How to Teach a Dog to Fetch
Dogs playing fetch is an exhilarating game that they undeniably enjoy. It also creates a perfect scenery for bonding with their owners. More importantly, the game of fetch is a great exercise that properly stimulates them, promotes healthy living, and ideally, tires them out to have some quality sleep. However, there are dogs that don’t have the natural instinct like others to fetch which means they have to be trained. And in order to adequately achieve this, insightful tips are necessary; and as such, we have provided a guide on how to teach your dog to fetch.
The Fetch Toy Matters
If you want to teach a dog to fetch, the toy intended for use plays a major role in the effectiveness of the teaching process. Dogs react differently to different toys, so you have to clearly identify the one that will suit the dog you are training. This will have to be done by experimenting which will require you to have a couple of toys at hand, and observe which one your dog reacts the most positively to. Once you have done this, then you can begin the training.
Luckily, there are a lot of fetch toys to consider; it could be a traditional stick which some dogs adore, or perhaps a ball, or a dog Frisbee. Whichever you choose, it is important they are of the perfect size to fit into your dog’s mouth without hassle, and more importantly, are not at risk of being swallowed.
One more thing to consider is a situation where your dog doesn’t feel comfortable putting the object in its mouth. In this case, the fetch toy can be enveloped in something that your dog loves to eat and is undeniably irresistible. When your dog eventually picks up the fetch toy in its mouth, treats are to be rewarded to motivate it to repeat the entire process.
Teaching a Dog to Fetch
If you want to teach a dog to fetch a ball, no doubt, the most essential part of the training is teaching him/her to actually chase after the ball. If this is your dog’s major problem, then the following tips should be put into action accordingly. An essential factor in training a dog to fetch is encouraging it every tiny bit of the way. And if your pup loves to eat, like most dogs, then using treats for training would be the best solution.
The first thing to do is to introduce the ball or fetch toy to your dog. Push it to the floor and draw enough attention to it in the best way you can. If your dog corresponds to your call of action towards the fetch toy, then treats are to be rewarded.
Do it a couple of times, and each positive reaction towards the object should be rewarded with a treat, in order to instill in the dog that the fetch toy is something that entails rewards. After doing this, the fetch toy is to be tossed much further than before. At this point, you will then have to motivate your dog chase after the ball. If your dog, however, does not budge, take the ball back in your hands, and wiggle it across the floor to make it seem more interesting. Once your dog makes an attempt to go towards the ball, reward it with treats, and try tossing the ball further again. This time, your pup will be more thrilled to go after the ball.
Dogs that have a hard time fetching, may also find it difficult to keep the toy in their mouth. To ensure that your dog brings the toy back to you, it is important to make it realize that the only way to get a treat is when the toy is brought back. When occasional drops occur, make gestures to inform it that dropping will not attract treats as rewards. After a while, your dog will get a hang of the concept and eventually bring the ball back. With occasional trials, treats would no longer be essential but will be needed throughout the training process.
Also, another trick to make the dog more excited to fetch would be to use a leash while training. After throwing the ball in one direction, and your dog makes an effort to go towards it, you should hold the leash back, in a bid to motivate your pup to chase after the ball. Ask your dog if he/she really wants to get it, and then release him/her to get the toy. You will be surprised that there will an increased amount of urge to get the ball. Repeat this, and your pup would be tremendously thrilled to fetch each time.
Trying To Get Your Dog to Retrieve
Most dogs may find it easy going after their fetch toys, but difficult in retrieving the toy back to its owner. On such occasions, an identical game should work perfectly with toys that look extremely similar. One toy should be thrown in one direction and after your dog has fetched the toy, you call out to him/her, showing the similar toy in your hands, and making a gesture of throwing it in another direction. Once your dog runs to the area of the supposed throw, you can then run to retrieve the other one and repeat the process consistently. With time, your dog will get used to running towards you immediately after the ball has been picked. Hopefully, running back with the toy in its mouth would be achieved as well.
If your dog can retrieve a ball well but doesn’t run back hastily while bringing it back, then a classic running-away game should help. After the dog has picked up the ball, you call out to him/her and begin running in the opposite direction. And since dogs love chasing, they’ll find it extremely thrilling to chase you around. This will make your dog excited to bring the toy hastily next time.
Peradventure your dog retrieves the toy but doesn’t spit it out, using a treat would help resolve this problem. You can simply wave an appetizing treat in your dog’s face, and undoubtedly, your dog will spit out the toy. This should be done repeatedly to help the dog adapt easily to the process.