Want to play the classic game of ‘Fetch’ that appeals to dogs of all shapes and sizes? Check out these easy steps.
Pick the right object to play with. A small dog needs a small toy while a big dog, a bigger one, that’s common sense. But you don’t need to use a ball or a rubber stick. If you prefer, use a plush toy. For extra fun and encouragement, you can buy a pet-safe scent like deer or chicken to make it easier for your pet to follow.
Inspect the toy together, so your pet knows this is what you want to focus on. To make sure your pet gets it, look at the toy and, when your pet looks at it, say, “Good dog!” and pet her or him. If your pet sniffs or paws the toy, praise again!
Teach your pet to pick up the toy. This means putting it on the ground and saying, “Fetch!” Your pet will probably pick up the toy instinctively. Quickly put your hand under your pet’s mouth and say, “Drop!” and gently take the toy. Then reward your pet with loads of praise. Do this several times so that your pet understands the idea of picking up the toy and giving it to you.
Toss the toy a foot or two away, saying, “Fetch!” When your dog pounces on it, praise with “Good dog!” and then quickly hold out your hand, saying, “Drop!” As you’re doing this within a step or two, you can help your pet get it right by reaching for the ball yourself. Then you move further and further away so you can’t reach it anymore. If your pet wants to wrestle with the toy or do something else, don’t get angry. Just stop the game and do something else for an hour. Then go back to it. Slowly and surely is the way to do this.
Increase the distance you throw the toy. Once your pet really gets into the game, you can use other things to throw – like bouncy balls that add a bit of fun uncertainty!