How to Teach Your Puppy to Play Fetch
f your puppy can sit and come to you on command, your pet is ready to learn a few tricks. There is a great feeling you get when your pet performs a trick well in front of group of your friends. You feel like a good “pet parent” and you have visual proof that your efforts in training your puppy have paid off.
If your puppy has not yet mastered the simple commands of coming when it is called or sitting on command, then work on that first. These two commands of “sit” and “come” pave the way for many other dog tricks and obedience skills.
Teaching your puppy to play fetch is a great way to spend time with your dog. This simply involves you throwing an object and asking your dog to retrieve it using the command “go fetch.”
8 Steps to Playing Fetch with Your Dog
- Get a toy or ball your dog likes (preferably one that is sized well so he can pick it up easily in his mouth)
- Toss the toy a few feet away and say “go fetch”
- If your dog goes for the toy, say “good dog”
- After your dog picks up the toy, tell your dog to “come”
- Reward your dog when your dog comes to you with the toy in his mouth
- Tell your dog “drop it”
- Reward your dog when he drops the toy in front of you (you can use a treat or praise for this)
- Slowly increase the distance that you throw the toy and decrease the treat; eventually your dog will love this game so much that a simple, “good dog” is all the reward he will need
Many dogs will have a natural instinct to chase the toy and catch it or pick it up with their mouth. If your dog does this say “good dog,” even if he’s not bringing you the toy yet. If your dog doesn’t chase the toy when you throw it, try letting him play with it or sniff it for a minute before you toss it. Make sure your dog sees you tossing it. If your dog still isn’t getting it, you can have a friend help you. Have a friend pick up the toy and bring it to you, mimicking this motion several times while repeating the command “go fetch.” If your friend is another dog (who your dog gets along with well), this can help him understand the game.
The trickiest part of this game is often getting your dog to drop the ball in front of you after he’s got it in his mouth. Many dogs want to sit and chew on the toy once they get it in their mouths. To teach your dog the game, you’ll need to teach your dog the command “drop it.” If your dog does not want to let the toy go, do not try to yank the toy out of your dog’s mouth as this could injure his gums. Instead try playing the game with two toys. When he drops the one to run after the other say “good drop it.”
Playing fetch is a lot of fun and provides a lot of exercise for your pet, which is good for dogs at any age but is an especially great thing for puppies, who are known to have boundless energy. However, just a heads up about this trick: dogs who are prone to chew will want to keep the toy or ball and chew it instead of giving it back to you. If your puppy is going through a chewing stage (or if your puppy is teething), your pet may have a hard time with learning to play fetch. If your puppy is having a hard time with the “drop it” part of the game, give your puppy some time away from this game and try again in a few weeks. Maybe your dog thinks it’s fun for you to throw the ball and getting to chew it is the reward. Well, as long as your dog is having fun, it’s all good!
After all that playing, your puppy will need a quiet place to chill out and take a nap. You can create a stylish “pet bedroom” in any part of your home with a designer dog kennel from DenHaus or a Neddy Napper premium dog bed.