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How to teach a dog to fetch

Updated on June 20, 2009

So you have finished housebreaking the dog. You now have a well behaved pet that follows you around. It is now time to teach the dog some fun tricks. You can teach the dog to shake hands, to roll over, to dance, to sing and speak. You can also teach your dog to fetch!

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The Location

The most ideal location to train a dog to fetch is one that is relatively free from distraction. Because dog are intelligent creatures, training them would not be too difficult. However, dogs are known to have short attention span. This is why training must be conducted in short but frequent sessions. If you train a dog on a busy side street or in a park, you will have to compete with various sights and sounds to gain the attention of the dog. A suitable training site will be a backyard or a deserted alley. A hallway would do well if the dog that is to be trained is still a puppy.

The Cue

Consistency is the trick for any successful training. Decide on what command you will use to train the dog. Use the command consistently. Fetch, Come and Give are the most common commands used to train a dog to fetch.

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is another effective training tool. This can take the form of treats and praises. A treat will be associated by the dog to the performance of the command especially if it is given as soon as the given command is obeyed by the dog. Make the training enjoyable for the dog and for yourself as well.  Dogs are always eager to please. When you praise the dog you are letting your pet know that you are pleased with its performance.

Fetch training methods

The most common is the two-toy method. Two toys (preferably the favorite of the dog) are used. One is hidden and the other is played with by the master to encourage the dog to join in the fun. Throw the toy and give the command “Fetch!” The dog will run after the toy but it will not retrieve. Bring out the other toy. Throw it and at the same time giving the fetch command. Once the dog has the toy on its mouth, call the dog to come. Repeat the process until the dog understands that it has to bring the toy back to you.

Another method is using a retractable leash. Throw the toy and give the fetch command. Pull the leash towards you when the dog has the toy in its mouth. Teach the dog to understand the give command. Gently remove the toy from the dog’s mouth and give it a treat. After a while, the dog will understand that it will get a treat if it fetches and gives the toy to you.

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