March 8, 2013

We take advice.

Yesterday's Where's the Ball Café had video of Zeus the Labrador retriever losing the ball in deep snow. This morning, David Davenport commented:
Meade, here's a suggestion. While the snow lasts, train Zeus to look for the ball in a hole in otherwise untrodden snow. Don't throw the ball. Drop it so that it sinks into the snow. Then take Zeus by the collar and direct his view to the ball down in the hole. Repeat this several times until Zeus gets the idea."
Meade immediately took Zeus into the backyard, and, from the window, I shot this video:

31 comments:

EMD said...

There's no i in typo.

wyo sis said...

Smart dog.

Methadras said...

Good boy.

Ann Althouse said...

ha ha

typo fixed.

Amartel said...

All those times Zeus "couldn't find" the ball - he just wanted a new one.

Surfed said...

This summer train him to swim underwater. Hold the tennis ball just underwater where he can see it. he'll grab it. Then a little further underwater and he'll get it again. Eventually he just start swimming underwater/down to the bottom. Mine did. He'd pick all kinds of stuff up off the bottom of a pool or freshwater springs. Gotta' be careful around here though. Lab is delicacy #1 on an alligators menu.

Rusty said...

Calvin and Hobbs

Revenant said...

I see Zeus believes in a mandatory minimum of post-retrieval running before ball return.

wyo sis said...

"I see Zeus believes in a mandatory minimum of post-retrieval running before ball return."

It's like having a teen age girl in the house.

rhhardin said...

I'd blindfold my Dobie Susie in training her to track, so she wouldn't try to see the glove she was after.

Blindfold = sock with the toe cut off, doubled over for optical thickness.

rhhardin said...

A ball in an open hole is still emitting ball scent.

A ball covered over is not.

tiger said...

Professor? Let us know if Zeus can find the ball in the snow after it's been thrown.

Bob Ellison said...

It's a pleasure to see someone take so much joy in his work!

Dust Bunny Queen said...

A ball in an open hole is still emitting ball scent.

A ball covered over is not.


Teaching your retriever to 'blind retrieve' for field trials takes a lot of patience. And it takes a lot of trust. You can't screw with the dog and try to trick him/her. The dog must trust, always, that the signals you are giving are going to guide him to the goal.

Unlike in an actual hunting situation where the dog can watch where the bird falls, the dog doesn't see where the 'bird' has been planted. You are not allowed to give verbal orders. The signals that you give tell the dog where to go, where to stop and then they find the 'bird' by scent and visually.

Teaching Zeus that where you say there is a ball, there IS a ball, is the beginning of this type of training. Trust.

Bob Ellison said...

I hired Mr. Bob to help train our big German Shepherd. He's not like other dog whisperers. He trains the humans more than the dogs, and he shows his love for the animals.

Disclosure: I have no interest in this except that I think Mr. Bob does fine work that is hard to find.

Bob Ellison said...

Hmm. Blogger ate my last post. It had a link to a YouTube video. "For shame, Bob!"

Ann Althouse, you really should leave this awful platform.

edutcher said...

Glad to see the commentariat is still heard.

Did Meade train Zeus? If so, he did a wonderful job and clearly enjoys his work.

Nini said...

Observe Zeus's tail. Cute!

The Godfather said...

Our dog is a lab-pointer mix from the local rescue outfit, and we love her dearly, so don't take the following comment the wrong way.

Liberals are like Zeus: They are lovable, and they really try really hard, but too often they just can't find the ball.

pj (lowercase) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"he figured out how to get out of the holding pen."

Oh, give me a break. The animal was not properly secured. Human beings are to blame. It wasn't the case that the lion evolved into a genius.

Lem said...

Keep your eyes on the ball... except for when it goes into the sun.

Lem said...

Speaking of the sun...

Did you see this?

The sun has been quiet...

Too quiet.

ken in sc said...

We used to have a Lab. We loved her, but she shed too much fur. We now have two Boston Terriers. They don't shed much. They are very smart and understand many English phrases. If I say 'come here and get your leashes on' they do. If they wrap their leash around a bush and I say, 'go around the other way,' they will. If I say, 'follow me, come with me.' they will. If I say 'let's go see Stephanie' –my wife. They will go to her home office and sit next to her.

Unfortunately, one of them has started having seizures. They are both—a girl and a boy—about 12 years old. He has had three full blown seizures and a couple of minor episodes where he just fell over and looked around as if he did not know what was going on.

We just started him on phenobarbital and a bromide. So far so good.

bagoh20 said...

"It wasn't the case that the lion evolved into a genius."

Of course, he didn't evolve, but maybe he had an epiphany.

McTriumph said...

What Dust Bunny Queen said, but marinate the tennis balls in pheasant sent or bacon grease. Zeus will find the covered ball, dogs hunt with their noses.

David said...

http://www.dobbsdogs.com/library/retrievers/index.html

Over 35 stages of dog training.

David Davenport said...

EIA said it first:

Looks like the dog ... lacks the logic of hole == place where the ball fell

My comment: One sometimes notices surprising gaps in what clever animals or otherwise clever humans know or don't know.

wyo sis said...

In defense of Zeus there were a lot of holes in the snow by the time they'd been playing for awhile.

Chip Ahoy said...

You must go back to that field and find that missing tennis ball. It's still out there waiting, waiting to be found. And they get really good and ripe sitting out there in the snow.

David Davenport said...

We need a comparison test. Why not let Ms. A. and Mr. M. take turns throwing and retrieving the ball in the snow?

Let's find out how easily humans can find the tennis ball. :0)