Playing fetch with your dog is a fun activity for both you and your dog. Not only does it exercise your dog, it also trains their obedience. Once your dog is an absolute fetching professional, you’ll be able to teach him to fetch the newspaper or the remote. The possibilities are endless!
Teaching your dog how to fetch
Some dogs are natural fetchers, others aren’t. While one flies after a stick on the first go, others might look at you confused and unsure what to do. Some might not even be interested at all. Then there are the dogs that run after the toy, grab it, refuse to return it, and try to make you chase them. Even though that might give you some exercise, we want the dog to return the toy to you. Teaching your dog how to fetch can be a tedious process, and it’s up to you as the owner to make it fun and interesting for your dog. Here we have some tips and tricks to give you and your dog the best fetching experience.
Step 1. Searching
First, you have to pick the right toy. When you decide on your toy, make sure it is suitable and made for dogs. We don’t want a toy that is too hard as it might hurt their teeth. Flavoured and edible toys might distract your dog too much with chewing and trying to eat it instead of returning it.
It is important to make the toy interesting for your dog. Create the illusion that you, as the owner, love the toy by playing with it yourself. Think of throwing it into the air or bounce it on the ground. When you see your dog is curious about what you are doing, let him touch the toy. If he does, reward your dog straight away. If you continue to do this, the dog will associate the toy with a reward. Keep practising this.
Step 2. Picking up the toy
Teaching your dog to pick up the toy is similar to the step above. Place the ball before him. If your dog picks it up, reward him and put the toy back down. Keep doing this until your dog learns that picking up the toy will give him a treat.
Step 3. Throwing & returning
Don’t start of by turning fetch into a baseball match as your dog might get confused. Instead, start indoors and throw the toy. When your dog grabs the toy, call him so he comes back to you. If he doesn’t listen, try to teach your dog ‘here’/’come’ first. Reward him when he brings the toy back to you. Now you can start building up the distance. Before you know it, your dog will fly to the other side of the yard!
Step 4. Letting go
So far, you’ve taught your dog to find the toy, grab it and bring it back. Teaching your dog to let go is the last, but it is also the most difficult step. Dogs are natural predators and might see their toy as their prey. They might growl, or run away with it. Don’t turn it into a match of tag, so don’t run after your dog. Letting go is a case of ‘practise makes perfect’ so keep trying until the dog let’s go of the ball. Reward him straight away.