How to Teach A Dog To Fetch

Here is a basic way to teach your dog to play fetch.

Retrieve (Fetch):

  • Retrieve often works best after you have established the first 2 games of stalk/chase and tug.
  • Choose a toy that your puppy likes, but it shouldn’t be so exciting that she just wants to keep it to herself. She should think that the toy is more fun when you play with it, too!
  • Start your Retrieve from a place where your pup normally loves to bring her toys (e.g., her bed).
  • Get her really excited about the toy, then toss it a few feet away. When she grabs it, praise and entice her to come back to you by making fun sounds such as kisses or a drum roll on the floor.  Hint: Gently pulling on a leash often helps to get a puppy coming in your direction.
  • If your pup comes to you without the toy, praise lavishly anyway. Then, grab the toy yourself and repeat step 4, more enthusiastically.
  • When your pup brings toys to you, don’t grab for the toy right away; instead, praise and touch her in a way she loves. This will make her want to keep “sharing” toys with you and bring them to you as a “safe” place to enjoy them, rather than run away from you with them.
  • Once your pup is comfortable bringing toys back to you, reward her not only with praise, but by immediately engaging in more play!

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