While not every dog has the natural retriever instinct, every dog can learn how to fetch and enjoy it, especially if that means more playtime with his favorite person – YOU!
Here are some tips on how you can teach your dog to fetch.
1. Start by placing the ball in your dog’s mouth to see if he will take it. Next, ask him to “drop” the ball and give him a treat (use something that your dog really likes –cheese, chicken, and liver treats are just a few of the yummy treats that dogs enjoy). If your dog does not take the ball easily, begin rewarding him for opening his mouth and before he drops the ball, then gradually increase the amount of time he holds the ball in his mouth before you reward him.
2. When your dog begins to hold the ball and drops the ball on command, begin tossing the ball at a short distance to see if he’ll pick it up and bring it to you. Keep your treats in your hand and only give them to him when he brings the ball to you. If your dog runs away from you, do not chase him. Chasing him is a game that is reinforcing to the dog and will only encourage him to do it more.
3. Gradually increase the distance you throw the ball, to test his ability to retrieve it back to you. If your dog does not bring it back to you at any point, end the game. You can teach your dog that retrieving is a fun, interactive game that you two can play together but if he doesn’t play it the right way, fun time is over. Wait a few minutes, and then show him the ball again with a lot of excitement. This will get your dog hooked on the game.
4. Remember, you should be having fun too!
Compliments of Tammy Rosen, Owner Fur-Get Me Not Pet Care, LLC