How to Teach a Dog to Fetch?
Have you ever seen a dog playing fetch in the park and wished that could be you and your furry friend? Fortunately, it may be easier than you think.
It starts with the question - why do dogs like to play fetch? For many dog breeds like retrievers and shepherds, the game is largely instinctual. When canines play fetch, they experience something similar to what humans feel when we exercise. On a chemical level, a dog’s brain can release neurotransmitters that elevate their disposition and mood. In humans, we know this as a runner’s high.
Perhaps the strongest reason why canines love playing fetch is that they get your total, undivided attention. Our pups tend to be our greatest friends and companions. Therefore, we need to ensure quality time for exercise, play, and love. Fetch just happens to be a really fun and simple way to bond with your dog. Keep reading to learn how to teach a dog to fetch.
Start with the Basics
If you want to start playing fetch with your dog, you’ll probably need to start with basic training techniques. If your pup hasn’t yet learned basic commands like sit or stay, then you may have a difficult time training your dog to fetch.
The first step to learning this skill is to ensure that he waits patiently for you to throw the ball. After all, the anticipation of when and where the ball will be thrown is part of the fun for your pet. Try working with your pup on sit and stay commands using positive reinforcements and treats.
Experiment with Treats and Balls
Your canine friend may be naturally inclined to fetch once they see you throw an object. If so, your job is going to be a lot easier. If he doesn’t totally grasp the concept, that’s ok too. Try experimenting with different types of objects. Some canines might respond better to toys that squeak while others simply can’t resist a frisbee. With a little experimentation, you can find the right object that’ll catch your pet’s attention.
Try showing your pup the object you intend to throw before you do. Play a little and get him excited about the object. That can help to build anticipation and excitement, which encourages him to retrieve the object once it’s thrown.
Reward the Return
Some canines won’t naturally or instinctively return the object you throw, so you may need some help enticing your pup to return. Treats are a great way to encourage your canine friend to bring the object back. If you want to take it to the next level, introduce the command “drop it.” This will help teach your pet that after successfully returning the object, they’ll get a treat.
If your pup is watching their figure, you don’t have to rely solely on treats. Canines respond especially well to clapping, praise, and of course, petting. Find a way to let your pet know that he did the right thing by returning the object. In doing so, he’ll begin to understand the concept of dog fetch.
Behavior And Companionship
You might see behavior issues with your pup when you two are first practicing the game. Some canines will run away with the object, and you may never see the toy again. Other pups might think this is just an elaborate game of chase and have a grand ole time making you get your exercise too.
In extreme cases, if your pet is aggressive or territorial over the object you’re throwing, send proof of the behavior to a trainer or vet. Consider pausing your training activities until you can get some advice that’ll ensure you both remain safe. It might be a sign of some deeper dog behavior problems that could require a professional’s assistance.
If you want to know how to teach your dog to fetch, then you’re well on your way to building a fruitful and happy relationship with your pet. It may require a bit of patience, and you’ll likely need to experiment with a few techniques. With consistent training, he should begin to understand the concept of the game and look forward to this playtime with you.
Canines seek companionship, exercise, and affection from their humans. Playing fetch dog with them is a wonderful way to fill these needs.