How to teach a dog to fetch is one of the first dog training tasks that many people want to find out about. It is so much fun for both dog and owners to play fetch with sticks in the park. Even in the yard, you can encourage the dog to have a lot more exercise by throwing something for her. And if you cannot take much exercise yourself, it is great to be able to remain in one place while your dog does all of the running around.
However, many people make a lot of mistakes because they do not know how to teach a dog to fetch in the best way. It does not have to be difficult – in fact, it should be a lot of fun – but you have to remember that in the beginning, the dog does not know the rules.
Many dogs will run after something that you throw for them, especially if you choose something that they are already familiar with and consider to be their property, like a ball or a toy. What they will not necessarily realize is that the idea is that they bring it back to you and drop it so that you can throw it for them again. Most likely, they will go fetch their toy and then sit around playing with it.
This means that when you are finding out how to teach a dog to fetch it is best to start in a small, enclosed space. You do not want to be in the park where you might have to chase the dog around and around, tiring yourself out before you can get the toy back from them. Even your yard is not the best place. There are too many other interesting things for a dog to do outside.
You want a place where the dog is totally focused on you. In most cases the best place is inside the house, maybe in a hallway. Here there are no distractions and if you close the doors into the rooms, you can set things up so that the dog has nowhere to go except back toward you.
This will make it much more likely that she will do the right thing by accident, and bring the toy back to you. Then you can reward her and she will begin to pick up the idea of the game right from day one.
Want to know another thing that you can do to make it easier on yourself when you are starting out with how to teach a dog to fetch? Instead of just using one toy, bring all of the dog’s toys that you can find. This means you can throw many times before you start having to go collect everything up.
If the dog is distracted, make sure to get her interested in the toy before you throw it. You can do this by waving it around her nose. In the beginning, praise her for just chasing after it.
A dog who has already been trained to come when called can then be called back to you. Often times you will find that at first, she drops the toy before coming. You can praise her for coming back but save the treats for the time when she actually brings the toy back with her too.
It has to be the right toy – the one that you just threw – not a different one that you threw five minutes before. This is because later, when you are playing this game in the park, you do not want to throw a ball for her and then have her bring back something completely different that she finds in the park.
Most dogs learn this game easily but if you are having trouble, you can try borrowing a friend’s dog who loves to fetch. Let your dog watch while you reward the other dog for bringing back the toys and dropping them at your feet. This can make it easier to figure out how to teach a dog to fetch when she does not seem to want to learn.