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Hi all. My golden can fetch as I taught her to but only when I have food or if the ball/toy I’m using is new. But once the novelty wears off, she loses interest.

I try and get her excited to play but she doesn’t seem to want to unless there is an external reward.

my golden doesn’t have any health issues and she is naturally relaxed. She needs only an hour long walk plus I train her twice a day. She doesn’t get destructive usually and likes to lie around a lot.
I should note she’s not super into playing with toys either.

Any way I could get her excited and want to play for the enjoyment of fetch and not for food?
Thanks In advance
 

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Kate
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I hate to depress you, but retrieve drive is something they are born with or not. The key for me is what you say about her not being into playing with toys either.

You have dogs who have a little bit of prey drive (they will chase after something) and they can be trained to be excited about fetching if there is a reward involved, but basically speaking - when you have all the people crabbing about the dogs being bred further and further away from their original purpose, this is what they are talking about. Those dogs who have a little bit of prey drive... they get burned out FAST and lose interest in retrieves when you overdo it and "break" what they have. <= This is kinda a big reason why if you want your dog to have a functional retrieve where he knows that's his job no matter what, you do not do any "play" retrieves or informal retrieves.

Dogs who were born with that retrieve drive and they love doing that thing they do... you literally can save retrieve practice for the end of training sessions as a REWARD for good training. These are the dogs who will fetch no matter how many times you throw. These are the dogs who you can't train before bedtime or before sitting down to work, because they will come and pile up their toys on top of keyboard. These are the dogs who vibrate with excitement over getting released to fetch - and they always come back to you. These dogs are treasures. Unfortunately it's not every golden.

Other goldens who weren't born with it - you need to work with and you can't have this idea of doing retrieves for exercise with these dogs.
 

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I took Maggie to a few SAR dog group meetings. She has never been a really consistent fetcher either. I learned early on that she was not going to be a very good SAR candidate as she was way to relaxed and did not have the drive necessary. Her idea of playing with toys is to carry them around in her mouth and move them all to a pile next to her :) I had a border collie that would drive you crazy throwing his ball at you. I will take Maggie :)
Jules
 

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Puddles
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I had a pup that had no drive at all. Had no desire to fetch or play with toys, just cuddle. I was working on obedience and all she wanted to do was curl up in a ball on my feet. Went with a friend to get parts for her fish tank and this girl discovered the critters in a tank at PetSmart. It's like someone lit her up! So we trained a couple of minutes and her reward was the rat tank, go figure! Strangest thing I've ever tried. She still didn't care about toys and not really food motivated (she had to work to get her meals so trained when she was hungry) either but a few visits to the critters a month seemed to awaken her prey drive. Regardless, you just never know what might ignite that inner silly side. After this we could just give lots of excited praise and retrieve training was finally fun. We only did 2 or 3 then called it quits, I just wanted to build the drive. We kept the retrieves short (under 6 ft) and used her favorite stick. It took a while but she is off with a handler getting her JH right now. You never know what might trigger the inner retriever :)

Good luck but could be she has other talents that will open opportunities for you like possible pet assisted therapy. Sick kids and older people light up when you visit. Reading programs with the library to help kids learn to read outloud to the pups. We did special ed classes with one golden. Lots of options :)
 

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I have hunt trained Golden's and I start from day one playing retrieves. That is the first thing I start. I roll a ball, toy, paint roller on a carpet 5 - 6 feet away and make the biggest deal over them picking it up. It normally takes a few times and then they get the drift. As soon as I know they get the concept, or game, I move to rolling a ball that's a little bouncy down an enclosed area like a hallway. There are no diversions this way. They run straight down and straight back. My youngest is with a trainer right now working on SH goals. We skipped the JH test due to COVID but will get them both. He's way behind where he should be due to health issues.

If you want to see a Golden really go after a retrieve give them a little competition. Have another dog that likes it go and get the toy a few times. Pretty soon they will both be running faster to get to it first. I never give a treat for a retrieve, EVER. Retrieving on it's own is the reward.

I've owned all kinds of Golden's over the years my two current definitely have hunt and field in their background but I've had conformation bred dogs that were the "pet quality" too. I've never had one that didn't retrieve. I start it as the very first thing they learn. My dogs are retrieving at 8 weeks old. Now by the time they are 5-6 months we are transitioning to a formal retrieve. They retrieve everything but when bumpers come out they know that it's time to really work. I keep balls and a chuck-it stick for play once they are old enough to go the distance.

Make it fun! Make it exciting! Take the toy that you want them to retrieve and keep it solely for that. They don't get to just carry it around. The retrieving toy only comes out when it's time to play with you. If you get two - three happy retrieves stop for the day and do it again the next day.
 

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My Buddy has a firm strong fetch instinct, tennis balls hit from raquets in far distances, rabbits, squirrels, (never actually grabs and hurts them) toys, you name it he adores to chase and "fetch". What he won't do is drop when he brings toys back. He looks for a tug of war every time as his reward. After 5 years we are still working on it !
 

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I have hunt trained Golden's and I start from day one playing retrieves. That is the first thing I start. I roll a ball, toy, paint roller on a carpet 5 - 6 feet away and make the biggest deal over them picking it up. It normally takes a few times and then they get the drift. As soon as I know they get the concept, or game, I move to rolling a ball that's a little bouncy down an enclosed area like a hallway. There are no diversions this way. They run straight down and straight back. My youngest is with a trainer right now working on SH goals. We skipped the JH test due to COVID but will get them both. He's way behind where he should be due to health issues.

If you want to see a Golden really go after a retrieve give them a little competition. Have another dog that likes it go and get the toy a few times. Pretty soon they will both be running faster to get to it first. I never give a treat for a retrieve, EVER. Retrieving on it's own is the reward.

I've owned all kinds of Golden's over the years my two current definitely have hunt and field in their background but I've had conformation bred dogs that were the "pet quality" too. I've never had one that didn't retrieve. I start it as the very first thing they learn. My dogs are retrieving at 8 weeks old. Now by the time they are 5-6 months we are transitioning to a formal retrieve. They retrieve everything but when bumpers come out they know that it's time to really work. I keep balls and a chuck-it stick for play once they are old enough to go the distance.

Make it fun! Make it exciting! Take the toy that you want them to retrieve and keep it solely for that. They don't get to just carry it around. The retrieving toy only comes out when it's time to play with you. If you get two - three happy retrieves stop for the day and do it again the next day.
 

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Hi , Interested in your post. Why would you never "give your dog rewards" or positive reinforcement for retrieveing "EVER" as you say? I can't get my head around your logic. Our dogs thrive and live for positive feedback be it a stroke or a game or a snack? Your comment sounds
harsh.
 

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Hi all. My golden can fetch as I taught her to but only when I have food or if the ball/toy I’m using is new. But once the novelty wears off, she loses interest.

I try and get her excited to play but she doesn’t seem to want to unless there is an external reward.

my golden doesn’t have any health issues and she is naturally relaxed. She needs only an hour long walk plus I train her twice a day. She doesn’t get destructive usually and likes to lie around a lot.
I should note she’s not super into playing with toys either.

Any way I could get her excited and want to play for the enjoyment of fetch and not for food?
Thanks In advance
 

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Registered
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Hi , Interested in your post. Why would you never "give your dog rewards" or positive reinforcement for retrieveing "EVER" as you say? I can't get my head around your logic. Our dogs thrive and live for positive feedback be it a stroke or a game or a snack? Your comment sounds
harsh.
I didn’t say I don’t reward I said I never give treats. The reward is my excitement and the next retrieve. I use treats for obedience, but retrieving starts and ends as play. If you make it fun and exciting from day one you don’t need treats.

Trust me if I have a fault it’s that I’m incapable of being harsh.
 
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