My Springer Spaniel appears to have forgotten how to retrieve

by lizzie


Our Springer Spaniel is 21 weeks old.

His training was going well until this last week where he appears to have forgotten how to retrieve a ball. Last week we had him to a point where he would sit until told to fetch the ball and he would then with four whistle pips and the thought of a nice treat bring the rabbit fur ball directly back to us. He does not drop the ball but with the command "leave it" he will allow it to be taken out of his mouth.

This week however he has decided that he will not bring the ball directly back to us and circles close by or loses interest and lays down with the ball. He is still able to sit and when told to fetch he fetches. He is also is still responding to the whistle recall pips with no ball where he comes directly back and sits next to me. We don't think he has become ball possessive because when he does eventually come back to gives the ball up with no fight. We have taken steps back to make the distance the ball is being thrown smaller and using his long lead in case we do need to give him a tug. We have even bought really smelly tasty treats.

We have made sure that we do not take the ball away from him directly but give him praise and cuddles.

He is teething at the moment, could this be a reason for this lack of interest in bringing the ball back or could there some other reason?

We are fearful that if he gets into these bad habits now that there will be no way of rectifying this problem. Is there anything anyone can think of to help this situation. This is our first dog so have nothing to compare this to.

He is very ball and food orientated and this would usually do the trick.

Any help is greatly appreciated

Than you kindly

Lizzie and Gareth

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Dec 13, 2011
Retrieve NEW
by: Anonymous

Hi, have you tried not training for a few days? Perhaps the dog is getting bored. With the same old routine. Do you search for hidden balls with your dog encouraging retrieves from finds a few yards in front? Also, trying taking a couple of paces back when your dog is on the way to you with a retrieve, that can sometimes jolt a dog in to focussing on you more. Over encouragement can be miss construed by a dog and they sense anger especially if they're of a sensitive nature. The command to release is usually 'dead' so that you can use 'leave it' for general put it down commands what command do you use for general put it down situations? I hope it's not 'no' because you'll be confusing your dog. Anyway good luck. Relax and have fun sometimes hiding what you want in play works best in breaking bad habits. Be creative and find what works for you and your dog. Whatever you do don't push too hard, there's bags of time!

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