When I think about teaching a dog to fetch, there are several skills that I want the dog to know:
I need the skill of holding an object in their mouth,
I need the skill of the dog letting go,
I need the skill of the dog bringing it to me,
I need the skill of the dog moving away, grabbing the item and turning around and coming back.
The last skill is actually where I start. One of the very first things I teach my clients is the “treat toss game”. You throw a piece of food away from you, your dog chases after it and when the dog puts their mouth on it, you say their name to call them back.
I like using food because there is no possession or distraction like you might have if you were to use a toy.
Once a dog has learned this easy and fun game, I introduce the remote collar or a long line. Both pressure tools work just fine. With the remote collar on a very low setting, I push the button when the dog moves away to go after the treat and as soon as he turns around and comes back, I release the pressure. You apply the same principle with the long line. You put tension on the leash until the dog turns and then you slack the line.
The next step is to introduce not one but two balls on a rope. I throw one of the balls, as the dog goes after it, I press the button on the remote, I call the dog and as soon as the dog turns with the ball in his mouth I let go. When the dog comes back, I throw the second ball. There is always a reward for the dog when they come back. There is no pressure, a lot of praise and the chance to chase after another ball.
If you are new to dog training, you can also just use a short leash and help your dog out, when they get stuck. Remember to keep your patience and if you find yourself frustrated because your dog isn’t getting it, take a couple of steps back.
This is a very detailed description of how to teach a dog to fetch, but here is some good news: a lot of dogs already know how to fetch automatically.
Longoriahaus Dog Training is a dog training service in the Kingwood, Humble and Houston, Texas area. Longoriahaus Dog training can help you raise a happy and reliable dog.