Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Teach Your Dog to Fetch

5 Easy Steps

Do you wish your dog would retrieve toys? Not all dogs are natural born retrievers, but it is possible to teach them. Fetching can be a rewarding game for your dog by giving them an activity with purpose and a great workout.

Step 1: A simple game
Start in a room with no distractions. Sit on the floor with your dog. Have their favorite toy in one hand and treats in the other hand.
Toss the toy, within reaching distance of yourself, and let your dog spring on it. Take the toy from their mouth while saying “Good Fetch” and hold a treat in front of their nose until they drop the toy. Give your dog the treat as soon as they drop the toy
Practice this game in 5 minute blocks a couple of times a day.

Step 2: Add a release command
Once you feel your dog has mastered the simple game, add a “Thank you”, “Drop it”, or “Let go”. You should use whatever command comes naturally to you; the only importance is that you be consistent, using the same release command every time.

Step 3: Slowly increase distance
Throw the toy a little farther each day or as slowly as you need to.

Important: If your dog does not bring the toy back to you do NOT chance him or make a fuss.

Step 4: Repeat, Treat, Repeat
Repetition and positive reinforcement are key.  You can switch up the game by playing in a different room or using a new object to retrieve. 

Step 5: Add a start que
“Fetch”, “Get it” or whatever comes naturally to you; Add a command to start each game and gradually fade the use of treats.

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