Playing fetch with your dog can be a fun activity, provided the dog knows what you are up to. How many dog owners have gone to the park, thrown a Frisbee, and expected their dog to scamper pell-mell after it? If the dog has not been trained to fetch, then this would only result in the sweet terrier looking at them with a lost look in its eyes. Most dog owners mistakenly assume that their pet dogs know how to fetch. While this may be true for some dogs who love chasing after things and bringing them back (well, I did say bringing and not GIVING), there are still others who just do not bother. In fact, they seem quite perplexed as to why their owners would want them to do such a thing.
The reasons can vary. For example, there are some dog breeds which simply do not have the temperament, while there are others who have not been not conditioned to fetch. If you want your dog fetching things for you, then let it understand the rules of the game and provide some consistent training and positive reinforcement.
4 Easy Steps to Teach Your Dog to Fetch
Determine the Cue: The first step in the training process is to determine the cue which can be a physical aid, a word, or a gesture. For example the word "fetch" can be the cue. Make sure that the gesture or word is not mistaken for any other command. A single syllable or an abnormal gesture seems to work the best.
Choosing the Location: Choose a flat location with a safe boundary like a fenced backyard and make sure that it is free of all distractions. A dog park may just be a little too crowded to conduct the training, causing your dog to be too preoccupied with other things.
Training a Dog to Fetch: One of the basic methods of training is the "bait and switch" routine. You can choose two identical objects like tennis balls or something that the dog enjoys playing with. Use a leash or a halter to keep the dog's movements under control. Now hide one of the toys and throw the other over a short distance after showing it to your dog. Release the dog from the leash and say the cue word chosen by you. The dog will chase after the toy and pick it up. When it starts returning with the first toy, produce the hidden one. This would make it drop the one they are carrying in favor of the new toy.
Wait for the dog to return to you and reattach it to the leash before throwing the new toy. Throw the new toy and say the cue word again, while releasing the animal. While the dog chases the new toy, retrieve the first one. Repeat this process several times using the command. There are some dogs that are just not toy motivated. You may try adding a bit of flavor to the game with some food reward for their good behavior.
The other manual method is known as "forced retrieve". This is accomplished by throwing the toy at a short distance, walking the dog to the object, and indicating them to pick it up. When the dog does so, you can reward it generously for it.
Praise the Dog: When the dog fetches back the toy, you can give it a dog treat and use plenty of praise for letting the dog know that you are happy that it has done what you wanted it to do. End the game before the dog gets bored or tired of it.
Remember that when training a dog, patience is the key. Believe me, once your dog gets the hang of it, you will have a great time bonding with your pet.