Rottweilers are intelligent dogs that have a wide range of skills, since originally they were used as all-around farm dogs. However, just because your Rottie might be a great herder, vermin catcher, protector and/or obedience dog, it doesn’t mean he will naturally bring a toy when you throw it for him. Chasing a toy is fun – just like herding a sheep or trying to get that rat – but picking it up and bringing it back is something different altogether. If you are struggling to get your Rottweiler to finish the fetch, try the following three tips.
#1 – Start With The End
In dog training, we call this “back chaining.” Back chaining a behavior means you start with the last piece of the behavior. So in this case you would start by teaching your Rottie to pick up a toy and place it in your hand. This is done easiest through shaping with a clicker.
#2 – Use A Special Toy
At first, it can help to use a special toy your Rottweiler loves and only use it for this training session. This helps for two reasons. One, dogs don’t generalize their learning so using the same object each time will help your dog recall the lesson from last time so you can move on quicker. And two, if it’s something he really likes he will be more likely to want to pick it up and stay focused on it for the training.
#3 – Build Up Distance
Once your Rottweiler is picking up that toy and placing it in your hand, you can start to toss it for him to “fetch.” But don’t chuck it as far as you can the first time. Instead, build up distance by first just tossing it a foot away from you. If your Rottie immediately picks it up and puts it in your hand, you know he has the concept and you can increase the distance of the toss. If he fails three times in a row, however, you may need to shorten the distance or go back and reinforce the picking up and placing in your hand some more.
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