Teaching Your Dog to Play Fetch
TEACHING YOUR DOG TO PLAY FETCH
Playing a game of fetch with your furry friend is a fun way to spend a few minutes of the day. If your dog is a ball-hound, this will be their favorite activity, and they’ll want you to play fetch with them all day long.
Are all dogs keen to play a game of fetch? Unfortunately, the answer is no. When introduced to the game, most dogs will stare at you bewildered when you throw a ball or a rope toy and expect them to retrieve it for you. Others will look at you like you’re crazy and might even become defiant that you would expect them to fetch something for you.
However, it’s possible to teach most dogs the game, all you need is the right incentive, a few simple training tools, and plenty of patience. Relax, the rewards of playing fetch with your pooch are well worth the effort spent training them!
BEGIN WITH THE CHASE
Getting your dog to chase the ball or object is the first place to start in your quest to turn your dog into a ball-hound. Take a rubber ball or tennis ball and bounce it in front of your dog. If they go for it, then you’ve got a natural fetcher for a dog.
If the dog sits and stares at you, try to wind them up by talking to them in an excited voice while you bounce the ball close to their face. Most dogs eventually cave in and want to get a piece of what you find so fascinating.
Once you’ve caught the attention of your pooch, incentivize them to fetch. When the dog chases the ball or dog toy, reward them with praise, pet them, and give them a dog treat. Repeat the behavior every time they bring the ball back to you.
GET THEM EXCITED
Once your dog is chasing the object of their desire, increase their motivation by holding them back as you throw the ball. They’ll fight against you to get the ball, and the more you hold them back, the more excited they’ll become. When they’re frothing for the object, let them go and watch them race after the ball at full speed.
TIPS FOR RETRIEVING
One of the most significant challenges in teaching your dog to fetch is getting them to bring the ball back to you. Many dogs will run after the object with gusto, pick it up, and then turn back to stare at you. Some dogs bring the ball back halfway and then drop it on the floor, expecting you to walk over to them to collect it.
Avoid this display of dominance by your dog, by using two balls instead of one. After your dog fetches the first ball, show them the second. Chances are they’ll walk right up to you with the first ball in their mouth. Wave the second ball in front of them, and they’ll eventually drop the first one and wait for you to launch the second ball for them.
GET THEM TO GIVE IT BACK
If your dog doesn’t bring the ball back, you can try the second ball method. However, if that doesn’t work, you might have to add a little extra incentive. Command them to “bring it back,” and then show them a treat. Make sure they bring you the ball before you hand them the treat, or you’ll end up programming the wrong behavior into the dog.
Now that you have some tips for teaching your dog to play fetch, get out there and have some fun!