6 Steps to Teaching Your Dog to Fetch
Teaching your dog how to fetch seems like it should be one of those things that’s so simple it requires no real thought or effort.
By Josh Weiss-Roessler
After all, dogs love both playing and pleasing their humans, and fetch involves both of these things — you should just be able to do it, right?
Short answer: nope.
While there are some dogs that just seem to intrinsically understand the game and will automatically chase and retrieve whatever object you use the first time you try, most do not.
Either they sit and stare at you, wondering why you would choose to throw away a perfectly good toy, or they chase after the object but don’t “catch” it, or bring it back.
So what can you do to help your pup learn the game like a pro? Here are six tried and true tips.
1.) Start with chasing
If your dog is of the “sit and stare” variety, your first goal is to teach him to chase after the object you want him to fetch. Generally speaking, there are three ways to do this, depending upon what motivates your pup: you can offer him affection, treats, or play for retrieving the chosen object.Whichever motivator you use, the process is basically the same. Encourage your dog to go after the item you want him to fetch. When he grabs it, reward him with his motivator of choice, then take the object away. Repeat this a few times, then toss the object a short distance. When he goes for it, immediately reward him again. Repeat the process until you can reliably toss the object and get him to chase it.
2.) Add extra motivation
Want to encourage her to give chase even more? Try holding her back after throwing the toy. She’ll naturally tug against you, especially if you offer verbal encouragement while still holding her back. Once you finally let go, she’ll be after the object like a rocket.
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6 steps to teaching your dog to fetch