Eyes down, look away…
My 15-month-old cocker spaniel is fast over the ground and quick at finding the dummies, but when she returns she drops the retrieve about 6ft in front of me and will not place it in my hand. She will retrieve multiple dummies, but I feel this is making the problem worse because she sees no need to bring them right in. How can I resolve this?
Believe it or not, this is not an uncommon problem and there are a couple of things you can do to try and get over it.
First, try turning away from the dog and call her to heel as she comes in with the retrieve; bend down sideways and put your hand under the dummy as she comes alongside. This is a useful ploy because it means you will not be leaning over her at the moment of delivery and avoiding eye contact, which some dogs find very off-putting.
Another method is to lay, or sit, on the ground, and give her loads of praise when she comes to you. This confidencebuilding exercise is a gradual process, but given time she will hopefully learn that praise will only come when she brings the dummy to you.