Teaching your dog to fetch might seem like one of those things that require minimal effort and skill. After all, dogs love playing fetch right? Surely there are a few dogs that catch on to the objective of the activity instantly. However, most dogs are generally clueless and are bound to sit and stare at you while you attempt to demonstrate it to them.
So, how can you beat that?
If you’re wondering how to teach a dog to bring the ball back or simply following a hold and retrieve command with little luck, you’ll find all your answers right here. Let’s look at how to teach a dog to fetch in a few simple steps.
Chewing and playing come naturally to canines. While some pooches may be more active than others, dog toys are essential for dogs of every breed and size. When picking out a toy for your dog, here are a few points to consider.
- Ensure that the toys are appropriate for your dog’s size.
- Avoid Rawhide dog toys.
- Pick out soft, squeaky toys for gentler dogs and active toys for high-energy dogs.
- Puzzle toys are the perfect companions for intelligent and watchful dogs.
When it comes to your options for fetch toys, you could try out squeaker balls and footballs, a standard tennis ball, rope toys with rubber attachments, discs and flyers made of flexible rubber, plush animal-shaped toys, rubber bumper toys, etc.
Before diving into questions like “How do I teach my dog to fetch a ball?”, make sure that you have everything you need to get started.
When it comes to fetch toys, having a variety of toys on hand can be extremely helpful. This helps you understand the types of toys your dog loves to play with. Some pups may be fascinated by the basic squeaky tennis ball while others may prefer more stimulative toys.
If your dog isn’t particularly motivated or didn’t exactly have a lot of exposure to toys as a pup, grab its attention with a fetch toy that has a detachable food compartment.
Sounds exciting? Keep reading for more interesting tips.
Another essential when teaching your dog to fetch is to have a handful of treats in your back pocket. There’s nothing like a treat to get a dog all excited and ready to do your bidding. Treats are also an excellent system of rewarding your pooch after they’ve mastered a skill or habit.
If you use clickers to train your dog, don’t hesitate to have it ready now. Clicker training helps effectively communicate commands to your dog in the early stages of training.
“Can any dog learn to fetch?” Why yes, it can!
Before jumping right into the 3 fold method of teaching your dog to fetch, start simple with a few pointers on how to teach your dog to behave in a park and some fun chasing drills.
If your dog is the ‘sit and stare’ type, your first goal must be to get them up and running. You can help the process along by rewarding them with some extra affection, a handful of treats, or their favorite chew toy.
Once they’re ready to go, you can move to the first step in answering the question “How do I teach my dog to fetch and return”.
Holding a Pet Back After Throwing a Toy Works Because When You Finally Let Go, It Will Go After The Toy in a Jiffy.
Home-training your dog requires commitment and composure. Here’s how you can get started.
Hold out your dog’s favorite fetch toy and allow it to come close and investigate. When it does, reward your dog with a treat. At this point, encouraging any interest in the toy with a reward is vital.
As your dog begins to put the toy in its mouth regularly, the next thing you should do is start building duration into the trick. Hold off from rewarding your dog with a treat right away until your dog has held the toy in its mouth for a while.
Repetitions of Shorter Holds Usually Prove More Effective Than Single Long Holds
Keep your dog motivated while it builds its hold time with a bunch of treats and some bear hugs.
When it comes to playtime, there’s nothing like a good fetch session to keep your dog occupied.
Once you’ve got that covered, ask your dog to ‘hold’ the toy as soon as it picks it up. As soon as the pick-up and hold action is perfected, start to introduce new verbal cues like ‘Fetch’ or ‘Go get it’. Don’t forget to reward your pup with a treat at the end of every accomplishment.
The point is to break down the process of retrieving into small habits so the skill of fetching is easier to pick up. Continue building on the distance and maintain your rewards system simultaneously too.
As your dog begins to get a hang of the hold and retrieve action, you can try alternating between asking your dog to fetch a toy that has been placed somewhere else and throwing the toy.
A variety of fetch toys can prove useful in keeping things interesting during fetch practice. You can also learn how to teach a dog to fetch a frisbee in the process.
Once your dog has aced the ‘hold’ and ‘retrieve’ action, it’s time to introduce the ‘drop’. Every dog is different so don’t be afraid to experiment with a technique that works best for yours.
The point is to give them a toy that’s easy for them to give up and walk away from. Let your dog play with the toy and then place a high-value treat in front of your dog. As soon as your dog drops the toy, reward him with a treat.
Once it’s done with the treat, present your dog with the toy again and repeat the same process. But this time round start introducing verbal cues such as ‘Drop it’ or ‘Out’.
If your dog doesn’t drop the toy without seeing a treat, wait a second before saying your cue and rewarding it with a treat. Slowly start to increase the interval between repetitions until your dog understands that they need to drop the item before they’re given a treat.
If There’s No Element of Persuasion, You Are Not Going to See Results
The biggest essential of the fetching process is to give your dog something worth chasing after.
Teaching your dog a new skill can be an excellent way to spend some quality time together. Here are a few powerful training tips to keep in mind during your next training session.
Dogs have a strong capacity for comprehension. When you use specific cues or phrases together with consistent actions, your dog will quickly learn what behavior is warranted with every command.
Just like any other game, playing fetch can get boring after a while. This is why introducing new challenges into the game is crucial. Try holding your dog’s collar as you hurl the toy farther away from you and make them wait before they’re off to retrieve it.
You can also introduce a ‘Wait’ cue to let them know when it’s time to go get the toy back. This way, you’re also learning a new way of how to teach a dog to retrieve items.
It’s all about leaving your dog wanting more. If your game of fetch ends before your dog loses interest, they’ll be far more likely to indulge in a game the next time around.
But we’re not through yet.
One of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to how to teach a dog to fetch is “Why won’t my dog play fetch?”
Yes, that happens too!
If your dog doesn’t seem to be interested in playing fetch or doesn’t understand your instructions, start with a few simple tricks.
- Introduce a new toy with a game of tug-of-war
- Use toys with detachable food compartments or room for treats
- Tease your dog with a different toy to capture their attention
As your dog begins to catch on, show your enthusiasm and interest by playing with them. Getting your dog’s energy levels up helps them get involved in the game better. Remember, it is important to be open-minded about different methods of instruction that best suit your dog.
Help your dog succeed by encouraging appropriate behavior and making them work for it. Most importantly, don’t forget to have fun! Just like humans, dogs respond to positive reinforcement so don’t let anger or frustration get in the way of teaching your dog a new skill.
Undoubtedly, the entire process requires a whole lot of patience. Teaching your dog how to fetch may not be a breeze. But don’t be discouraged, it’s not an impossible task either. If you need to take a beat and restart the process of how to teach a dog to fetch, then don’t be afraid to pause and try again.