Fetching – The perfect way to keep a dog busy!
Isn’t it the dream of any dog owner to have his or her dog return items reliably? But many dogs prefer to run away and wait for the owner to join in a tag game. But given the appropriate training, fetching or retrieving can be great fun for owner and dog alike. We have put together some ideas how you can teach your dog fetching or retrieving for domestic use:
First of all, almost any item can be retrieved, from professional retrieving items through various dog toys to a glove or key wallet. However, the latter should really only be used if you are sure that the dog actually returns with it. At this point we would like to discourage the use of the proverbial stick as many dogs have actually been injured.
The dog should be naturally inclined to play and retrieve and must be healthy. Given that, any breed from a Yorkshire terrier to a Rottweiler, can learn how to retrieve. It is best to start off in a controlled area where the dog can see everything. Try to interest your dog in the “prey”. Do not let your dog, who is on a lead, get near the item to be retrieved and play with the item yourself. If the dog shows any interest, allow him to take the item in his mouth saying “fetch” or a similar command. Now praise your dog and/or pet him. Take the item out of your dog’s mouth after a short period of time saying “Out”. Once the dog has mastered this exercise, you can allow him to carry the item around and reinforce with the command “Hold”. Before you can start teaching your dog how to play fetch, the dog should have learned basic recall as otherwise the risk is too great that the dog makes off with the “prey”. Once the dog has learned to carry the item, you can start with the next step. Again, catch the dog’s attention and throw the item so that the dog can see where it lands and allow the dog to chase and take the “dummy” by telling him or her “fetch”. As soon as the dog returns with the retrieved item, praise the dog effusively and remove the item out of the mouth saying “Out”. The dog should not learn that returning means that he or she releases the “prey” therefore you must allow the dog to keep the item once in a while and to carry it while walking alongside his or her owner. Naturally, your mood is a very important factor. If you fail to show the appropriate enthusiasm, the dog will quickly loose interest in the game. Once the dog has understood the aim of the game, you can slowly raise the stakes for instance by increasing the distance or moving to more difficult terrain. There is no end to your creativity. This simple game affords you the opportunity to keep your dog busy well into his or her old age and you will be surprised by the enthusiasm with which your dog will find his or her toy.
Call into your local store today to discuss your dog’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.