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How to Train Your Dog to Fetch

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One of the first games you may have played with your pup was fetch. While some dogs catch onto the game quite quickly, others don’t really understand why you would throw their toy away, while others will chase it, but won’t return it to you. Fortunately, there are some simple steps you can take to train your furry friend to fetch.

Choose the Right Toy

Most importantly, to train your dog to fetch, choose an object that you know they will actually want to chase. Experiment with different objects if necessary, but you can try it with a stuffed toy, a ball, a frisbee, or a stick.

Chase Them

If your dog tends to just sit and stare at you when you try to fetch with them, you should start by teaching them to chase the object. Motivate your dog to chase after it with whatever works best for them. Some dogs are motivated by affection and attention, while others prefer treats.

Regardless of which you choose, the process is essentially the same. Chase the object with your dog, encouraging them to go after it. Then, when they pick it up, reward them with the motivator of choice. Repeat this several times, then toss the toy a short distance away. Reward them once they go grab it. Keep repeating this until they always chase after the toy.

Add More Motivation

You can encourage your dog to chase the object even more by actively holding them back after you throw the toy. As the tug against you to chase after the object, continue to encourage them verbally to go after it. Once you let go, your pup will be off like a rocket after the toy.

Teaching Retrieving

Once your puppy has got chasing down, the next step is to teach them how to retrieve it for you. There are several different ways to go about it, depending on how your dog is particular is behaving. If they will not bring back the toy, it may help to use a second toy. After catching the first toy, throw the second toy in the opposite direction. This will get them used to the idea of running back to you after grabbing the toy.

After they have mastered this, try calling your pup back to you while he is holding the toy and asking him to drop it. Show him the second object, and he will drop the first to chase after this. Eventually, he will come to understand that if he comes back and drops the object, you will throw it again.

Avoid “Keep Away”

If your dog is inclined to catch the object, then run away from you without returning it, you might try using a rope. Once they catch it, wiggle the line and pull it towards yourself or run away from your dog. This will motivate your dog to follow you. If they do not follow you, reel her in on the rope and use your motivator of choice to reward her as she gets close to you. Toss the object, and continue this strategy. After a few weeks, your dog should naturally approach you.

Returning the Object

If your dog drops the object before actually going back to you, step away and say, “Bring it.” After they come to the place you were originally, step back and praise them and throw it again.

If the issue is that your dog refuses to let go of the object, say “Drop it” and put a treat under their nose. In all likelihood, they will drop the toy and go for the treat.

Now that you know these simple tips, you’re ready to teach your pup how to fetch. When you are training your dog, you may require puppy pads to help them. If this is the case, shop our washable puppy pads at New Puppy Pads today!