Everyone knows that dogs love playing fetch, even the most adamant cat lover will tell you this. Fetch is a great way to play with your pup and teach it discipline at the same time. Dogs that are descendants of working breeds have a higher retrieve drive than others but most dogs love playing fetch. All you have to do is bring a ball near a puppy and you can see the excitement in it's eyes. This is all well and good until you're left chasing your pup to give back the ball. Never chase your dog, instead teach it the “give” command. This can be tricky but here are a few tips to help:
- Go easy on your pup the first few times that he plays fetch. Let him fool around and have his fun. You might even have to pry it from his mouth, in the beginning stages. Before you pry the ball, say “good boy/girl” pat the pup on the head and then pry it.
- The first time you pry the ball from his mouth, roll it near him immediately. This will teach your pup that you're only taking the ball away so that you can play again.
- If your pup is still adamant, then you can try to loosely stand on his leash with room for a few steps. Put the ball in the pup's mouth and hold you cupped hand under it's mouth. Be patient as it figures out what to do, the first few times will require some patience. When it finally figures it out and drops the ball either in your hand or at your feet, praise it and give it some treats.
- Owners also exchange the ball for treats while training and slowly phase the treats out. You don't have to give up the treats if you're okay with treating your dog every time. Whatever works for you and your dog, can be continued.
- Initially, keep you throws soft and make sure that the ball is relatively close to your pup. As they grow and learn how to play the game, you can move to long throws in bigger areas. You can also start using Frisbees, footballs and other objects.
- Some dogs have a possessive streak and will refuse to share their toys with others. These dogs take the longest time to give you the ball back but positive reinforcement usually works.
- Do not hit or berate your dog for not giving the ball back, always use positive reinforcement.
Treating your dogs to fetch also makes it easier to have them hazardous objects and keep them safe.