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Teaching Your Greyhound To Retrieve


Guest mainegrey
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Guest mainegrey

I will start by saying that I watched a lot of videos on that. I tried to use the ideas from the greyhound blogs Never say never, and the video of Summit's and Kili's mom from their blog. What I have is

A very food motivated dog, I would say compulsively food addicted.

Rather impartial to his toys, although once in a great while he will have a 3 minute stuffy tossing around time.

Any attempts to follow the videos from the the blogs I mentioned result in my dog staring at the treat source and trying to sit pretty instead of touching the toys or let alone being concentrated on it.

I put a bully stick in one of the toys (the one you can put a plastic bottle in with a velcro part at the end) to entice his interest. In two seconds he figured out how to open up the velcro part. He pinned it down with one foot and opened it with his mouth.

 

He knows a few tricks that he learn pretty easily. So he is totally capable of learning. But with the whole retrieving things we are stuck. Any advice is appreciated. :colgate

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in our house it was monkey see, monkey do...annie who came off the track at 2.5 yrs of age retrieves. not as faithfully as her partner in crime who came to us at the tender age of 7 weeks. but she caught on to it while she was a foster. that's what helped her earn her spot in our house. she joined felix in soccer and tennis from the get go. go know....some dogs do it, some don't. does it matter? he carries sticks on walks, she doesn't....it's not their parlor tricks that attracted me to the breed.

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Have you tried it with a clicker? I have always found that way more helpful for trick training because the clicker acts as the secondary reinforcer to the food. So...the dog ends up working for the "click" which takes some of the focus off the food. I don't even have the food in view. I would start by just rewarding any movement towards the toy, then for a nose touch, then biting it, etc.

 

I do have to admit though...although Teague is starting to "get" the whole training thing, it is very slooooowwww. Much slower than any other dog I have trained. I almost gave up, then started practicing again and he is actually starting to get it! Just don't expect instant results and have fun with it!

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Maybe you haven't found the right type of ball. Phoenix used to retrieve, but only soccer balls.

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Xavi the galgo and Peter the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09, Allen the boss cat, died late November, 2021, age 19.

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Maybe you haven't found the right type of ball. Phoenix used to retrieve, but only soccer balls.

 

It's funny you say that....Omie won't touch a tennis ball but he has sure left his mark on the 7 soccer balls in our yard!

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Follow my Ironman journeys and life with dogs, cats and busy kids: A long road

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Guest mainegrey
You chose a sighthound, not a retriever.

 

I know that, and I am very happy with that choice. I think mental stimulation is a good thing for him. He is pretty smart (sure I am a little bias) and oh boy does he love working for his treats))

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I don't see how running after an object and handing it to his person is mentally stimulating. I mean it's really a rather DUMB activity if you're a smart dog. I recently saw a cute cartoon where the dog was "speaking" to his person saying, "OK Dave, I'll get it one more time, but if the stick is that important to you, you should learn to take better care of it!"

 

It's really something instinctive in certain breeds, and sure, there are other dogs who do it too (my last dog was an awesome retriever, and he was a pit bull mix).

 

I grew up with English Setters. They're pointing dogs. They don't retrieve. Then we got a Lab. Retrieves, does NOT point! George is my Greyhound. Doesn't point. Doesn't retrieve. Doesn't do tricks. His idea of mental stimulation is seeing how early he can get me to feed him by annoying me with the BIG EYES.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest amethyst

With my hound it's all about the ball. A soft squeeky football from Walmart. She watched my BF's cattle dog chase and retrieve a tennis balls but wasn't interested.

The football changed everything. She has three in different colors. We kick it, she runs like crazy and brings it back, circles around me and drops it close by ready for another kick.

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:nod >> "OK Dave, I'll get it one more time, but if the stick is that important to you, you should learn to take better care of it!">>>

 

That's what my last Borzoi, Mona, used to tell me. 'I'll chase and try to jump catch a frisbee because that's fun and interesting, but I'm sure as hell not bringing back frisbees that get chucked too far and land without even rolling... and certainly not balls. I'll bring them back a couple of times but after that I'll chase, pick them up and they can stay there."

 

What that often meant was that a failed retrieve could lead to a 'bathroom incident' at distance requiring a forensic search to find out where the dog actually did its 'business' in the grass of the park. And all the while under the hostile gaze of the precious ones who think it is only their staring that will get the poop bagged up.

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Some dogs just enjoy it-it is fun for them. I think the key is to get them to realize that if they bring it back to you you will not take it(and thus their fun) away but rather that you will throw it again for them. The reward gets to be the throwing it for them again when they bring it back. I always give a food treat when we are done playing and tell them 'done' when we are so they understand the difference. At least thats the way its been working at my place. Minny loved catching a ball in the air like frisbee dogs do. He loved his ball and played with it everyday. Most of my hounds though havn't thought much of retrieving. However, I have found quite a few of my hounds were quite exceptional at learning "tricks" and other things I taught them.

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Guest sireltonsmom

I have often wondered how a dog who had a job all it's life would adjust to not having one. My Sir Elton was an A racer who retired at 5 - he is RETIRED, could care less about toys, except for occasionally tossing one. Mindy, on the other hand, shows her joy, her happiness by squeaking her toy(s), running with them etc. His personality is "whatever"; hers is "WHAT?!!" One thing I have found with each of them, is they enjoyed being an ambassador. They both have done their stint at meet and greets with adoption groups, going to nursing homes and assisted living places. We've used them as 'home visit' dogs for prospective adopters. If your dog is highly motivated to have a job and none of the above work for you, I was told putting a blanket on them and having them bring it from one person to another (just uses the 'come' command) makes them feel useful. You will love all the different facets of your boy, whether he's a 'bizzy' dog or a lay around dog. Have fun!

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Guest Lady_Catherine

Bessie chases a frisbee and brings it back to me. She usually does several laps with the frisbee before she'll bring it back to me to throw. I did not train her to do it. She just did it. She's a silly puppy! :)

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You chose a sighthound, not a retriever.

 

I know that, and I am very happy with that choice. I think mental stimulation is a good thing for him. He is pretty smart (sure I am a little bias) and oh boy does he love working for his treats))

How disheartening that people would try to deter you from teaching your dog an activity that could ultimately be enjoyable to him and certainly would provide mental and physical stimulation. My suggestion is to do some reading on shaping a behavior with a clicker. The general concept is that you break the ultimate behavior down into miniscule steps and start clicking and rewarding for each individual step. When you've got that step down, you move on to the next. Where people generally fail is making the increments to large or increasing the difficulty level too quickly. You don't want your dog getting bored or frustrated so you need to reinforce a lot and increase gradually.

 

So for retrieving, you might start simply with reinforcing him looking at the ball. Then you would reinforce him moving a paw or shoulder toward the ball. Then a step toward it...up until maybe he moves his head toward it, then touches it with his nose, puts his mouth on it, puts his mouth around it, picks it up (you might soak the item in chk broth or something to encourage this). Then reinforce for holding the ball in his mouth for a second, then 2 secs...then eventually reinforce for looking at you with teh ball in his mouth, moving a paw toward you, taking a step toward you. I'm just giving you the general idea, the increments will vary a lot based on the dog and he may very well move quickly through some steps and not so quickly through others.

 

FYI, you don't even think about adding a cue until the behavior is solid from start to finish.

 

Good luck!

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

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Doing almost anything positive with our Greyhounds is, IMO, a good thing. It makes the bond stronger. It teaches them to trust us. It *is* mentally stimulating. It's just fun. If retrievers did only what they were born to do, they'd spend their lives retrieving and doing nothing else. If Greyhounds only did what they were born to do, they'd only race and run. We'd never have to walk them, play with them or buy them reindeer hats :P.

 

Don't be discouraged by negative comments about trying to teach your boy to learn and have fun. He's your Greyhound. Do what you want.

Edited by Feisty49
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We have to accept that some Greyhounds just do not like chasing balls or putting them in their mouth. My boy has had plenty of opportunity, witnessed many dogs retrieving and playing with balls many times, and yet he would never even consider it. He loves chasing the dogs that are chasing the balls but that's where it ends. His Greyhound girlfriend on the other hand once swam out into the ocean to fetch a ball that a pack of Golden Retrievers had given up on - blew everyone's mind.

 

I have given up on training (other than recall) and stimulation will have to come from our constant adventures together.

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Guest RooMcClanahan

Just last night, DH bounced a tennis ball in the basement -- it's always been kind of a joke as neither one of our dogs have shown an interest in balls. We say, "Fetch!" And they either run away from the ball, or look at it, then back at us, like, "I don't get it."

 

But yesterday, Sail pounced on the darn thing, chewing it and flinging it around. Clapping, praising, we could not believe it -- you'd think he'd filed our income taxes, not chased a tennis ball! Granted, that's different than retrieving by a long shot, but I just wanted to share that even though he might not show any interest in the activity right now, doesn't mean that he won't at some later time when you expect it least.

Edited by RooMcClanahan
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Guest EvanstonGrey

Just last night, DH bounced a tennis ball in the basement -- it's always been kind of a joke as neither one of our dogs have shown an interest in balls. We say, "Fetch!" And they either run away from the ball, or look at it, then back at us, like, "I don't get it."

 

But yesterday, Sail pounced on the darn thing, chewing it and flinging it around. Clapping, praising, we could not believe it -- you'd think he'd filed our income taxes, not chased a tennis ball! Granted, that's different than retrieving by a long shot, but I just wanted to share that even though he might not show any interest in the activity right now, doesn't mean that he won't at some later time when you expect it least.

 

This x100 - Fika has surprised me by bringing me a ball but only when she feels like it. I also totally agree that the kind of ball/toy makes a HUGE difference. The squeaky balls are most popular here - even after they've been de-squeaked, my guys prefer them because they're more satisfying to grip with their teeth than normal tennis balls.

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I used Shirley Chong's method. It worked extremely well. It is straight up clicker training. My skills aren't very good but it still worked. Had tried a number of other methods but ultimately this is the one that worked the best for us. Anyone who thinks retrieving isn't mental stimulation hasn't taught a dog a working retrieve. I've taught two dogs very handy & useful retrieving skills & am working on my third. Will say though that it takes a lot of work to get your dog proficient with retrieves. It is well worth the effort.

 

Go for it! Teaching a dog a useful retrieve is most rewarding. My dogs sure don't seem to mind. My oldest Grey comes running in any time I call her to come "Get It." She does get a reward sometimes but not always. The occasional reward keeps her excited about trying. You'd be amazed what she can pick up. My staghound was an excellent retriever. We were checking into a hotel. My arms were full when I dropped the key card. I couldn't see where it was bur I said, "Luna..." She grabbed it & gave it to me before I could say any more.

 

Retrieves are a great thing to teach.

 

ETA: Here's the link to the method I used. http://www.shirleychong.com/keepers/retrieve.html

Edited by kudzu
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Guest Giselle

Greyhounds are dogs. Dogs are animals. All animals can be trained. Trust me. Once you've trained a chicken, a dog is a piece of cake.

 

HOWEVER, I have to admit that teaching a beautiful, polished "Retrieve" is one of the most difficult behaviors I've ever taught. When you break it down, a Retrieve consists of a lot of small, rather difficult behaviors.

1) The dog must know to grab the correct object.

2) The dog must know to grab only using her mouth.

3) The dog must hold onto this object indefinitely.

4) The dog must run towards the object, grab it and hold on, and return back to you.

5) The dog must not release the object until it is in your hands.

Um...This is tough!! This is a tough behavior, and, unless you lucked out with a mouthy and calm dog, it requires a LOT of repetition and creativity. Even the best obedience trainers I know (those who compete in obedience) admit that a polished Retrieve is the most difficult behavior to teach. All the protocols based on shaping are good starts to help guide your training. But just don't be discouraged if you find that it takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. If you want to speed the training up, I would join a local obedience club or seek the help of a professional. Otherwise, I would encourage wetting your feet in teaching different, easier tricks :)

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Guest Greyt_dog_lover

What about agility or flyball? Those are very fun things to do with your hound. One of my busy-body girls needed something to do, so I enrolled her in agility/flyball. She had a blast. When we would pull up in the parking lot of the building she would whine to get inside and have fun. As Giselle said, it may be better to start with other tricks, in this case, other jobs. Just a suggestion. I commend you for trying to stimulate your hound and bond. Great job.

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Sorry my method wasn't super helpful to you! Every dog is different and what works for one might not work for another. Also, just because a dog doesn't currently enjoy retrieving or toys doesn't mean he won't. Summit could not have cared less about toys when I got him. He still doesn't play with them on his own very much. But boy does he ever get excited by having toys thrown for him now. It is probably one of his favorite activities. A greyhound is a dog. A dog likes to have a job. And it sounds like you have a dog who enjoys learning so you should teach him as many things as you can! It's rewarding for both of you.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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