As many of you know we had a few issues with Wilson working for toys before our Foundation's course, sometimes balls were fun other times they were booaarrriiinnngggg!
We made toys more fun and also did food-in-toys. We can work with just toys but it's erratic as to when, so I decided to try and progress from food-in-toys, (which he's pretty happy to work for anytime) which we changed to a fetch. He had to race to get the toy I throw for him and return it to me for a treat, simple. I'd been half working on it for a while but a few days ago we mastered it.
I filled a glove (not a good idea, the treats get stuck in the fingers!) with treats and threw it for him, he raced after it and I called him and when he brought it at least half way back (it was only a short distance away) I clicked and rewarded. Then we got it the whole way (still short distance) and then I swapped the glove for an empty one (swap for an empty glove straight after work with the treat filled one). Wilson went straight for the empty one and I rewarded. We can now do it with any soft toy, but he does occasionally need to be told a second time he really needs to get it! He sometimes does it for fun, he didn't bring it back a few times as he wanted to play which is good! And sometimes the reward is another throw or tug! I also can now hide and call him! So good! Because he does like toys I think it'll be easy to get the reward to be another throw.
We're also doing "happy tricks" which is a Silvia Trkman idea, you either use tricks that dogs do when happy and excited or even observe your dog as to what they do when happy for example, jump up on you? or spin? or bark? and you capture that behavior and name it. And tehn you use it to excite your dog before Agility etc ... Wilson we're doing bark, spin, jump up, rebound, bounce, side-to-side, touch & get-it.
Many dogs, especially retrievers (flat coats, golden retriever, labs) love fetch and don't need to be taught, except to drop it! Holly loves fetch (not sure why we never encouraged it) as did Skye (a foster flat coat) but Wilson not so much but he loves it now!