View Full Version : Playing Fetch

3rd October 2012, 03:03 PM
Oliver is now 9 months old, we've had him since he was 10 weeks. From the beginning we trained him with dog food as treats to sit, lay down, stay, shake, etc, which he now does extremely well. We also started playing fetch. Oliver will go "get" anything and everything we throw. Bringing it back is a whole other story. He likes to make treasure troves of his fetched items. Related to this is his tendency towards thievery. He steals shoes, socks, any small items and relocates them. No chewing behavior going on, just hoarding our things. Most of the time, this is related to wanting our attention, as he is good at stealing from the one who's attention he wants.

Is there something intrinsic in Cavaliers that keeps them from bringing us the ball? If not, any tips on how to correct this behavior? Thanks!

Kate H
3rd October 2012, 10:35 PM
You need to make it more worth his while to bring the ball back to you than to take it away to hoard. Will he take the ball if you give it to him (rather than throw it)? Then ask him to give it back to you and exchange it for a good reward. If necessary do this with him on the lead, so that he can't run off with the ball. You might try this with the other things he steals, so that he gets the idea that bringing things to you gets a reward, whereas taking them away doesn't! Don't know if it will work, but perhaps worth a try!

Neither of my two are the slightest bit interested in balls, but both have been taught to retrieve a dumbell, and by extension a lot of different objects (short lengths of hosepipe, knotted cloths, yogurt cartons they're given to lick out!) which they will bring back to me and get their reward. But I taught this as an exercise (which they now enjoy), building it up in short stages, not as a game because then it's up to the dog whether they play it or not and you can't do much about it - as you have discovered!

Kate, Oliver and Aled

3rd October 2012, 10:46 PM
Yeah re-puppy proof and he glad he's not chew up your things. Fletcher is a little monster of a thief however if he turns up with something he shouldn't have its our fault (the people in the house) Also have you worked on the "leave it" command? But that would only help if you catch him in the act.

Fletcher does not return balls either he runs right past me and drops them waiting to be thrown another. But I thought that was our fault for always playing fetch with several balls :) He puts them all in the same spot and when he is running after the last ball in my hands I pick them up and start again. Here's a tip tho I have about 30 of those splash balls (made for water play- you can buy them anywhere) cause my boys are allowed to throw them inside the house. They are very light weight no need to worry about things (like my lamps) from getting knocked over. Plus even tho Fletcher is a chewer I have not had one broken open yet. Since cavalier's are small you can play inside with no problem. Heck my husband plays fetch while sitting on the sofa talk about lazy but Fletcher like it.

4th October 2012, 05:20 AM
Rose is a ball playing fool, lol, and has been since the first time we tried to play it with her (she caught on in about 2 minutes, will even bring the ball closer/put it in our hand if we say "Can't reach it"). She's up for a game of fetch anytime, anywhere! I would imagine you can teach him as suggested, but I also think it's a personality thing. Rose's sister (littermate) is also a ball playing fool, but the other Cav she lives with, not so much. Our Cardigan Corgi was also a ball crazy dog (he learned to spell it, too, and then we spelled the word "ball" in casual conversation :P for about 2 years after he passed away). His sister (same parents, different litter) would play for a few tosses, then it was "Eh, I'm done".

Be careful what you wish for, though- I can not sit down to fold a load of laundry without a ball being tossed in my lap! :P

4th October 2012, 05:36 AM
I may not have the correct answer..but I can tell you from our little Wrigley..they are NOT retrievers. Once we throw him a ball or toy...he assumes it is now HIS.
We have a Labrador Retriever. He'll run..get the ball..bring it back..drop it & go back after it again & again.
The thing is..Cavaliers were never bred to retrieve. They were bred to go flush birds out...but not necessarily bring to them back to you...haha !! I personally wouldn't be too concerned about him retrieving. Find what "does" interest him..and keep him doing that. Wrigley loves chasing...jumping...& is really good at games where he has to catch. He may take off running w/ it once he's caught it..but he is having FUN*!!!
Sounds like you have a heads start on training ...so I am sure you will figure out what works best.
Good luck*

Kate H
4th October 2012, 09:33 AM
PS I think some Cavaliers are not keen on balls because if their noses are a bit short they find it quite difficult to breathe round a ball filling their mouth. So they prefer some other object, less 'gobstopping' than a ball. I watched a collie owner the other day, standing by his car and throwing a ball into the park for his dog to fetch - which collies will do endlessly as most of them are ball obsessives - and I though 'Huh, your dogs doing OK but you're not getting much exercise. My Cavaliers keep me fit because we all have to walk, no getting away for me with standing still throwing a ball while the dog does the work!'

Kate, Oliver and Aled

4th October 2012, 10:02 AM
Dillon is ball crazy. At 15 months old he is now an 'expert' at chasing, stopping and retrieving a ball - he brings it straight back to me, and drops it at my feet waiting for the next throw. Can I claim to have trained him to do this? sadly, no....right from a very early age he chased balls thrown for him and has perfected his art all on his own...no treats either he just isn't interested..throwing the ball does it every time..:luv: and we can do it inside as we have a very long thin house...

4th October 2012, 01:43 PM
Neither of my two are even remotely interested in bringing back a ball to me, but I had a foster a couple of years ago and she was just like Dillon, she loved retrieving a tennis ball. Luckily she went to a great home where one of their son's requests was for a dog that would do just that, so it was a match made in heaven :)

4th October 2012, 04:12 PM
Thanks for all of your advice and stories. We're new pet parents and couldn't have asked for a better breed, and even better the sweetest little pup. I can't believe how much I love him!

I tried his favorite treat in small pieces last night, after he calmed down a bit, he did bring the ball back until we ran out of treats. :-) His dad really wants him to return the ball; I don't mind throwing all the balls and everything out of his toy box for him to go fetch and hoard...he seems so happy doing it.

I also agree that it is our fault for leaving our shoes out/not paying attention to him/not teaching him to not steal. I'm having to train Oliver's dad at the same time. Attention seeking behavior needs to be corrected but then give him positive attention.

4th October 2012, 08:17 PM
Bentley learned on his own. We don't use a ball, but he'll bring one of his favorite floppy toys, some of which are weighted so they throw well. When he was very new (and we got him at 10 weeks) I was sitting here using my laptop and noticed he was sitting in front of me staring at my face. I looked down and he had dropped his toy there, so I threw it and he seemed to know exactly what the game was about. He likes to grab for it the same time I do so that, in itself, is part of the game. He loves to run after the toy when I throw it about 30 feet across the hardwood, grabbing it and sliding as he puts on the brakes.

15th October 2012, 01:00 AM
My cavalier was a natural retriever. Actually,he took things to his bed all the time when he was a little puppy. I sat there and took it from him, and he learned to bring it to me. He still likes to retrieve it to a certain couch at home. Otherwise, he will typically bring it within arms reach. He's a good retriever, and he plays flyball now.

26th October 2012, 04:53 PM
We take Lady to this big grass field and she loves to play fetch. We got her those mini tennis balls since her mouth is small. She is going to be one on November 7th.

26th October 2012, 05:55 PM
With the added incentive of treats, Oliver is better about returning the ball, but he still occasionally bypasses a treat to add the ball to his hoard. :) I've started playing with him at the dog park and that is going better. Thanks for all the tips. And happy birthday to Lady!