A great exercise for a dog is the simple and most cliche of all dog tricks. What is it?
It’s playing fetch!
The concept is simple right? You grab a ball, yell out to your dog “all right buddy! Go get the ball!”, then you toss the ball and he runs after it, grabs it, returns it and drops it off by your feet for you to toss it again.
As simple as that whole thing is, it is pretty tricky teaching your dog how to play fetch. The first thing you’re going to have to realize is that it’s going to take quite a bit of time to teach them.
If I was going to teach a dog to play fetch I would probably set aside about 1 hour a day for about a week to do the training. Another thing you’re going to have to keep in mind is that you’re going to have to be very patient with your little guy.
I would start off things with a tennis ball. I’d introduce them to the ball and just start rolling it around and get him used to playing with it. I’d bounce it around and make it exciting and make it fun.
What are going to quickly realize is that when he has the ball he’s not going to want to let go of it. What you don’t want to do is to yank it out of his mouth. This will only cause him to clamp down harder on the ball and not want to let go. What you have to do is just grab it in his mouth and hold it. Do not pull it just hold on. Let him give it up. By you simply grabbing it and holding it while he has it in his mouth too it causes him to give up and just give it to you. He in a way yields to you.
Once you start to do this in hold on to the ball and let him drop it he starts to get used to it. His little mind starts to understand that you want him to drop the ball off to you. So the next step would be to start to throw the ball a little ways out. He’ll run after it and grab it. Problem is sometimes he won’t come back to you. So you just got to call out his name and make it fun for him to come running back and you guys fight for the ball again. Once he gets back to you repeat the process of grabbing the ball from his mouth and not pulling it just holding it. He’ll begin to understand that he has to let it go. Once you do this enough times once you stick your hand out he’ll just voluntarily just drop it there. It’s pretty cool to see when that happens.
Once you get them used to getting the ball from a few feet away and get him used to coming back to you and letting go the ball it’s time to start chucking that thing further.
Start by throwing it out 20 to 30 feet out and having him bring it back to you. After a while he’ll start to understand what the whole concept is all about. Then you can start throwing it further and further away.
The next step you’re going to have to teach him is how to stop playing fetch. If you don’t teach him this he’ll never want to stop. The way I’ve taught my dogs to stop is very simple. Once we are done playing I grab the ball and yell up the word “mine”. Once I yell at that word mine I Hold On To The Ball and not moving anymore.
Doing this makes him realize that me, the pack leader, is daou in charge of the ball. I’ve taken control of it and ownership of it. Since he knows I am the leader he simply yields without any hesitation and is perfectly cool with the idea. He didn’t knows playtime is over. I snap him out of it and we go about our business.
That’s it. That’s pretty much how I teach a dog how to play fetch. It does take a little bit of time and a little bit of patience. And I will be honest, there are some dogs that simply don’t like it. They don’t like it and they will never learn it so you going to have to deal with that. My little maltese is like that.