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Pet Bucket Blog

Training Your Puppy to Fetch

 by petbucket on 16 Apr 2015 |
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Playing fetch with your dog is an activity that's immensely enjoyable for the entire family, but if your puppy tends to ignore the ball when you throw it, or won't bring the ball back to you, it can be exhausting! 

Although the skill of fetching is instinctive for certain breeds of dog, such as retrievers, most dogs still need to be trained in the rules of the game, and taught what they are expected to do.  Luckily, it isn't difficult to train a dog how to fetch, and by following the steps below, your puppy will learn a new skill that will provide hours of entertainment for both you and your family friend.

Make sure the ball you use when you're teaching your dog how to fetch is used only for that purpose.  This will lead to an association between that particular ball and playing fetch in your puppy's brain; whenever he sees that ball, he'll know it's time to play, and eventually he'll get excited just by seeing a glimpse of his special ball.

With the dog by your side, throw the ball a very short distance away from yourself.  If your dog doesn't instinctively go chasing after the ball, chase after it yourself, and play with the ball, just as if you were a dog. He may not understand what he's expected to do for a few days, but if your dog sees that you're having fun with the ball, eventually he will want to join in and play with you.

The moment your dog does start chasing after the ball when you throw it, give him as much verbal encouragement and praise as you can. Don't say your dog's name at this point, as it could be confusing, and the dog may think that you're calling him back to you before he reaches the ball.  When your dog plants his teeth around the ball, you're halfway there. Your dog has mastered the first step of fetch.  The next step is to teach him to bring the ball back to you.

When your dog is walking with the ball in his mouth, call him by his name towards you, and clap your hands at the same time, to ensure you have his attention.  If your dog drops the ball before he makes it back to you, try throwing the ball again, but a shorter distance this time. When your dog eventually gets to where you're standing with the ball in his mouth, make a real fuss of him. He's almost an expert at the game by now.

Getting your dog to let go of the ball once he has bought it back can be the most difficult part of the game. Try saying "drop", and give him a treat at the same time. Your dog should drop the ball in order to be able to eat the treat. After a while, when your dog makes it back to you with the ball in his mouth, say "drop" before offering the treat, and he will know what he's expected to do.


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