Those of you who read about my earlier totally futile and humiliating experiences of teaching Ray to “Fetch” (see Post “Ray … Fetch” November 26), may be interested to know that he has done it!
Ray will actually play “Fetch”!
To be totally honest, I had nothing to do with it. Carol was outside playing with him and, as I looked out of the window, I saw Ray go charging off after a Frisbee. Once it had landed, he pounced on it and managed to get his teeth on it such that he could carry it back to Carol………….. which he did! There were a number of attempts that were rather less than successful, where he dropped the Frisbee a little short of Carol, and then ran up to her for his treat (false optimism!), but in general he was impressive.
It was not long before he was getting something like an 80% success rate. The 20% that did not work were probably just Ray testing the strategy to see just how far he can bend the rules and still get rewarded! He does that a lot!
I guess it was inevitable that we should try him once again with a tennis ball. He likes to chase tennis balls and they would appear to rank quite high on his list of preferred toys however, it was the tennis ball that was a total failure last November with my “Fetch” endeavors.
I had Ray doing his ”Fetch” with the Frisbee for a number of times and watched with delight as he brought it back each time. Then I threw his tennis ball and watched in great anticipation as he raced across the garden after it. He picked it up in his mouth; played with it for a few seconds; dropped it and came over to see us both!
Once again we played with the Frisbee before we switched to the tennis ball and, once again, he would only bring the Frisbee back to us. When Carol was doing the throwing, I just watched as I was hoping to see something that would explain his behavior ………. and I thought that I had found it!
The Frisbee we used was a “dog toy”, consisting of a ring frame, about ½” dia.; covered in fabric, and the whole thing was about 9”dia. Once it had landed, Ray found that getting his teeth around it was awkward (it would be flat on the ground) so he would use his feet to press down on the edge such that the opposite side would lift and he could grab it! Once he had the ring frame in his mouth, he would come trotting back in order to get his treat.
With the tennis ball however, he could grab it straight away but would then throw it away or just drop it. Given the size of a tennis ball, I would imagine that it would pretty much fill Ray’s mouth whereas the ring on the Frisbee would not be such a problem. Perhaps his preference was simply based on comfort in his mouth?
No doubt we will learn more as time passes, but while the comfort factor was quite convincing …………….why is a stick, even a small one, not a good “Fetch” object? Hmmmmm ….. theory needs more work!