I have a dog who wants to chase bones.

I can take a bone and wave it in front of her and state, "Who's got the bone?" and she will yip and run after it if I throw it. A bone is the ONLY thing she ever goes after. She will pick it up, move it to somewhere near me, but not within reach, and chew on it for a minute. Then she will leave it where it is and come to my side for another round of "Who's got the bone?"

I am trying to teach her to fetch the bone and bring it back and I plan to reward her when she does. Unfortunately, she smells the treats so she won't leave me alone when "Who's got the bone" is played. She gets excited, but doesn't run. I've tried walking over to the thrown bone with her and leaving a piece of treat, but she doesn't seem to "get it". What am I doing wrong? The dog plays nothing else and has shown no interest in any other toys or activities (beyond sleeping in the direct sun and rolling onto her back for tummy rubs) ever.


1 Answer 1


Just persist with what you want and show her incrementally what you want.

Throw the bone just a foot a way or so, whilst you have a treat out, and then reward her for just looking at the bone at first. If you have a clicker, click when she looks at it, if not use a word, I use YES when I don't have a clicker to hand.

You'll of had to of taught her what a clicker/keyword means first, you can find that on Google.

Then once she's associated that the only way to get the treat is to look at the bone, sometimes you can do this about 5 times, others it may take 20 goes. But once you're there, increase the difficulty. She has to take a step to the bone, then go to the bone, then throw the bone further and repeat. Soon she'll realise that the bone and treat are connected.

With persistence and gradually increasing what she has to do to get the treat, you should be able to throw it ten foot and she'll go to the bone and then come running back for the treat. Then you'll probably have to start from a foot away again for her to pick up the bone, and eventually bring it to you.

Just stand your ground and don't give the treat until she figures it out. If she gets frustrated because she doesn't understand, you probably jumped too far ahead, make it easier. Or she may get bored, so try again later on.

Eventually, you'll be able to substitute the treats for throwing the bone again. And further still, you'll be able to use other toys - She has to get the tennis ball to get the bone. The fact that she's obsessed with the bone is a good thing, that makes it a powerful reward.

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