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Discussion Starter #1
So Zoe is crazy about fetching a ball. Accordingly, I bought her a ball throwing machine - it's called IFetch. It has a wide opening on top to drop in the ball and it shoots it out the front. It can be adjusted for varying distances. Zoe loves it.

BUT . . . the idea was that she learn to retrieve the ball and drop it in the top herself. I cannot get her to do that. She brings me the ball to drop into the machine. She does know the command "drop it", but I use that when she has gotten something she should not have. So I am trying "put it in the hole". She drops it close to the machine, but not in it. She has looked in the "hole" and tapped the machine with her foot, but that is the extent. I have give enthusiastic praise for any behavior approximating dropping the ball in the machine. So far, no good.

Any suggestions? Has anyone else trained a dog to use a ball-thrower? One Idea I am going to try is to take the machine outside so it can make longer throws and maybe help her figure the thing out.
 

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This would be a good one for clicker training. You could try teaching her with a larger target, like dropping her ball in a basket. That one would be pretty easy to capture with a clicker, especially since she already knows drop it. Then, when she's doing it reliably, pair it with a pointing gesture, then eventually a simple command like "In."

Alternatively, just give her some time and I'm sure she'll figure it out on her own—especially since the reward (the "throw") would be pretty immediate even if she accidentally drops it in.
 

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She already knows "drop the ball", so teach her to drop the ball into something. You can use boxes, bowls, whatever. When she is good at dropping it into whichever receptacle you indicate, teach her to drop it into the fetch machine. I would not use the machine until she can do that, and then the machine throwing the ball is her reward.
 

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I’m interested to see how this goes! I’ve often wondered how dogs would learn to drop it back in.

Gracie loves to fetch too. When we brought her home at eight weeks the breeder told me she liked to retrieve a ball, and sure enough, she did it from day 1 with us. No training needed. From your posts, it seems Gracie and Zoe are very similar, wonder if they have some common ancestors!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Zoe is by Ch. Aery's King of the Castle out of Impressive Silver Angel. Lots of Aery, Kallista, and VanTan breeding - mostly silvers. She is small - only 11 pounds and 14 inches, but very athletic. I think she will eventually be blue - still black at age 3.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the training suggestions, Peggy and Reraven. I'll try those. I'm looking forward to formal obedience training again - this fall I hope. We have a great obedience club with wonderful facilities and excellent classes in obedience, agility, scent work, tracking (and I may be forgetting something!). Of course everything is halted right now, but our barn hunt group is planning to start back soon, so maybe all our other dog sports will begin again as well.
 

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Zoe is by Ch. Aery's King of the Castle out of Impressive Silver Angel. Lots of Aery, Kallista, and VanTan breeding - mostly silvers. She is small - only 11 pounds and 14 inches, but very athletic. I think she will eventually be blue - still black at age 3.
No similar names there. Gracie is from Light n Lively Poodles- names in her pedigree include Songbird, Clarion, BarKing, Halcyon, Kiyara...to name some. She is 15 lbs, and I just measured her height again, looks to be about 15. We’ll see what the official is when we finally get back to agility.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
"No similar names there. Gracie is from Light n Lively Poodles- names in her pedigree include Songbird, Clarion, BarKing, Halcyon, Kiyara...to name some. " That's truly some very, very fine breeding!
 

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Thanks Johanna! She is a great dog in every way, I am rather obsessed with her,lol!
 
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