Teaching Tricks: Fetch

4 Dec

Fetch is a game enjoyed by all types of dogs.  However, contrary to popular believe, this trick does not come naturally to dogs, and requires you to teach them how to play.  This skill is the process of your dog retrieving their toy and bringing it back to you.  After they do this, you may use the ‘give’ or ‘drop’ commands if you want to throw the toy again.  This step will not be included in the following steps, as the focus will be on getting your dog to simply retrieve or ‘fetch’ the toy.

Fetch can also become much more than a game.  Once your dog has mastered the basic concept of this skill, you can move on to teaching them to fetch specific things. This can help to exercise your dogs brain by learning to distinguish exactly what you want from them.  It can also add a level of convenience for your life depending on what you teach your dog to fetch.  A common use for this trick in every day life is teaching the dog to fetch your slippers.  You can begin the process of teaching your dog all these fun and useful tricks by following these simple steps.
Step 1
Begin with your dog, a favorite toy and some treats readily available.  You want to use a toy your dog will be motivated to fetch, so pick a favorite toy.

Step 2
Get your dog interested in the toy.  Shake it around, squeak it, do whatever you have to do.  Once you have their attention, throw the toy a couple of feet in front of you.  Your dog will most likely run after the toy.  If not, there are a couple things you can do to capture your dog’s interest.  You might want to change the toy in use to one your dog is more interested in.

Step 3
Once your dog has successfully ran after the toy and has it in their mouth, you can give the ‘come’ command.  Your dog, toy in mouth, will come back to you.  Once they do, praise them “good fetch” and give them a treat.  Your dog will drop the toy to get their treat, and you can get the toy to throw it again.

Step 4
As training goes on, you can start using the command ‘fetch’ right before you throw the toy.  If you are attempting to teach your dog to fetch something specific by name, use the command ‘fetch’ followed by the name of the object.  Try and keep the name simple and relatively short, preferably 1 or 2 words.

Step 5
As you practice and perfect this trick, you can increase the distance you throw the toy.  You can also begin to add in levels of difficulty.  Try to get your dog to fetch a specific toy, or the newspaper or your slippers.

You will need to practice these 5 steps a few times a day for as long as it takes.  Practice as much as you can with your puppy until they get it.  However, make sure you do not push your puppy to far or expect too much too fast from them.  Teaching your puppy tricks can be a fun and enjoyable activity for you and your dog, so do your best to keep it that way!

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