I think some dogs just aren't into it. My dog will bring back balls sometimes, but she wants to play tug-of-war with them before we can throw them again. She almost never brings back sticks. She'll chase them but once she gets them she either sits there and chews them to pieces or loses interest.
Clicker training? Worked wonders for my dog. Start by rewarding them in baby step fashion, like if they walk or run after you throw it for example. Then when they start getting that down make them do a little more before rewarding them. The clicker (or other cue) is great because you can time the instant they do the right thing and trigger them to know they will be rewarded.
Positive reinforcement is the key. Have a treat on hand, and once he has run to the ball, call his name and hold up the treat. Hopefully he will keep the ball in his mouth and return to you with it! If he doesn't even get to the point of running after the ball at all, try to encourage him to run to the ball with you after you've thrown it. Once he picks it up in his mouth, give him a small treat. After doing that a number of times, then try to encourage him to run after the ball alone, and return it to you - make sure to treat him again!!! Make the game really fun for him, and I'm sure he'll start to catch on and love all the positive attention you give him when he gets it right!!! I'm doing a bit of training with some of the dogs I work with, and this technique does work with alot of them!!!
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