How to Teach Your Dog to Fetch

More than just great exercise, teaching your dog to play fetch is an excellent way to help form a bond between you. For many dogs, playing fetch is something that comes very instinctual to them. Quite simply, it becomes an activity that they love to participate in with you. The following is a simple guide that will show you how to teach your dog to play fetch.

Essentials You Will Need to Play Fetch

Logically, the first thing you need is something for your dog to fetch. Some dogs respond well to a tennis ball, while others enjoy a squeaky toy. You can also try a stuffed toy that your dog loves, as long as you put it away before your dog tears it to shreds!

Tasty training treats are also a necessity. Ideally, you should select something that your dog has never tried before. With that being said, you don’t want the treat to be so delicious that they forget about the game altogether!

Teaching a Dog to Play Fetch

Begin by getting your dog excited about their fetch toy. Shake it, squeak it, move it around, bounce it, or whatever applies here. Your dog will let you know that it is the right toy when they try to grab it, jump on you or start barking for it.

After you have found their special toy, use it to do a little training. Make them sit for it. After they sit, you can throw it. Begin by throwing it very close. Ideally, only a few feet away. Should your dog chase the toy, this means you are on the right track! Once they have it, call them back to retrieve it very energetically. Should your dog not chase after the toy, it may be time to try a different one.

Once they bring the toy back to you, the next thing you need to do is teach them to drop it. You can say whatever term seems fitting to you, such as “drop it” or “leave it.” Just be sure to say the same phrase every time. As soon as your dog brings the toy back to you and you give the release command, it is time to give your dog the treat. Be sure to get the toy back before you give them the treat.

Repeat the above for about 10 more times, still not throwing the toy very far. After your dog seems to understand the game, you can begin to throw it further away.

Solutions for Potential Problems

  • Keep in mind that puppies have a short attention span. For this reason, you may only want to play fetch with them for about 5 minutes at a time.
  • If you throw the ball too far away, your dog may forget the game that they were playing with you.
  • If treats don’t seem to be doing the trick, try bringing out another toy as a reward to get them to come back.
  • If your dog doesn’t seem to want to play fetch every day, don’t get discouraged. Some days your dog may just not be into it, and that’s perfectly fine!
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