Dogs that love to play ball, which as it turns out is most dogs, will be highly motivated to learn how to use an automatic ball launcher, as the opportunity to fetch the launched ball is its own reward. Even a nervous or skittish dog can learn how to operate the ball launcher, although an anxious, nervous, or inexperienced dog may take some more time to get used to the sights and sounds of the automatic ball launcher. Automatic launchers can be adjusted for time, speed, distance and pitch, and they do make some noise. You will need to acclimatize your dog to the machine, and then show him where he needs to stand when it launches, usually next to the machine, a few feet away, to retrieve the ball, and to release the ball into the receptacle at the top of the machine, if you want him to be able to fully operate the automatic ball launcher. An alternative to having your dog reload the machine is to have your dog release the ball to you, and you can reload the machine if you or your dog is not comfortable with him handling the job.
My dog Lulu is now able to drop the ball in the hole on her own and fetch and return. However she waits in front of the hole and the ball hits her in the face. I can’t get her to move to the side as she knows where the ball comes out and is clearly so excited to fetch that she doesn’t mind being hit. Please help!
Hello Alicia, I would practice playing fetch with her, with you putting the ball into the dispenser, having an assistant encourage her to run away from the ball thrower to the area where the ball will go when released, then once she is away from the ball, then and only then, let the ball out - so that she is rewarded with a ball for moving away from the dispenser. You will need to practice this a lot - until she becomes convinced that the way to get the ball to come back out is to run away from it, and that it won't come out while she is close. Once she is convinced of that, then phase yourself out of the game again. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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