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Dog Training Methods: Fun Ways to Teach Your Dog to Fetch

Updated on May 9, 2014

By Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin

Teaching your dog to fetch

I first recently tried enlisting Cloudy's help to fetch the mail.

I’d say that her interest has been piqued. She takes the mail from my husband's hand and brings it to me.

The “fetch” command is fundamental to dog training and obedience. This process is a definite way to bond with dogs, boisterous or not.

With the right tools and training methods, any pet owner is able to communicate the "fetch" command to his dog.

Bear a few pointers in mind before you start training your dog. These will increase the likelihood of success.


What to remember before you begin training your dog

1. Start training him early.

With perseverance and a sumptuous bag of treats, nearly all dogs are responsive and obedient. That being said, you should begin training a dog as a puppy. Young pups are agile, have alert minds and react quickly to commands.

It’s always possible to train adult dogs, but you will need persistence.

2. Training a puppy is different from training an adult dog.

A young puppy rarely responds to commands immediately.. Don’t feel daunted when he does not respond to your instructions at once. His eyesight is not fully developed. You wouldn’t have nurtured a strong bond with him.

An adult dog realizes the need to pay attention. He is more responsive to ‘fetch” games.

Mature puppies are ideal candidates for dog training.

3. Understand your dog.

It’s important to be familiar with your dog’s personality. He’s either more robust or reticent.

It’s rare to for a dog to dislike fetch games, though some are more keen to play them. Certain breeds lack the natural instinct to chase.

Persuading a reluctant dog to fetch is a challenge. It tests your endurance.

4. Use the right training tools.

Dogs are selective creatures. Some prefer Frisbees; others enjoy sprinting after a ball. Other dogs are easily coaxed with treats.

Experiment with various toys. One will excite him. Popular choices are:

a) Kong toys

b) Air Kong tennis balls

c) Air Kong Flyer Frisbees (Frisbees especially for dogs)

d) nylon or rubber bones

e) The Booda Flyer Frisbee

Always remember safety. A toy should fit your dog’s mouth, but be too large for him to swallow.

5. Remember to have fun.

Training should never pressurize your dog. It’s a time to bond with your pet It’s a healthy workout for both of you.

Don’t fret if your dog does not fetch at once. He is a perceptive creature and will respond if you are patient.


Fun ways to teach your dog to fetch

1. Drop before Retrieve

Dogs rarely resist fetch games. The actual problem is coaxing him to release the ball after he catches it.

This is why teaching him to drop a ball on command is necessary.. Do this before teaching him to fetch. This is obedience training.

To teach a dog to drop on command, extend the ball to him. Gesture to the ground and ask him to drop it. Continue the process until your dog is routinized. This usually requires a few days.

After he has mastered the “drop” command, show him how to retrieve. Toss the ball a few feet away.

After he grabs the ball, command his attention. Call him to you. Remember to praise him for retrieving the ball.

Again, toss the toy and use the word “fetch”. Once more, command his attention. Say the word “come” to persuade him to bring the ball to you.

Finally, repeat the “drop” command as taught earlier.

If your dog drops the toy a few feet away from you, teach him to return it directly to you. Say: “bring it” and wave your arms. Run in the opposite direction from the position you were in and wait for him to chase you. As he does, return to your prior position and say: “drop it”.

2. The Two-Ball Game

Try other fun ways of playing fetch. The Two-Ball game is a blast.

This is an excellent way to train dogs which enjoy an animated game of catch.

Prepare two tennis balls and a leash of about twenty feet. Hold out one of the balls and keep the other in your pocket.

Entice the dog with the ball by waving it in front of him. Throw the ball a few feet away, gripping the leash as well. After he catches the ball, reel him in.

As draws nearer, fish the other ball out of your pocket. Fixate him on this other ball.

As he releases the first ball to chase after the new one, throw it in another direction and repeat the process.

3. Use treats

If your dog doesn’t relish chasing after toys, substitute them with treats. Play the Two-Ball game in this manner.

Kong toys containing treats are available. Watch as your dog attempts to detach the surprise from the toy..

4. Take them there

Try this with dogs with delayed response to commands.

Throw a toy or treat and say: “fetch”. Take him to the item and wait for him to collect it. Then, bring him back to your original position.

5. The Toy-Switch game

This variation of the “fetch” game is suitable for dogs which delight in scurrying after toys, but lose sight of returning them.

Have two identical toys or treats with you. Set them apart from other toys. This way, he is able to read your intention.

Throw it some distance away, but close enough to retain his interest. After he returns, praise him even if he returns without the toy.

Fling the second toy and say: “fetch”. Run to pick up the first toy as he races after the second. This action prompts him to bring the toy to the original position. Remember to throw the toy in the same direction to avoid disorienting him.

Repeat the process until he both retrieves and returns the toy.

If your dog constantly scampers off with it,rein him in and remind him to return it to you.

Fetch games are heartwarming dog training methods that ally you with your pet.

Try these motivating ways of connecting with him.

Teaching your dog to fetch


Fetch games are heartwarming dog training methods that ally you with your pet.

Try these motivating ways of connecting with him.


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    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Devika!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      No, Travmaj, you'll probably need to just rework it a bit. Thanks for sharing!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Bill!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Paula! Well, he is of age.......allowed to be a little set in his ways! LOL!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      Thanks, Bill!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Great tips for training dogs to fetch so interesting and useful.

    • profile image

      Bill Aikman 3 years ago

      Haha I taught my Shih-Tzu to sit, and also how to play hide and seek but fetch is hard! Thanks for the tips though. You can see my pup in the hub "Dog Getting Pranked" :)

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 3 years ago from australia

      Great hub and very good points to make doggie fetching fun. I have to confess, Nell looks at me with horror and it is quite obvious I should fetch it myself. My last dog Bob fetched beautifully but absolutely refused to give you whatever he fetched, it was his to keep! Michelle, this time, I'm a failure!

    • Zsuzsy Bee profile image

      Zsuzsy Bee 3 years ago from Ontario/Canada

      Thank you for sharing. I'll try to follow some of your ideas with my new best buddy.

      voted up and useful

      regards Zsuzsy

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Midget....this is a wonderful instructional hub for dog owners.....and their dogs! A trained doggie is such a joy. Toby and I have a battle of wills at least twice a day. I know we CAN teach an old dog new tricks.....but he insists he's very happy just the way he is......lazy, spoiled and stubborn. Only a mother can love him, believe me!! UP+++ and tweeted

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Excellent advice, Michelle. We started much too late with our dogs, but I'll remember this for the next puppy we get.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 3 years ago from Singapore

      A few dog training tips.