Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Double Fetch

Labs and poodles are both retrieving breeds. Jasper, however, has shown a decided disinclination toward the game of Fetch.

When we first brought him home, tossing a ball would send him running scared in the other direction. By the time we left Minnesota, perhaps inspired by watching the crazy fetching Border Collies on the other side of the backyard fence, he would often chase a stick or ball and pounce on it, but he didn't understand the bringing-it-back concept.

But, rather suddenly in the last few weeks, he seems to have gotten it—more or less. He and Brynna have both been enjoying romping in our new neighborhood park. And now we have a very efficient way to tire them both out! It's a little game we call "Double Fetch."

Here's how it goes. I use the tennis-ball-atlatl to toss the ball for Jasper. He goes bounding after it:

Then I hand the claw to Brynna, who starts toddling in his direction.

Jasper comes sprinting back toward us, usually dropping the ball somewhere in a 50-foot radius. I ask Brynna "where's the ball?" and she heads in that direction as fast as her little legs can carry her. Sometimes she uses the claw to push Jasper out of the way. Then I have to coax Jasper to "drop it" and then cajole Brynna to give me the atlatl so we can start the whole process over again.

Pretty soon, both Brynna and Jasper are tuckered out and we head for home.

Tonight, I was using treats to help train Jasper to actually bring the ball all the way back to me...though maybe I will have to rethink this strategy, as it results in less exercise for little B.

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