Not giving it up! No way, no how!
So you have a dog that you’d love to play fetch with but they refuse to bring the ball or frisbee back to you. Or, you are training them and as a reward, you toss your dog a toy only to find that they proceed to fly by you with the toy without any intention of relinquishing it. Who came blame them, really? A toy, especially a squeaky one, is a marvelous thing and ownership of a toy is super fun. Who in their right mind would want to give all that up?
I’ll admit it does kinda take the joy out of playing with your dog when they don’t respect “retrieve protocol” so I’m going to share with you what was suggested to me and what has worked every time. It’s so easy you’ll wonder why you hadn’t thought of it yourself!
- Have two toys with you to start and squeaky toys are best for this.
- Toss one of the toys for your dog to fetch.
- Let them run around for several seconds with the toy that they are refusing to give up.
- When you’ve had enough of waiting on them, take the second toy and make some noise like you are having a great time. For example, make the toy squeak several times, wave it around, and shout out a, “woo-hoo!!” You want to communicate to your dog that life is much more exciting with the toy you have in your possession.
- When your dog comes running to see what is so exciting, swap toys with them.
The nice thing about this exercise is that your dog eventually learns that giving up something leads to getting something even more desired. And, you get to spend more time playing with your dog rather than your dog playing you. Win-win for everyone!