Playing fetch with your dog is something adorable to do and all dogs are naturally good at playing toys with their mouth.
And teaching your dog to fetch is a great way to exercise him and in the same time, giving you as the pet owner a chance to interact and play with him.
When you throw a toy at your dog, they will naturally chase for it and wanted to put the toy into their mouth. However, most dogs will never bring back the toys to you, at least not in the beginning until after you teach him.
And this is what you are going to learn in this article, playing fetch with your dog and have him to bring back the toys to you.
1. Teach your dog to drop the toy
After your dog catches something with his mouth, he will never want to let go, most of the time. And this is where the “Drop it” command comes in. You teach him to let go of things that he is having in his mouth.
The “Drop it” command is easy to do. You just need to get ready with your dog’s toy and treats.
One hand holding the toy and show it to your dog, and another of your hand should be ready with treats. Wave the toy at your dog and get him to come to you. When he is in front of you, let him have the toy. He will take the toy with his mouth and you can use the verbal command “Take it” if you wanted to.
Now, after your dog takes the toy from his mouth, show him the treats and move your hand nearer to his nose.
Use the command “Drop it” and ask your dog to let go of his toy. If he never let go the toy, never give him the treat. If he let go the toy, reward him with the treat immediately.
You can repeat this training a few rounds, with different interval that your dog holds the toy in his mouth. In the beginning, you may want to give him the toy and get it back a few seconds after. And then you can increase the time he holds the toy in his mouth.
Once your dog has learned and understand the verbal command “Drop it”, you can try out this process without using any treat.
Again, like all other dog training, you need to spend some time and patience to teach your dog until he gets the verbal command.
You may have to do this a few times a day until he finally learned the command.
2. Teach your dog to bring back the toy
Like what you might have already tried, you dog probably will chase the toy but not returning it to you.
And to teach your dog to bring back the toy, there a few ways you can do it…
Play the “Bait-Switch” game with your dog
Here’s what you need to do. Get ready with 2 toys. Grab one toy in your hand and show it to your dog. Get his attention and make him excited with the toy.
And then you just toss it in one direction and let him chase the toy. Your dog will chase the toy and use his mouth to take the toy.
When your dog looks at you, show him the second toy and throw it to the opposite direction. Your dog will think that you are playing with him, and he will chase over the second toy and drop the first toy.
Now, grab the first toy and call his name. Show him the toy and let him come to you. Your dog will see you as playing the chase with him, but what you are actually doing is to get him to come back to you when he has the toy.
You can repeat the process by throwing the toys from one direction to the other. Call his name and let him comes to you.
After a few times of training, you can now show toss the first toy in a direction, let your dog chase it, but never toss the second toy. Instead, call your dog’s name and let him come to you. When he comes to you with the first toy, use the “Drop it” command to tell him to drop the toy.
You can also show him the second toy on your hand to make the drop command more effective. Once he dropped the first toy, throw the second toy and let him chase it.
This is why this is called a ‘bait switching’ game. You keep changing the toy for your dog to chase and let him learn to bring back the toys and drop it to you.
After some time of playing and practicing, your dog will understand and learn to fetch the toy back to you.
Leash and chase method
This is the second method you can use to get your dog fetch you the toy. What you need to do is simple; just attach the toy to a leash. After that, toss the toy and let your dog chase it.
Your dog will grab the toy using his mouth. For him to come back to you, you just need to pull the leash and run the other direction. You can call his name to grab his attention too.
Your dog will run back to you with the toy. And when he gets close to you, give him a treat and reinforce with the “Drop it” command.
What happen if half way your dog drops the toy?
The best solution is to tell your dog to “Bring it” and teach him the verbal command. You can walk over to the toy where he drops it and picks it up, and then just show your dog the toy and let him have it. Or you can also pick up the toy and toss it again to repeat the process.
Tell your dog to pick up the toy whenever he grabs the toy with his mouth. It may take a few days or sometime even a few weeks for your dog to fully understand how to play fetch.
Pro tip: Your dog may not learn to fetch and bring you the toy. It takes a lot of patience to teach your dog this. So if he drops the toy somewhere or is not chasing for the toys, you have to have the patience and give him some time to understand.
Or better yet, just follow Doggy Dan’s advice and learn directly from him. He is a professional dog trainer and he has trained more than a thousand dogs. Thus, get his Online Dog Trainer program and apply it to your dog.
Teaching your dogs to play fetch is just the beginning. There are more that your dogs can do. Of course, this only applies if you train your dogs properly and if they follow your command correctly.
Thus, start small and grow from there. You have to teach your dogs easy stuff such as train them to come to you when called, or teach them to sit when you give the command.
You need to have patience in training your dogs. And you are not spending just one or two days with them; you are going to be with your dog for years to come.
Thus, take it slowly, start with basic and simple training. Below are some simple training you can start from:
How To Teach Your Dog To Army Crawl
How To Teach Your Dog To Give Paw Or Shake Hand
How to Train Your Dog to Come When Called
How to Train Your Dog to Sit and Stay
How To Teach A Dog To Catch A Ball Or Frisbee
There are more training and fun activities you can play with your dogs. And these are just the beginning.
Head over to Doggy Dan and get access to his Online Dog Trainer program today.