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All the dogs I have loved include two Miniature Schnauzers, two German Shepherds, and two Border Collies.  One GSD and one BC loved fetch, all the others didn't care.  I shouldn't include Mattie since she is my first rescue and I didn't get her until she was older. 

So the question.  What makes a dog fetch?  Personality?  Genetics?  I really don't know.  My kids decided one day to teach Tasha to fetch and it took about a half an hour and she had it.  Tasha will fetch anything.  If someone tossed the cat she would bring him back.  Tasha has been know to pile up toys in an attempt to get my husband to play fetch.  If he ignores her she will bother him over and over with multiple items.  She will play fetch with just about anything. 

So what makes some dogs fetch and others not?
It is said that "fetch" ignites prey drive and that "prey drive" is often also associated  with some dogs intensity about keeping the object, taking it away and having a good chew on it. If I consider my WL Sheps I can see possible validity in this. All my Sheps had extreme prey drive and the last in particular needed huge effort to teach him to return the item.

Max also has high prey drive  and it very intense about "fetch" but he does return well. He is also highly stimulated when he see's birds and other critters and will  be determined to try and get a lizard or similar that has scurried under something.

Jasper on the other hand has low to non-existent prey drive and he also does not get that excited about fetch. He is intrigued by critters but not really overly stimulated by them preferring instead to watch and observe what they are up to. If we try to play with him alone, he understands the game just fine but after 2-3 throws loses interest. His herding instinct is high and he loves nothing more than focusing on Max when he is playing fetch. He has a strong eye and the intensity of his focus on Max is full on. It's what he likes to do and it does not cause problems with Max so it's all good. Often when Max drops the ball to me, Jasper will swoop in and get it but all I have to do is say, "Jaspers got it and Max will go get it from Jasper who happily drops it for Max.

If Max is being demanding for a fetch game and I am ignoring him, Jasper will pick up the item and drop it on my lap as if to say, "Max wants to play fetch". He does not do this ever to attempt to engage me in a game just with him. We have actually been doing a few exercises lately to encourage Jasper to be more focused on us and an item rather than focused on Max. He seems to see his involvement as being an escort to Max exercising mild herding skills.

So yeah, I am inclined to believe that prey drive is somewhat of a motivator to the fetch game.
Oh my goodness that picture is the epitome of the two personalities! That is so funny - and interesting!

I would say Ember has pretty high prey drive, but she doesn't not obsess about getting to something once it disappears. While it's in site it is fair game if it moves. And most of the time she can be called off (though there might be a pretty sizable delay as she makes SURE the thing is unreachable). But her arousal stays pretty high after and she is looking for the next thing to go after.

However, she does match what you say about getting it and keeping it when it comes to me tossing toys around the house - except she's not looking for the next one. So if Max is a 10 on the prey drive scale, maybe Ember is an 8, or a 6?
Trifan, that is really interesting.  The reason I was wondering is because some dogs seem to live to fetch and other dogs it is almost impossible to teach to fetch.  My one GSD that didn't like to fetch would play the game but he seemed to despise it.  If someone got out the ball and encouraged him to play you could almost hear him thinking, "Not this horrible game again!  Why do the humans like it?" 

Here is a photo of my two.  Tasha fetches the ball and Mattie chases Tasha.  Mattie will sometimes bite at Tasha's heels.  Tasha doesn't care, just don't mess with the ball!

[attachment=11159]
TMM, it would seem we have a very similar thing going on with our dogs. Only in recent times has Jasper started actually running for the ball. Even if he gets there first he is still happy to concede to Max upon his arrival. There is no competition for possession at all. Jasper did go through a stage of occasionally nipping at Max's heels but it stopped a little while back without intervention or objection from Max, simply stopped.
I did for a while worry that Jasper was missing out but now realise that this is how they are both happy playing this game so why not leave well enough alone. It is just game after all and if they are both happy, so be it.

There could also be an OCD factor that plays into it. The Sheps and Max also had in common that they had and have higher drive in general. Max is also higher energy overall than Jasper and could easily become OCD over things if I wasn't onto that right from the start.

Your girls are gorgeous and Mattie has that focus on Tasha just like Jasper does with Max. We often discuss how the dynamic might change when we get our girl. This brings me to the good news I got today from our breeder. Our chosen momma for our girl has come into season, woo hoo ! The sire will be Jaspers dad.
Interesting

I will throw something else out there, pun intended, lol

One of the Scandinavian countries I believe goes as far as banning "fetch" because of the OCD happening in dogs.
A little extreme, however I have seen this, particularly in labs and a few BCs.
Don't get me wrong I think fetch is a great outlet for most dogs. No when it becomes obsessive though

I think there is a nature link to dogs wanting to play fetch, genetics.
I also think there is a nurture as well.
Fetch is something I don't play. No reason I have no problem with it, so my pup would not have seen it.
My high prey GSD still could play fetch, I think you right about the prey drive Trifan.
I have seen low drive dogs being introduced to fetch as pups and can play..