Training your dog to play the game of fetch and to retrieve a ball or toy is as fun as it sounds and can be done in 8 easy steps. Many people tell me that their dog will not do this and I am here to give you the successful tips that I have used for many years to teach dogs and their humans how to play.
To begin, start indoors in a room with no distractions. Be prepared with dog kibble or treats – a Dixie cup size works. Also, have two or three of your dog’s favorite toys or balls. To teach the game and create the desire to play, you don’t have to use balls to start. Attach a leash to your dog’s collar and just let them drag it on the floor.
- Start by sitting down on the floor and use a toy to get your dog’s interest – I usually pretend the toy or ball is moving around as if it were a little animal.
- As soon as your dog looks over with interest, roll or toss the toy a few feet away. You have to toss or roll it before they can grab it with their mouth. Usually your dog will go to grab the toy as it’s moving.
- As soon as they pick up or touch the toy -PRAISE them! Atta boy! Great job! Remember this is all baby steps at first.
- If that is all they do, no worries, you grab a different toy and repeat the above process. Be excited about the toys.
- If they did pick up the toy you tossed, more praise and hopefully, your excitement will usually draw them back to you!
- DO NOT TRY TO TAKE THE TOY AWAY FROM THEM IF THEY BRING IT BACK. Just praise and say, Good job! Maybe pet their chest and compliment them on their toy!
- Show them the treat and try to trade the toy for the treat. As soon as they take the treat, they will drop the toy, now quickly through the toy back. This is KEY! They have to see you don’t just keep their toy and you always give it back.
- If they are not coming back initially, you use the leash to guide them back and reward with the treat.
To finish the first session, you need to end the game before the dog decides to end the game. This harder for the humans as everyone gets excited when they see success and they want to keep going. Only do about 3-5 tosses at first and then stop playing. This will make your dog all the more interested and engaged the next time you play. Stay with playing this indoor initially until your dog gets great about bringing the toy to you and starts to drop it immediately. This is when you can fade from using the treat!
I love this for kids because kids usually want to play with their dog, but don’t always know the best ways to play. First, teach your dog and then it will be easy to hand the reins to your child. This also is a great bonding activity to do for the family and the dog.
If you’d like to see this in action, I have several sessions that I have posted on my Kids-n-K9s Facebook page! http://<iframe src=”https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fkidsnk9s%2Fvideos%2F337510970624561%2F&show_text=0&width=560″ width=”560″ height=”315″ style=”border:none;overflow:hidden” scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ allowTransparency=”true” allowFullScreen=”true”></iframe>