot to add congrates on adopting what sounds like a marvelous dog!
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:03 PM
joana joana is offline
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Hi Smkie,

Thanks so much for your advice. I don't understand part of it, though. I understand putting a ball in a sock and dragging it infront of her and then holding the dog's collar and tossing the sock a few feet away. I understand the part where you say that after I toss the sock a few feet she should want to catch it but I do not understand the proceeding part "and bringing back is the only way she can go in the hall". Please can you explain? Again, any advice is welcome. My kids really want to play fetch and I am at a loss here.
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:26 PM
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CreatureTeacher CreatureTeacher is offline
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Most dogs aren't born knowing how to fetch. I assumed once that all Border Collies could catch a frisbee...until I bounced one of the cloth ones off my BC's forehead the first time. Interest in fetch is something you have to cultivate if you want to play.

I always start somewhere with few distractions, but I do like to start outside. It never hurts to roll the tennis ball over some beef jerky first, so it smells interesting. Get her attention by playing with her and doing some tricks. Then pull out the ball. Jump around and squeal to get her worked up. Make sure she's watching the hand with the ball and not you. Toss the ball about ten feet away, then run over to it. If she's properly keyed into you, she should follow. Then crouch down and show her the ball, still maintaining your excited and squealy attitude. If she doesn't pick it up right away, try pushing it a bit with your finger. If she still won't take it, pick it up and wave it around for her and try again. If you're excited, she will be too and she'll be more likely to try to learn your game. Once you've got her chasing it and picking it up, it's just a hop and a jump to her snatching it out of the air!

I have another thought, though. You might try giving her some time before you start pushing her into things. It sounds like you may have a pretty high-energy household, so she might just need a little settling in time before she starts learning new games. Make sure she hass a place where she can go if she's overwhelmed. Give her somewhere quiet that's all her own, where no one is allowed to come bother her. Dogs need "me time" too to relax, play with some good toys, and just be quiet with their own thoughts. Don't lock her in anywhere, just make sure she's got a place that's all her own that she can access anytime she needs to. I would wait at least two weeks before I started putting heavy demands on her. Just let her get to know you, her new home, and her new family.

Welcome to the forums! I can't wait to see photos of your new girl!
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Old 03-18-2005, 10:47 PM
joana joana is offline
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Thank you so much for your advice, Emma. You say:"Get her attention by playing with her and doing some tricks." What sort of tricks do you mean? I am working on basic training with her (which she is very good at) until I start an obedience class with her on April 7th, so I haven't taught her any tricks. What kinds of tricks would get her in a mood to play?

So you think if I wait two weeks I won't lose the fetch window of opportunity?

Could you help me with another issue: We have a cat (rescue center said she was ok with cats) but Lexi is NOT ok with our cat. I know I need to introduce them but the cat is in hiding and when she does make an appearance, Lexi lunges so hard and is so aggressive about it that the cat takes off and I have a hard time controlling the dog. She is such loving dog, submissive, loves belly rubs and gets along with my boys so I can't imagine that when she lunges for the cat it's out of aggression but I just can't be sure and it is quite frightening. Do you have any suggestions?
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  #6  
Old 03-18-2005, 10:51 PM
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CreatureTeacher CreatureTeacher is offline
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Just run through some basic obedience to get her focused on you. Anything she knows will work fine.

And don't worry about the 'window of opportunity'. There's really no such thing when it comes to teaching new behaviors. Just make sure she's relaxed and comfortable in her new home. If you push her before she's comfortable, she could end up with some nasty obsessive or reclusive behaviors. Give her some time to adjust and learn to be your friend.

I have some ideas about the cat, but unfortunately I'm on my way out the door. If I don't write another response by Sunday, please remind me.
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