Fetch is a brilliantly fun game for your dog. Unfortunately, not all dogs know how to fetch naturally. While certain breeds, such as Labradors, are generally very fetch-savvy, other breeds may need to be taught to fetch. Here’s how:
If you have just received your new puppy, it is best to start training them to fetch as early as possible. Young dogs are more responsive to new commands and will pick up tricks more easily than older dogs. If you have an older dog on your hands, do not despair. Dogs love fetch and even the older ones are generally very happy to learn this fun new game.
Master “Drop It”
This command is the most important command in the entire game of fetch. If a dog retrieves an item but refuses to bring it back and release it to their handler there is not much of a game happening. Start as early as possible teaching your dog to drop items such as toys on command. The principals of tug-of-war are the same as fetch, just without the throwing element. Read our article on how to train your dog to release the toy during a game of tug-of-war. Essentially, the release of the toy should be met with reward. Once the release is perfected you are ready to throw.
Most dogs have some level of natural retrieving instinct and will chase a ball or toy when it is thrown. To do this, take the dog’s favorite toy or ball and hold it where they can see it. Once you have their attention, toss the toy or ball just a few feet beyond where they are sitting. Encourage the dog to go get the object and offer ample verbal praise when he does.
Failure to fetch the toy may mean a game of tug-of-war is necessary to dial up the excitement.
Bring it Back
When they are consistently picking up the toys you throw, begin encouraging your dog to bring them back to you. You can do this by getting down on the dog’s level, calling his name and saying “come.” When they come back to you, play a quick game of tug-of-war and then instruct him to drop the toy, offering ample verbal praise.
Often pretending to run away when your dog has the toy in their mouth makes them run towards you.
Which Are The Best Toys?
Some dogs may have a particular preference for the type of toy they prefer to play fetch with. If your dog seems to be reluctant to play or is not able to grasp the concept, the problem may be the toy.
The Lovepets preferred list is:
- A good old fashioned tennis ball
- Soft Bite Floppy Disc
- Kong Flyer (for long distance fetch)
- Regular Kong Toy
- Flying Squirrel Fetch Toy (Chuckit!)
Remember its very important to make sure the toy you use is big enough for there to be no risk of your faithful friend swallowing the toy. You will notice that most of the above toys are made of soft rubber. This prevents accidents like chipped teeth or eye injuries that can be caused by sticks or a hard plastic Frisbee.
And finally, when your dog is a fetch master... why not try Canine Disc training.
Do you have any fetch suggestions or preferred toys? Tell us in the comments section below.