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Teaching Your Dog To Fetch

Aug 17, 2007
One of the first fun activities many owners will try with their dogs is playing fetch. Usually, the owner will take their dog to an open area and throw a ball or soft toy expecting the dog to go collect it and bring it back . What usually happens is the dog will stand and look and you or it will go off after the object you just threw and either start chewing on it or the dog will carry on running. Other times the dog will come back without the object expecting you to throw another one.

The fetch command is a fairly easy one and can be quickly taught to puppies and young dogs but can take a little more time with older dogs. Different breeds of dogs will learn quicker and some breeds like labradors and retrievers may take little to no training at all.

For those dogs that have nt quite mastered the idea of fetch, there are a couple of different methods of teaching the fetch command.

The first method is know as the forced retrieve and involves throwing a toy or similar object and manually walking the dog to that point. When the dog picks the object up the owner should generously reward them. This procedure should be repeated a number of times. Say 5-10 times a day for a week. If you do it too often to begin with, the dog may become bored. Make sure the area where you carry out this training is free from other distractions so the dog can concentrate on what it is you are trying to teach them.

The second method involves using another handler and getting them to walk the dog out to collect the thrown object and then back to you before the dog is rewarded. In fact, you can start with the first method and then move on to the second method. Remember to reward the dog generously for a good retrieve when using this method also. Again, ensure there are no distractions for the dog.

Some tips on making this process as painless as possible are firstly not to throw the toy or object too far. This way the dog can see where the object has gone and knows they can get to it. Also, you should keep a particular toy just for the fetch training. If the dog is used to regularly playing with the toy, they may not realise you are trying to teach them something new. They may end up taking the toy off to play and forget about you.

In early training, avoid the use of sticks or hard objects until the dog is well trained. Sticks also look pretty similar and if the dog finds a choice of many to pick up they just might not bother.

Hopefully, after a few weeks your dog will be happy to go to the park with you and fetch frisbees, tennis balls or whatever object you have brought with you. It's also great exercise for both of you.
About the Author
Garnett Johnston runs and maintains a free information site for anyone seeking advice or tips on dog training. The site can be found by visiting http://www.dogtraininghut.com
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