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Hi, hoping for some tips here, we have a Vizsla pup who is 4 months, he's fitting right in with the family and is an absolute joy. One thing ....he's not really interested in balls or fetch of any kind, our previous 2 V's were crazy for fetch. I'm wondering if there are any tips to get him engaged with this activity as it's a great way to exercise them. Thanks in advance!
 

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How important is it to you?
There is a process known as “ forced retrieval”, but it needs to be done by a very experienced, competent, trainer, known to specialize in it.
It’s not a pretty process, and unless you really need your dog to retrieve, I wouldn’t put him through it.
Keep working with him with different objects, and maybe try water retrieval with him. Hopefully something clicks.
Some V’s are not good retrievers, others can be so- so, and some are very good at it. It’s just the individual dog at the end of the day.
 
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We are on V #2&3 and none of ours have ever had any interest in fetch
When we got our first I bought 50 tennis balls and a throwing stick to be able to really get some distance. Nope , I had to go pick them up.

They are more than happy to chew a ball up but not bring it back.

They will bring any dead thing they find into the house. I guess that is their fetch.
 

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Mine is 8 months now. He wasn't really getting fetch, or wasn't into it, up until maybe a month ago, when (after about a month of rest after a surgery) he just "got it" and does it whenever we go outside. Sometimes he's kind of reluctant (it's hot outside!) and he only does a few rounds before he wants to do other stuff but he finally got it. Maybe if you stick with it, yours will at some point suddenly decide to humor you?
 

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My best retrieving V was Boone. He was “ non slip”, meaning he never failed at it on land or in the water.
Silkcut would retrieve exactly 8 times, and that was it. But he never failed on an actual bird. He was really good in the water.
Rush was so- so at it, and horrible in the water. That boy was going to drown!
Both of my girls were not very good at it, but that was probably due to being started wrong by previous people since puppyhood,
Finn is very good at it. He’s just not so good about giving it back on a land retrieve, but he’s much better with a water retrieve. He balked at Pheasants last year, but had no issues with Quail and Chukar???
I personally do not do “ force retrieval training”. I take what the dog will give. I do not trial, or compete with my dogs though.Folks that compete, and trial their dogs, generally have to push the dog through force retrieval training, as that is a part of the competition.
If you hunt these dogs, they should retrieve, or point dead.
 
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If my memory serves me correctly, Aly @ 4 months old wasn't into balls, either. As a longer term exercise option, I wished for her to have some enthusiasm for fetching them. By about this time, I think I'd pretty much decided I wasn't going to return to hunting and Aly would exclusively become a companion pup. I wasn't worried my attempted methods of getting her interested in fetch may interfere of hunting training and activities.

By 4 months old, Aly loved her pink octopus Wubba (which is essentially a ball with tentacles). She began developing too great an interest in playing tug. Instead of just shutting down the tug game, I decided to use it as a reward for other learned activities.

The first thing she learned from playing tug was "release". If she wanted me to tug back a little or for me to torque her head a little, she'd first have to release it from her mouth, on demand.

When she became very reliable at releasing, the opportunity of a tug at Wubba became and alternative reward (as opposed to treats) for other obedience training... sit, stay, lay down, stand, look at my eyes, etc. The Wubba/tug thing also became my avenue of commanding Aly at a distance.

When at a distance, reward for success was initially a recall, so she could get a tug or two... then release was commanded. As a little time passed, reward was sometimes me throwing her Wubba to her... and then recalling her. Of course, she wanted that lil tug, so she always had Wubba in her mouth. Soon, me just tossing Wubba and her fetching it, with a release into my hand at the end, became part of the game.

I should have mentioned, Aly's 1/2 dozen favorite toys were given names. @4 months old, simply by saying a toy name, would prompt her to get it... because of course, that meant PLAY!

At around 4.5 to 5 months old, Aly's sharks vanished... almost overnight and began developing a real love of the actual training interaction. It was about this time I began directing her attention to the named "ball", which she still didn't have much interest in. Initially, reward was given simply for her going to the ball and touching it with her nose.

The next step was when getting her into a high intensity play/training mode... I would command Aly to "Get the Wubba!", 5 or 6 times in rabid succession. She'd get really amped at hearing "Get the..."! When it became the semi-frantic activity of fetching and not the object, I began intermixing "Get the Ball!"

Now, @ 19 months old, Aly is a ball fetching freak! If not involved in other activities, she would fetch a ball 25 hours a day. Be careful what you wish for!🤣😂🤣😂

Was this the correct or recommended method of shaping the pup's interest into an activity she didn't seem to have an interest in? I couldn't tell ya. Would Aly have naturally developed an interest in fetching balls? Maybe. None the less, we both had a blast!

Best of luck... and most of all, HAVE FUN!
 
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