June 24th •
Fetch is one of the most famous and popular games to play with your dog. It’s fun, gives them lots of exercise, and teaches them about basic commands and games. It can be a really helpful game to teach you how to train your dog, as well. Fetch is not only an enriching activity for your dog, but it also helps your relationship with your dog and nurtures the bond between human and dog.
Some people operate under the misconception that all dogs naturally know how to play fetch, but this isn’t the case. While some dogs pick up on it much faster than others, playing fetch is in fact a trained behavior. If you’ve never trained a dog before, this is a great place to start since playing fetch is an easy thing to teach to a dog.
If you have a new puppy, this is a great first thing to teach your dog as it will lay the groundwork for a very healthy and nurturing relationship between you and your dog. You can also teach an older dog how to play fetch to get exercise. It’s never too late! If you’re on the lookout for a new addition to your family, check out this puppy finder to find your next best friend!
Learning any skill with a dog is best done when taken in structured steps. This structure creates the best learning environment for your dog. Many dogs are easily distracted, so making sure you nail these steps with your dog and that you have their full attention throughout the whole part of the process is crucial.
Many people believe that since teaching a dog these types of skills is considered relatively easy, that it’s not important to take extreme care in every step of the process. That isn’t true. In fact, by just teaching your dog fetch, you can teach them a lot of other valuable skills like how to listen, sit, return, and general obedience skills.
These are the steps to training your dog how to fetch. If you follow these closely, you should be able to teach your dog how to fetch very quickly and start a very encouraging journey to training your dog to do multiple skills and tricks.
Teach Them to Sit
The first step to learning fetch is to teach them how to sit. This is a skill that you’re going to teach to your dog that will have benefits for the years to come. Sitting is the first step to a long list of tricks that you’re going to teach your dog.
As such, mastering the sit command is absolutely vital for the fetch trick and many others. Before you do anything else in your fetch activities, you should make sure that your dog sits. This will teach them control and to remain calm until prompted to do a trick like fetch.
It’s not good for your dog to be jumping up on you in anticipation of the ball being thrown, so if you see that behavior, you should do more work on the sit command. Make sure that they are able to sit calmly before you throw the ball. Teaching your dog to sit isn’t a complicated process and it will vastly benefit their training regimen.
Throw the Ball
Once you have mastered the sit command, you are ready to start throwing the ball and sending your dog out to get it. If your dog is sitting calmly on command, you can throw the ball a short distance. It’s better to start with a short throw so you can more easily teach them to return and reduce the chances that they get distracted and lose interest altogether.
Teaching a dog to get the ball isn’t the hard part. They will instinctively chase and pick up the ball on their own. That’s not something you’ll have to train them to do, most likely. However, fetching doesn’t come natural for every single dog out there. There are going to be dogs that won’t chase it on their own.
If this is the case, don’t worry. It shouldn’t take them long to learn how to play with the ball. Coax them into playing with the ball by giving them treats and rewarding them for being around the play ball. Gradually work up to tossing it short distances and having them chase it.
Call Your Dog Back
Once your dog has successfully retrieved the ball, then comes the difficult part. Teaching a dog to come back after they have picked up the ball is probably the most difficult part of the process. If you can’t successfully get your dog to come back with the ball, then there really is no point in playing! Don’t worry, teaching your dog to come back after retrieving the ball can be done with some diligence and hard work with your dog.
The best way to do this is to teach your dog the “come” command. If your dog knows how to come on command, you can use this skill once they have gotten the ball. As they do this over and over, they will associate the action of getting the ball with the action of returning it to you.
As you continue to play fetch, your dog likely won’t have to even be called back after a period of time. Therefore, the best way to complete the game of fetch is with a “come” command.
Release the Ball
The final part of the fetch game is for your dog to release the ball once they get back to you. This is a very important part for the continuation of the game. Some dogs have trouble with this and don’t know what to do. This results in them continuing to walk around and not releasing the ball and prevents you from continuing to play fetch.
The best way to do this is to teach them the release command and get them comfortable with dropping their toys while they are playing with them. Once they know the release command, you can use it at the conclusion of your round of fetch and start the game again.
Now that you know everything about how to teach a dog to play fetch, you can find a great puppy to teach! Use this handy puppy finder to locate your next best friend.
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