I adopted my dog, 8 year old (Nova Scotia duck tolling) Retriever about 8 months ago. She's super smart and learns new tricks really quickly, but I haven't been able to figure out how to teach her to fetch.
Currently when I throw the ball for her she runs after it, grabs it and then drops it on the ground and barks until I throw it. She will happily bark for hours, non stop (not a second between barks) until I throw it. Ever so often, the first time I throw it for her, she'll bring it back to me (about a foot away). When this happens I praise her like crazy and then throw it for her. The next time she'll bring it 3 feet away, then 5 feet away and then she won't bring it close at all.
Things I've tried:
- Waiting her out. this doesn't work because eventually the dog park closes and she's still barking... then we go home and she hasn't exercised anything except her voice.
- Going to get the ball from her, but walking back very slowly, so that she realizes that it's way faster and more fun to bring it back to me.
- Using a citronella bark collar to discourage the barking. This doesn't work because it doesn't spray her every bark, and even when it does she doesn't care.
- Luring her with other balls. This doesn't work because once she finds a ball that she's into she only wants to play with that ball. She also values this particular ball over all other things..such as entire blocks of cheese and fresh meat, her booty (she hates being humped or jumped on but would rather guard the ball than risk losing it to another dog to tell off the humping dog)
- Luring her with treats. see #4
- Calling her over using her recall command. I'm still working on this skill, so I don't want to ruin it by calling her when I know she won't come. The few times I've tried this any she has come, she leaves the ball before approaching me.
Any Suggestions on how I can get her to bring the ball back and/or not bark until I throw it?
Several people have suggested that I just not play ball with her. However, the only fenced dog park nearby is right behind a tennis court, so there are always balls, and she always wants to play. Also, playing fetch is the only serious exercise she gets. I've been working on her recall since I got her but its not good enough to take her anywhere off leash. I'm also teaching her to walk slack leash, because I have to stop when she pulls, her daily walks don't provide her much exercise either.