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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’m new to this forum and have my second lab. Tilly is 11 weeks old, from working parents, KC registered etc. She is a remarkably calm puppy for most of the time, not bothered with engaging with visitors until they have been here a while, has seen a couple of dogs from a distance while on my lap at the market and has watched but not wriggled. She loves to chew and puts her crocodile teeth to work on a fairly regular basis throughout the day. We are absolutely delighted with her!

We are working with a puppy trainer from a gun dog company with a view to doing gun dog training when she is older, not that we shoot but we thought she might enjoy the training and we would certainly enjoy the discipline. It’s all going very well at this stage and she is learning quickly. The trainer has asked us to identify a high value toy we can use and we are struggling to find one. She is interested in lots of things but not particularly bothered about any of them. We have tried balls, rope toys, plastic bottles, chew toys etc. She will happily play with all of them for a period of time but is not attached to any. Our last girl was ball mad and so was very easy to do retrievals and recall because she would do anything for a tennis ball.

Tilly is also not particularly food driven which has been a shock to us. She came to us on Skinners which she was distinctly unfussed about and we now have her on a mix of Canagan and fresh food. She loves this and wolfs it down and we are successfully training her at meal times with the Canagan kibble.

So my question is really about high value toys - other than those mentioned above, any suggestions? Nothing squeakily or tugging related.

On a side note, this forum is brilliant, I’ve found so many answers to little queries!


Flower Plant Dog Flowerpot Carnivore
 

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The first "obsession" toy for Lando was a frisbee. I forgot the brand but it's like a black Kong frisbee. Very sturdy. Doesn't float.

Frisbee is life. Nothing else exists when frisbee is out.
The other thing that is life is his 2lb dummies. When one is out, he literally never breaks eyecontact with it.
2lb might be a bit big obviously for the pup but they do smaller ones.

He was never too fussed about balls. One exception is this green annoying squeaky ball. But it's nothing like the frisbee or dummies

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Thee key is not letting her have them, if she's allowed to muck about with them then they're of no value. I only allow mine access to tennis balls and dummies when we're training, and I had one guy who trains and competes with Labradors at tests and trials tell me he'd never seen a dog as focussed on a tennis ball/dummy as my youngster. I do very little retrieving with her, she has access to loads of toys, and she runs around with them and plays with them with her mum and niece, but when I want her serious head on then out come tennis balls and dummies.
 

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That's a very good point. Our dummies are only out when we're training and he's not allowed to run around with them. It's retrieve, dead, and away.

Frisbee only comes out on beach or field walks and again he's not allowed to just have it to carry around.
He has to work for the frisbee and dummy.

I suppose too much of anything makes it uninteresting. If tennis balls are just lying around the house for him/her to grab at any time, then it's not really a reward.

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At 11 weeks old Tilly does not want too much running. My aim when out with a baby is calmness, walking quietly with me rather than too much chasing. A few retrieves to stretch the legs and thats it. As for an indoors toy, and old sweater, rolled up and tied in a knot. Dummies for a puppy, a half pound puppy dummy or an old soft 1 pound is plenty heavy enough. I dont start on heavier dummies until later, and only then if I have a reason. In the case of Chloe I wanted to strengthen the muscles in her neck to help her manage heavier duck and geese. In fact as training for Canada Geese I like to tie three 1 pound dummies together, because I want the bulk rather than the weight.

(486) Long retrieve - YouTube
 

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Lovely video John. I love doing a long retrieve. Very satisfying for some reason. Watching that made me want to head out with Lando

On the "make him work for it", this is what I meant.
Below is my Mrs playing with Lando with the frisbee.
It's all too tempting to just lob it about and have the dog running around like a fool. "But look how happy he is running around!"...
Right.. Well..does John's dog or mine look particularly miserable? :) They love to please and be mentally stimulated. Helen has Lando do a distance stay, down and recall and then gives the "ok" and throws the Frisbee.



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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The first "obsession" toy for Lando was a frisbee. I forgot the brand but it's like a black Kong frisbee. Very sturdy. Doesn't float.

Frisbee is life. Nothing else exists when frisbee is out.
The other thing that is life is his 2lb dummies. When one is out, he literally never breaks eyecontact with it.
2lb might be a bit big obviously for the pup but they do smaller ones.

He was never too fussed about balls. One exception is this green annoying squeaky ball. But it's nothing like the frisbee or dummies

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That’s really helpful, thank you. I might try a frisbee!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thee key is not letting her have them, if she's allowed to muck about with them then they're of no value. I only allow mine access to tennis balls and dummies when we're training, and I had one guy who trains and competes with Labradors at tests and trials tell me he'd never seen a dog as focussed on a tennis ball/dummy as my youngster. I do very little retrieving with her, she has access to loads of toys, and she runs around with them and plays with them with her mum and niece, but when I want her serious head on then out come tennis balls and dummies.
Agreed, we don’t leave the balls out but even when they appear intermittently she doesn’t seem very fussed after a couple of minutes. I haven’t tried a dummy so might get a lightweight one and see if she shows any interest.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
At 11 weeks old Tilly does not want too much running. My aim when out with a baby is calmness, walking quietly with me rather than too much chasing. A few retrieves to stretch the legs and thats it. As for an indoors toy, and old sweater, rolled up and tied in a knot. Dummies for a puppy, a half pound puppy dummy or an old soft 1 pound is plenty heavy enough. I dont start on heavier dummies until later, and only then if I have a reason. In the case of Chloe I wanted to strengthen the muscles in her neck to help her manage heavier duck and geese. In fact as training for Canada Geese I like to tie three 1 pound dummies together, because I want the bulk rather than the weight.

(486) Long retrieve - YouTube
I like the idea of a sweater, thank you! We are not doing any running around other than what she chooses to do herself in the garden and a little bit of recall in the garden. I am very conscious of not doing too much. I’ll source a puppy dummy and see whether we can incorporate that.
 

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Agreed, we don’t leave the balls out but even when they appear intermittently she doesn’t seem very fussed after a couple of minutes. I haven’t tried a dummy so might get a lightweight one and see if she shows any interest.
An old trick I learned when dabbling at working trials training, anything you want to be of high value put it up out of reach, somewhere like on top of a fridge or cupboard. When you walk past and they can watch you, pick it up, make a HUGE fuss as if it's the BEST tennis ball/dummy you've ever, ever seen in your life, and place it carefully back. If you value something so highly it's kept out of reach and you love picking it up as you go past, they will absolutely want that object. Also, as you build up retrieves, the love of retrieving makes the object even more valuable, and because I restrict that to tennis balls and dummies, whenever Branta sees either she absolutely wants that object.
 

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Freddie is 11 months old and we've found that his favourite toys have changed regularly over that time.

He definitely loves his heavy rubber ball (thanks Wilkos!) and we only get that out for walks. There are other balls around the house, tennis balls mostly, which he enjoys but nowhere near as much as the rubber ones. His favourite thing to do is let us throw it while he's not looking. He's been known to spend up to 45 minutes looking for it, tail wagging the whole time.

Dinosaur was a favourite when he first came home.
There was a red ball with a face that squeaked louder than anything I've ever heard. That was a favourite until it got "lost"
Gustav the Vulture went down well and got carried around everywhere for ages, until one day Freddie decided that what he really needed was to get the squeaker out from inside and Gustav met an untimely end.
We replaced Gustav with a duck toy from Sainsburys which he loved, and carried it all around the house and garden as if he was showing the duck his new home. The next day we came home to find duck's stuffing spread all over the lounge!
Various rope-based pull toys have been flavour of the month for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
An old trick I learned when dabbling at working trials training, anything you want to be of high value put it up out of reach, somewhere like on top of a fridge or cupboard. When you walk past and they can watch you, pick it up, make a HUGE fuss as if it's the BEST tennis ball/dummy you've ever, ever seen in your life, and place it carefully back. If you value something so highly it's kept out of reach and you love picking it up as you go past, they will absolutely want that object. Also, as you build up retrieves, the love of retrieving makes the object even more valuable, and because I restrict that to tennis balls and dummies, whenever Branta sees either she absolutely wants that object.
Love that idea! Very happy to start worshipping the tennis ball and a dummy - thank you very much for the tip!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thing about retrieving with a Labrador is you are using their natural desire to hunt for things and carry them. Bringing them back to us is employing their desire to involve us in their "game" We vary things around to keep the interest. This was a memory retrieve down a ride in my wood.
(486) VID 20180607 104850 - YouTube
I’m in awe!!
 

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It's all about making things interesting. When I'm out for a walk I always have my eyes open for interesting situations. I might toss 4 or 5 dummies into some cover, continue my walk then send my dog in to retrieve them on the way back. Dell's are interesting because to your dog the dummy appears to land on the lip of the dell so the dog marks the fall short. My fields are the old time "Ridge and furrow" so again a dummy landing in the furrow is marked short. As a tip, one day get your head down to your dog's height and look at what she sees! The world looks very different when viewed from 2 foot above the ground. A dog's horizon can be very close.

Again with this vid Chloe was very young. A retrieve in cover so she had to start to use her nose instead of her eyes. Initially she marked short, drifted off a little until she decided she was out of the area then made her way back, picked up the scent and was there! These are just different things you can do with your pup to make things more interesting.

(486) Hunting in cover 2 - YouTube
 

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At 11 weeks Ada wasn't particularly interested in specific toys/balls. At 11 months she'll generally not leave your side if you have a ball and if there's a dummy about the difficult bit is to get her to focus on doing something else. We've spent many weeks trying to get her to walk in the opposite direction to a dummy.

We had a tug e nuff toy that only came out on walks when she was young which was reasonably high value for her although her interest has waned of late.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
At 11 weeks Ada wasn't particularly interested in specific toys/balls. At 11 months she'll generally not leave your side if you have a ball and if there's a dummy about the difficult bit is to get her to focus on doing something else. We've spent many weeks trying to get her to walk in the opposite direction to a dummy.

We had a tug e nuff toy that only came out on walks when she was young which was reasonably high value for her although her interest has waned of late.
That’s really helpful, thank you. We have scoured the house and made sure all balls are out of the way and hoping to introduce a frisbee, dummy or similar as well to see whether anything piques her interest. It‘s good to know that it will come with time!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
It's all about making things interesting. When I'm out for a walk I always have my eyes open for interesting situations. I might toss 4 or 5 dummies into some cover, continue my walk then send my dog in to retrieve them on the way back. Dell's are interesting because to your dog the dummy appears to land on the lip of the dell so the dog marks the fall short. My fields are the old time "Ridge and furrow" so again a dummy landing in the furrow is marked short. As a tip, one day get your head down to your dog's height and look at what she sees! The world looks very different when viewed from 2 foot above the ground. A dog's horizon can be very close.

Again with this vid Chloe was very young. A retrieve in cover so she had to start to use her nose instead of her eyes. Initially she marked short, drifted off a little until she decided she was out of the area then made her way back, picked up the scent and was there! These are just different things you can do with your pup to make things more interesting.

(486) Hunting in cover 2 - YouTube
Love watching these, thank you. It’s so useful to get the ideas.
 

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I finally found out how to upload the video to youtube on my work laptop, hopefully you can see what's going on, it's a bit windy, all off lead, Rhuna initially sat at heel (before video starts) and I threw a dummy from the top of a steep incline, then we walked back across a patch of moorland, back up a sloping path where I turned and sent her from the top, which is where the video starts This was the end of a long(ish) training session, so she was quite tired by the end, still a fabulous retrieve.

And now I realise I've stuck it on the wrong thread, never mind, I'll get the hang of this one day!


Rhuna memory retrieve
 

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Lovely moorland you have. Thats the one thing missing around here. My grounds are mostly farm and woodland. I have two private woods and two farms including a disused railway which includes a cutting at one end and an embankment at the other, which I can use. Add to that several more public areas including a conservation area where not too many people go.
 
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