How to teach your dog to fetch – Dogster

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Fetch is a fun game for dogs and people to play together. What is recovery? Fetching is an activity where the human throws an object, like a ball or a dog toy (read here how to find the best toy for your dog’s personality), and the dog retrieves it. Some dogs seem to be born to fetch and often seek to play with their owners. But fetching doesn’t come naturally to all dogs. However, all dogs can learn to fetch and enjoy the game.

Materials needed to teach your dog to fetch:

How to teach your dog to fetch:

For dogs that like to fetch again and again, there are dog fetching products to help make playtime more enjoyable for both dog and human. ©Fly View Productions/Getty Images

Start by teaching your dog to fetch home at a quiet time without too many distractions, so he can focus on learning this new skill.

Step 1: Reward your dog for holding a toy or other object. Start with a toy or ball that your dog likes and hand it to your dog. Click/praise and reward with a treat after any engagement with the toy, such as sniffing or nudging the toy. Then show the toy to your dog and click/praise and reward your dog for putting their mouth on the toy. When your dog constantly puts his mouth on the toy, add your verbal cue of your choice like “take” or “hold.” Once your dog puts his mouth on the toy and shows commitment, you’re ready to go fetch.

2nd step: Extend a toy to your dog and have him hold it using the verbal cue. When your dog picks up the toy, praise/click it and give it a treat.

Step 3: Lay the toy in front of you on the floor and have your dog pick up the toy. When he does, praise him/click and deal. When your dog constantly picks up the toy and brings it to you, introduce a choice verbal cue like “fetch” or “bring.”

Step 4: Start moving the toy away, then ask your dog to “bring it.” Go slow with the distance you ask your dog to fetch; the goal is to make sure your dog is having fun and succeeding instead of trying to see how far he can go. Keep the game interesting by alternating between having the toy at a close distance and having it farther away. Always reward your dog for bringing the toy back.

Step 5: Once your dog regularly fetches a toy placed at different distances, start tossing the toy and use the verbal cue to tell your dog to “fetch it.” Also practice with other balls and toys. Gradually increase the difficulty by first tossing a toy a short distance around the house, before starting to ask your dog to fetch outdoors or in other distracting situations.

Continue to reward your dog for fetching:

While fetching is a very rewarding game for some dogs, it’s not naturally rewarding for all dogs. Some dogs will develop a love of play, while others will seek a cue when asked, but find no personal enjoyment in play. For these dogs, continue to reinforce using a treat to reward the behavior of recovery.

Teaching fetches to dogs that don’t like toys:

Teaching dogs that naturally don’t like to play with toys to retrieve can be more difficult, but it’s not impossible! Start teaching with a soft plush toy that has a pouch to put treats inside. The smell of hidden treats will make most dogs show interest in the toy and agree to put the toy in their mouth. Take advantage of this behavior to teach your dog to hold and then retrieve the toy. Once your dog understands the skill, you can have your dog fetch other balls or toys.

Products for playing fetch with your dog

While retrieving can be as simple as tossing a ball to your dog, who then chases it and brings it back to you, there are ways to make it more exciting for dogs that like to fetch. These dog products can make retrieval easier for humans and fun for the dog that loves retrieval time and time again.

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