Training a Dog to Fetch – a Cool Canine Trick.
Even if you’re a relatively fit person, it’s likely that your dog has a lot more energy than you. So how do you make sure that your dog gets enough exercise, without wearing you out in the process?. One of the best ways is training a dog to fetch.
This is a game that most dogs love because chasing after prey is instinctive, so they’ll naturally chase an object moving away from them. That takes care of the fetch part, but the real trick is training them to understand, not just fetching, but also the need to drop the ball on command.
Here are some tips to help with training a dog to fetch
- Start by teaching the drop command – As mentioned earlier, chasing and catching the ball comes naturally to most dogs – it’s not something you’ll need to train. However, after he’s caught the ball, your dog is likely to want to keep it to himself. It’s his “prey” after all, he’s not about to share it with you! There are a number of ways to teach your dog to drop the ball. Here’s one that works well, using a clicker. Give the ball to the dog, then produce a treat and let him see it. When he drops the ball, click and give him the treat. Do this a number of times till be gets it. Now add the voice command “Drop!”.Eventually, stop giving the treat and just give the click, or praise, as a reward.
Another way of training a dog to fetch and return is to use two tennis balls. Throw the first ball and have your dog retrieve it. When he returns with the ball, show him the second ball. This may make him drop the first ball right away. If he doesn’t, totally ignore him and continue to play with the second ball. It should only take a few seconds for him to drop the ball. When he does, throw the second ball for him to chase. He’ll soon learn that when he drops the ball you’ll throw him another.
- Quit While He’s Still Interested – Some dogs, especially retrievers, will chase a ball all day long. Others soon tire of the game. If you see that your dog is flagging, end the game there and then. End the game while he’s still interested, and he’ll be more motivated to play next time around.
- Set the Rules – Make sure that you control the game. If the dog refuses to drop the ball, don’t shout at him or try to force him to let it go. Simply ignore him and he’ll eventually drop it and the game can continue.
He’ll soon learn that the game only works when he does as you say.
Fetch is a great game to play with your dog. It is excellent for burning off energy and keeping your dog in shape. Above all, training a dog to fetch doesn’t take long because you are tapping the dog’s natural chasing instinct.
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