I have not given up on having a dog that fetches. Since Marley refuses to retrieve tennis balls, I've decided to try something different. I got her a Chewber and we started the following training regimen.
- I stored the Chewber in a container of kibble for about a month.
- I started to use it as a food bowl.
- After dinner I would hold it and ask her to "take it" and when she gently took it out of my hand I would praise her and give her a treat.
- I started to gently roll it about a foot and I would ask her to "get it."
- Once she figured out if she returned the Chewber she would be rewarded with a treat I started to gently throw it a couple of feet.
- As she became better at bringing it back I started to feel excited about my future disc dog.
Today, I decided to see if we could translate our Chewber success to our Hurl a Squirrel. I was pleasantly surprised to discover Marley was just as excited about bringing back the Hurl a Squirrel.
At this point I still need to try this in a different location and I need to start withholding some treats. I'm still not sure how to encourage her to focus on the toy and not on the treats.
I welcome any advice or suggestions.