Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday’s Medley - an answer to “how to”


Hi Y’all,

I’ve been asked how to get your own dog to retrieve like me…patience is the answer.  My Human had infinite patience. 

When I came to live with my Humans, I’d been livin’ with a big pack of dogs and the humans there would throw balls or bumpers and then whoever got there first played “keep-away” so another pack member didn’t get our prize! 

First thing my Human Momma did was take a tennis ball and toss it down the long hall.  I couldn’t get past her, plus she had a lead trailin’ from my collar so she could pull me to her if I didn’t take the ball to her when she called “bring”.  (big sigh) 

Next I graduated to the water

Once in the water, Momma would throw the bumper out a short way and let me swim out to get it.  Then, callin’ me to “bring”, she would guide me to her.  Below are a couple of more pictures of the training process.



         ‘Cause of my large size it was easier to control me in the water.  Once I figured out that she’d throw it again, as long as I brought the object back to her, I was one happy fellow!  Then we graduated to no check lead, then to land. 

  Here I am swimming back with a bumper.  Notice I don’t have any lead on me. 






  Here I am bringin’ a toy back.  That’s a tab lead dangling from my collar.  That’s so my Human can grab hold of my collar if she needs or wants to stop me.  She only does that if she sees danger or I do something wrong.  I’m a good boy, so I NEVER do anything wrong. Devil  Winking smile 


  1. Hi Hawk,

    Just popped over from your comment on Yvonne's What's in a Blog? post (Tom, here) and what a happy accident to land on your "How to" lesson on retreiving! I'm going to babble on a bit, so you can understand my appreciation ...

    As you may know, we've gone from "between dogs" last September to having three, all rescued from some of those "big pack" situations.

    Chester came to us first, or should I say we went looking (it was time) and found him at Longmont Humane via Kindness Ranch Sactuary. He's a 7 y/o coon hound mix, with loads of that hound dog "if it's not time to eat, it must be time to rest" attitude. He's pretty good with recall, but not much interested in any form of play most of the time.

    The wonderful lady who came down from Wyoming to approve us for Chester casually mentioned that he had a friend back at the sanctuary, Emily (2 y/o Treewalker Coon Hound mix), and she thought we'd make a good family for her too ... so by the end of October, we'd gone from zero to two dogs ... for which Pandora (our 17+ y/o cat) is still working on forgiving us.

    Emily's personality is more like an Irish Setter than a hound. She want's to play all the time, but only she's allowed to know the rules! She's great with recall, if she feels like it. And every so often she'll retrieve a toy like she's been doing it all her life for about three reps. But most of the time she'd rather tug-o-war, unless that's what we wanted, or wrestle, unless that's what we ... and so on.

    Now both Chester and Emily came from research facilities, so we figure they didn't come to us with much human play experience.

    Then, around the end of November, our friend and blog-buddy Kyla Duffy (Up for Pups) introduced us to Olive (5 y/o Boston Terrier). Kyla was fostering Olive, who'd spent her entire life as a puppy-mill breeder dog and lost her right eye to an infection. And now we have three dogs (stop, we're at capacity).

    Olive, somewhat surprisingly, seems to get the whole interactive play concept very well, though she's much better at tug-o-war than retrieving.

    My point in sharing all this to thank you for the reminder about how much patience it will take. And to note that patience requires time ... a resource we humans all struggle so much to allocate.

    I only hope our furry family members can find the patience to put up with us!

    Oh, and I love the photos you share here, too.


  2. Playing fetch is my favorite, favorite game right now (and being in the water). And here you are doing both! Great job, Hawk!!

  3. Thanks for the retrieving tutorial. I'm always interested to hear the methods other people use in teaching things. Lucy and I work on retrieval daily- she's getting better- if only there wasn't a 10 minute game of tug-o-war every time she brings something back...

  4. Cooper and Lola like playing fetch. Its a huge game with Cooper and Lola tries to get involved but doesn't stay interested very long. Thanks for the tutorial.

  5. You're a very talented doggie! Lily wants you to know that she loves to retrieve her tennis ball... because that way our Mama will throw it for her to chase again! And again! Even Sammy-joe retrieves his little mice toys sometimes. But if Mama throws a toy for Trixie, Trixie just looks at her like, "WHY are you throwing things around now? CALM DOWN!"

  6. Hello Hawk,,,Nioe to meet you. I found your blog on the Blog Hop roll. Great photos of you in action. I got worn out just watching you in the photos.

  7. Mesa is a great retriever. Baily doesn't like to bring the ball back. Big Carl isn't fast enough ;)