How to Teach Your Dog to Fetch
Playing fetch is the classic game for you and your dog. It is popular because it brings your dog a lot of good. First and foremost, your pooch gets enough exercise to burn off all excess energy. It will also keep your dog focused on toys and not on other objects it should not be chewing on. You also get to train your dog’s manners and obedience especially when you call it back after reaching the toy. Moreover, your dog gets to spend time outdoors, bond with you and also see new things. With these benefits, it is easy to understand why dog owners love teaching their dog to fetch.
Some dog breeds are natural retrievers, like Labrador retrievers, otherwise, you would need to teach a dog to fetch. Some dogs might show interest in toys but have no intention of bringing it back. You will not want to encourage this behavior as it will develop a behavior of collecting and guarding objects it values like toys. In a few easy steps, you can train your dog all the necessary movements to fetch anything you throw at it.
- Begin with Chasing
Some dogs are generally curious but some prefer to just sit and stare. If so, you will have to pique your pet’s interest so that it will start going after toys or other fetching items. You might have to employ some training techniques and use motivation to get your pup to start chasing.
You need to slowly get your dog to show interest in a thing, offering it praise, affection or a treat every single time it displays the appropriate behavior. In the beginning, it might be even just turning to the object or sniffing it, as you really need to slowly develop the right response. But after some time, you can move on to throwing the toy and seeing your pet actually go after it.
You can also build on the excitement by holding your dog back after you toss the object. You will find your pet tugging against you and running excitedly towards it once you let go.
- Work on the Retrieving
Your dog might start chasing after the object but end up dropping it soon after. You can work slowly on getting it to go back with the toy, giving it a treat every single time it displays the right action.
You will also need to get your pet used to coming back to you, so you can either have other toys or treats so that it just does not wander off after chasing the toy. If it does not work, you need to use a rope wrapped around the toy so you can pull the object, and the dog, back to you.
At this step, using vocal instructions are important, either getting your dog to respond to you calling its name and coming back or getting your dog to “drop” or “give” up the toy after it comes back. Be prepared to spend a lot of time training this behavior.
- Completing the Fetching Behavior
Many dog owners work on each of the separate steps before putting them all together. This means, training the chasing part first, then the coming back and bringing the toy to you. Even making your pet give up the toy after it comes back can be another behavior to develop. Once these steps have been perfected, the only last step is to pick the most interesting toys and train the whole process of fetching.
While training your dog to play fetch might be a complicated and long process, employing the right training techniques and using a lot of treats can get you far. You would be amazed to see how your dog can master these behaviors and how quickly you can start playing fetch with your beloved pooch.