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Dog won't give outside (long)

April 10th, 2006, 04:51 PM
We got our dog from a no-kill shelter when she was 2. She was there for 4 months because she was pregnant when she was rescued from her miserable life and she had to stay at the shelter until her puppies weened. During her time there, her excerise was to go to the dog run and play fetch with a tennis ball. When we got her home, we realized that she no longer wanted to give up the ball or frisbee or anything else we played with outside. We contacted the local Humane Society's obeidence instructor who told us to take two of each toy outisde and throw one and when she brought it back, throw the second, but this didn't work as she always figured out a way to get the second one in her mouth as well.

She was good for a while and allowed us to throw a toy up to a dozen or so time, but she has gotten to a point where you can only throw a toy twice before she keeps it entirely. She's always been worse with my husband than with me, but now won't give to either of us. For months, he has been giving her treats everytime she gives so now she expects the treat and if she doesn't get one, she won't give. I was outside with her today and again, threw the frisbee twice and that was it. I brought her inside and without even giving the "give" or "drop it" command, she dropped the frisbee in the doorway and immediately stared at her treat jar wagging her tail excitedly.

I need to know how we can get her to play outside without expecting a treat for every throw of a toy. I'm thinking that her affection and guarding of toys outside may be due to the fact that during her time in the shelter, that was her only form of play and interaction. She has inside toys too and does play with them all of the time and gives whenever we give the commands, but outside play is what we have issue with. If we give her a frisbee or tennis ball inside, she will give for hours without a treat being given to her....does anyone have any suggestions for this very frustrated mom?

PS - she gets TONS and TONS of praise when she does give...both inside and outside.

April 10th, 2006, 06:49 PM
So many things to talk about...
Your 'treat' training experience is exactly why we don't train with treats.
Also, the problem is that you are ending on failure not success. When ever you are playing remember to end on success and leave them wanting more. She probably thinks that keeping the ball lets her stay out longer - don't make being out about the ball.
So first make sure the 'drop' and 'take it' commands are great inside as you say they are. Put her on the leash and up the anti with things that she might want even more than the frisbee (if thats possible) so that she is clear that your words have power and its not negotiable. The leash makes sure that she can't run off with the object. If she hesitates dropping something to you when you know she heard you and is challenging you, then you say 'no' in a firm sharp tone and pressure her to give it to you. You can even give her a leash correction if you have to. The point is to teach her that this is not a game. Granted it will become part of a game later - but you have to think in your mind that it is a baby bunny that she won't drop to you and it is vital that she does. So you need to mean business. Now the second she drops it you get super happy and praise her. Repeat - repeat - repeat.
Now go outside with her on a leash and just toss the ball/frisbee within the range of the leash and have her bring it to you - be super happy when ever she is headed towards you with it in her mouth. Use the words 'bring it' or 'get it' or even 'get the ball' or 'bring the ball' - because then later you can help her get specific things like the ball, bone or frisbee. If she grabs it and runs away then you can stop her with the leash and work the drill until she comes and drops it. The key here is you need to use pressure and release when you are working her. If she is coming to you, has the object and drops its to you - you are SUPER happy. But the second she turns away from you, drops the object far from you or refuses to drop then you pressure her with your voice, your body language or a leash correction. She needs to get that her refusals and challenges will not stop you and infact might intensify your pressures. She needs to learn that challenging you doesn't work and cooperating is actually really fun.
Learning the concepts of pressure and release are very handy for all situations because it gives you the tools to guide her through any situation and have the outcome be what you wanted.

April 11th, 2006, 09:05 AM
Thanks so much for your advice and we will definitely be practicing your approach starting today. We have trained her in the past with the lease approach, telling her "drop it" or "give" and if she doesn't, telling her a second time while giving a short, quick tug of the lease. It's worked in the past, but
I think that after a few months go by and she's been great about giving or dropping, she decides to see if we really are still in charge and goes back to her challenging ways. The strange thing is that she doesn't run away from us with the toy in her mouth, she actually brushes up against us and bumps our hands trying to get us to pet her head (praise her). She's an Aussie who loves to tug (and we won't let her) so if we put our hands on the toy while it's in her mouth, she tries to tug and her tail starts wagging like crazy! We immediatley release the toy and tell her "no tug" in a really firm voice, but she wants to continue to tug.

This whole process reminds me of a toddler who will look at you while doing something they know they aren't supposed to do just to see if you're going to say anything to them.

Like I said, thank you so much for your advice...we are going to start practicing with her...again....using your tips.

April 11th, 2006, 09:54 AM
I have the same problem with one of my dogs, an Aust. cattle dog, who, since we got another dog, will not drop the ball outside. Not even for another ball. She does the same thing of rubbing against me with the ball in mouth. With treats she sometimes drops it. If ever she drops it, she drops it 3 meters or more away from me. She played ball non-stop before we got the other dog, and would drop it before I threw another ball. The other dog doesn't steal her balls, so I don't see what her big problem is. She used to play fine in the dog park around other dogs. I tried doing the leash corrections as tenderfoot says, but the other little devil plays with the leash then.
Please tell me if you make progess and how it happens. Is yours an acd? Is it genetic?

April 11th, 2006, 10:18 AM
They are just testing you to see to is in charge of the games. Failure to cooperate is a lack of respect. You just need to go back to doing drills and creating success and things should fall into place. Dogs are never quite done with their training - in that they do need reminders about who is in charge occasionally. Just like little kids!

Lucky Rescue
April 11th, 2006, 11:49 AM
The following is from Diane Jessup, who has been training pit bulls for 30years, and trained them to titles in Schutzhund. It should help!:)

Teaching The Out: The First Step
So we have a pup or dog who has been born with, or had conditioned into him, a strong desire to chase, grip and hold. Perhaps a Frisbee, perhaps a ball or Kong, perhaps a jute roll. Whatever the object is, you must have two of them. And you must have a consistent word (or whistle if training in ring sport) which will mean “release very quickly” to the dog. We will use “Out”.

Take Pup out to play. Have your two toys. We are going to teach the dog a new game. A fast, exciting game. A game called “Two Toys”. Say you have tennis balls. You pitch the ball, dog goes and gets it, and brings it back. Perhaps the dog stands out of reach, teasing you, perhaps the dog approaches, but gets stressed at the thought of your taking the ball and refuses to let go. The more the dog “chunks” (my term for biting down hard) on the tennis ball, the more stress he is showing. Not necessarily “bad” stress, but it tells you what is going on inside his brain. He is not comfortable at the thought of handing the ball over; he doesn’t want to loose what he’s got.

Can you blame him? No. You can’t. So, we show the dog that by dropping what he has, you will give him what he wants… Simple, isn’t it?

You show the dog the other ball. Now, in a perfect world, the dog will spit out his ball and redirect his attention toward your ball. If he does – wonderful! Throw the ball in a happy, spirited way, whooping and cheering! Calmly pick up the first ball and prepare to do this over again when he returns. The dog will very quickly pick up on the fact that spitting out the first ball CAUSES THE MORE REWARDING BEHAVIOR of you throwing the ball for him to CHASE AND GRIP. That part is, remember, more fun then standing there holding the ball.

What if pup won’t give up ball one for your ball? This is where patience and intelligent understanding of your dog’s behavior come into play. This is where you “earn your money” as a dog trainer. Analyze why the dog won’t let go of his ball. It’s simple. He is a little stressed about it, and he doesn’t realize that something BETTER will happen if he does. So, it is your job to help him make this mental step by taking out your ball and making it REALLY attractive. Bounce it. Throw it up in the air, show it to him and then quickly withdraw it from him. BE PATIENT! If at anytime he drops his ball and goes for yours, throw as directed above.

There will be a few dogs who will become MORE stressed by your display of activity with your ball. It will cause them to become more manic about hanging on to their ball as they manifest their excitement and frustration by chonking even harder. With these guys we wait them out. We calm ourselves and ignore the dog. Eventually (and I do mean eventually) the dog will release the ball on his own. At that EXACT moment, you pitch your ball with a whoop and a holler, and all the excitement you can muster. Pooch runs after ball, you pick his (disgustingly wet) ball and await his return. Yup, you guessed it, repeat.

No one every said proper animal training was quick. It’s not. You are going to spend a couple weeks at least on the two toy game. Each and every time you play with your dog (and you should be doing this 3 to 5 times a day at least) the rules are, bring the toy back fast and spit it out and WOW! you get an animated, excited throw in return. No dog who likes to play will refuse that offer.

The Next Step
The dog is now returning with the toy and promptly spitting it out in anticipation of your next throw. At this point AND NOT BEFORE we add our command. Why? Because it is just plain good training to never add a command word to the action until the dog knows how to perform the action correctly. Why? Because if you are saying the command word while trying to get the dog to figure out what to do, the dog is hearing the word in association with a lot of junk that IS NOT the right action. So why do it? Why gum up the works. The dog learned how to play two toys with you without you yelling “Out” at him…

So now, you watch the dog carefully, and AS THE DOG is releasing the toy you say “Out!” in a crisp, clear voice. No reason to be Teutonic about it, just say it nicely.

Remember that during all this time, your throw of the ball has to have an intensity about it. If you are using a jute toy, and you want to let the dog grip instead of chase and bring back, fine, the same principle applies. Present the jute roll in a CRISP, EXCITING manner. Don’t just hand it out there like a moldy carrot. POP it out, yell when you do it! Make it fun! Make it exciting! If you don’t you will fail when you require the dog to leave a major stimulus. By making it exciting you are building into the dog the Pavlovian effect of excitement. He hears the word “Out” and he instantly wants to let go of his toy because things are about to get SO MUCH MORE EXCITING.

Adding Some Chrome
At this point, even with a totally untrained dog, you can start to add some fancy footwork. For instance, say you want to teach the dog to release and return to heel when you say “Out”. OK. Here goes.
Dog returns with toy.
You say “Out”.
Dog releases toy.
You show the dog your toy and using the toy, move the dog into a rough approximation of the position you want him to be in. Mark that behavior with a “Yes!” and give the dog the toy.
In small steps approximate him into the position that you want. Once he understands to sit at your side, you can begin to work on staying until released by command.


April 11th, 2006, 12:30 PM
littlesister ~
Our girl is an Australian Shepard with a small bit of some other herding dog (border maybe) in her. Our neighbors have a pure bred Australian Shepard and he gives so well! When we have them outside at the same time, he gives over and over again and she just stands there with her toy in her mouth, rubbing against our legs like usual or she steals his toys so she ends up with two toys in her mouth....I know that the added anxiety of having another dog around does not help in this situation.

She came from a multi-dog home before being rescued and we don't know if there were toys issues then or not. We don't know anything of her history from that awful house, just that her owner abused her and that she was absolutely terrified of men for a very long time. Something that we have really worked on over the years and fortunately, helped her overcome.

April 12th, 2006, 08:15 AM
So I went home from work last night and while having her outside for potty, tried the leash technique outside which worked amazingly well with her dropping the kong every single time without husband walked into the backyard when he got home from work....then, all bets were off and it wasn't until he left her eyesight, that she dropped the kong again without hesitation. I'm so confused! Tonight, we'll begin to have him work on the leash technique inside with a fresh start and hopefully we'll get her to respond to him as well as she was responding to me.

April 12th, 2006, 09:18 AM
Thats because this is about relationship. It has to be that you both work the drills and that one person does not interfer with anothers training. If you were doing homework with the kids and daddy came home and the kids thought they could stop doing homework that wouldn't work. So dad needs to help out and not interfere or at least help you gain control.