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Jan 13

Train Your Dog to Play Fetch

Many owners complain that their dogs will not play fetch or will chase a ball but not bring it back. Teaching a dog to play fetch is one of the easiest and in my opinion, the best game an owner can teach his dog. It is not only easy; it helps build a life long bond with your dog.

While playing fetch, you and your dog are not only interacting on a level that is fun for both of you, it teaches your dog to listen to you and helps him get some much needed exercise. Playing fetch can be used for training as well as teaching self-control while having fun. I always mix in some training every time I play fetch with my dogs.

There are a number of ways to teach your dog how to fetch. One of the easiest methods is to use one of your dog’s favorite toys. If you have a dog that isn’t all that interested in toys, you can try using a toy designed to hold treats, such as a Kong or bottle buddies. Bottle buddies are stuffed dog toys that can be opened for inserting a plastic bottle and held together with Velcro.  Instead of putting a bottle in the toy, try putting your dog’s favorite treat in the toy.  The key is to get him interested in the toy.

Begin by teaching your dog to fetch in the house or in your yard with your dog on a leash. Show your dog the toy and get him excited about it. Toss the toy a few feet away, let your dog get it and encourage him to bring the toy back to you. If he doesn’t bring it back, you get the toy, get him excited, and toss it again.   Praise your dog each time he comes back to you even if he doesn’t bring the toy with him.

Your dog will eventually understand that you want him to bring the toy back to you. When he does, give him some treats and lavish him with praise. Remember, no treats to him unless he brings the toy back to you. When he is bringing it back consistently from just a few feet, increase the distance by several feet. As you increase the distance, the amount of distraction increases as well. Your dog may run after the toy but get distracted by something more interesting. If this happens, decrease the distance to a point where he was successfully bringing the toy back.

Using this method may take a little some time, but remember that you are not only teaching him to fetch, you are also bonding with him.  In time, he’ll understand that bringing the toy back gets him what he wants most, which is fun time with you and lots of exercise.

Remember to keep your sessions fun for your dog.  Patience and fun are the keys to a successful training session.  E End the session before your dog gets bored.  Finally, you want to end on a win for your dog.   By following these simple rules, you and your dog will learn together and build an unbreakable bond.

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