Playing fetch is a great way to spend time with your dog. The goal is to have your dog chase after a ball or other object you toss and bring it back to you. Many people believe that dogs naturally enjoy this game. However, most dogs must learn how to do it, or at least some parts. If you are patient and follow our step-by-step guide, you and your pup will be fetching like pros in no time. Read on Canvas Personalized‘s basic steps to teach a dog to fetch right now!
Things To Keep In Mind Before Dog Fetch Training
Choosing the Right Toy
When picking a toy for your dog, remember his or her age, size, and skill level. No matter how old or young your dog is, it should have a toy it can easily grab with its teeth. If your dog is already a fetching pro, you should get him a toy that will give him more challenge. Some popular fetch toys include:
- The typical tennis ball
- Squeaker tennis balls or footballs
- Plastic or rubber bumper retriever
- Soft, flexible rubber discs and flyers, especially those extra-soft for mouths with sensitive teeth or made to stay flexible in cold weather.
- Toys made of rope with rubber parts
- Animal-shaped plush toys for dogs
If my dog isn’t interested, then what?
If your dog doesn’t know how to play fetch or doesn’t seem to care about getting toys, start with the basics:
- Play a game of tug-of-war to introduce the new toy.
- Making a toy more attractive by stuffing it with treats.
- Use a toy to tease your dog and get his attention.
Fetch can begin as soon as the dog shows an interest in the toy. Try launching the toy a short distance to get started. As your dog learns the game, express your excitement so they will want to play with you more often.
You can teach a dog to fetch is fun by starting with short distances and working your way up to longer ones. The learning process requires a great deal of patience. Keep your cool if your dog isn’t picking up the rules of the game as quickly as you’d like. Don’t give up if you must take a break and return to it later.
How To Teach A Dog To Fetch In 5 Steps
Step 1: Start With Sit
Remember that your dog has a firm grasp of the sit command before moving on. Before starting dog fetch training, always have your dog sit. You can’t move on if it isn’t quietly sitting next to you. This ensures the dog won’t rush you to grab the ball before you throw it once it learns the game’s rules.
Step 2: Build Interest in the Toy
Get your dog used to playing indoors, with fewer distractions, so he can focus on the game. Pick up a toy your dog has shown interest in by playing with or chewing on it and give it to them.
Learning your dog’s preferences is crucial because every dog has one. It is highly recommended since a rope toy may be used for both tug-of-war and fetch. Toss and tug the toy across the floor to attract your dog’s attention. If they take hold of it, let them play with it for a while (chewing or tugging) before tossing a treat to get them to drop it so you may try again.
Step 3: Throw the Toy
If your dog is already playing with the toy, you can toss it a short distance to see how far it will go (no more than 5 feet or so). The dog should be rewarded with a click and a treat if it follows the toy. This teaches your dog that going in the direction of the toy you toss is a good thing to do.
Professional dog trainer’s advice on how to train a dog to fetch: The game of fetch reinforces itself over time. At first, your dog needs to learn that if he picks up the toy in his mouth, he will also get a reward. If he catches the toy after you toss it, you should click and give him treats regardless of whether or not he returns it.
Step 4: Click and Treat for Bringing the Toy
The next step is to click and treat your dog whenever it comes back to you with the toy. Almost immediately after tossing the toy, some dogs will bring it back to you. The other dogs will require more time to learn the game’s rules. If your dog is like this, toss the toy just a few feet away, watch as it snatches it up, and click and reward it as soon as it turns back to you.
You should keep doing this until your dog catches the toy and runs back to you with it in its mouth after each short toss. You might say “bring” to your dog as it approaches to reinforce the action as a cue.
Expert’s tip on how to teach fetch: Even if your dog doesn’t return with the toy, you should still click and reward them, showing they’ve understood the command. As with any new game, it’s less important that they bring the toy back to you as they learn to pick it up in their mouth and walk with it. After they’ve mastered this, you can progressively increase the steps they must go with the toy in their mouth before rewarding them with a click and treat.
Step 5: Extend the Throwing Range of a Toy
You can increase the distance of your tosses if your dog understands the game by following the toy after a toss, seizing it in their jaws, and coming toward you with it. Every time they return to you with the toy in their jaws, toss it further and click and treat.
An expert training trick is to take a few steps backward as your dog approaches to encourage them to get closer. As they turn to face you and take their first steps in your direction, praise them a lot and act excited. This action is more likely to maintain their enthusiasm for coming to you with the toy, which makes the whole game full of chances to reinforce it.
When your dog has grasped the fundamentals of the game, you may take the fun outdoors to the yard or anywhere with a fence. Instead of thinking your dog would enjoy a ball or a frisbee, offer toys they seem most interested in to keep the game interesting and exciting.
Tips On How To Train A Dog To Fetch More Efficiently
Try not to get bored
Remember that learning how to teach fetch might get boring after a while. To keep your dog interested, throw the toy away from you or hold the collar while you throw it. It is possible to teach them the word “wait” to signal when it is time to go and get something.
The rewards are great
Positive reinforcement, such as treats and cuddles, is an effective strategy to foster the actions you seek. Praise your dog when it returns a toy after being thrown and chased. Hug and pet your dog often to show that you share its enthusiasm for fetch. Put treats in your pockets to give your puppy a nice surprise.
Run with your doggies
Take off after the toy when you throw it, even if your dog isn’t a natural runner. They might be interested in joining your race. Recognize their efforts and keep them motivated with encouraging words.
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Be patient if it takes your dog a while to understand what “fetch” means. Just chill out and keep going! If you work with your dog a little bit each day, he or she will get it. Canvas Personalized hopes these tips on how to teach a dog to fetch were helpful. Have fun with your furry friend, and please don’t take things too seriously!