How to Teach a Dog to Fetch

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch

Last update: 01 July, 2018

Playing with our dogs is one of our favorite things. We love throwing a ball and watching them run after it, but when it’s time for them to return it, they refuse! So, how can you teach a dog to fetch? It’s not going to be a simple task. But we’re going to give you some very easy steps to follow so you can teach a dog to fetch in very little time.

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch the Ball

Teaching your dog to obey you is one of the most difficult things. A dog will go after the ball by instinct, but returning it is another matter. To teach a dog to fetch, first arm yourself with lots of patience. You must be willing to not yell, and you must use positive reinforcement, as it is the only method that works.

By following these tips and a few simple steps that we’re going to share below, you’ll love playing with your dog even more!

Teach Basic Commands

Animals relate words to actions, so if you’re trying to teach a dog to fetch, you should teach them the four main commands: Fetch, catch, bring it, drop it. The first two are easy, and the dog will do them instinctively. Your dog will see a ball running and go running after it. The rest of the commands are the hard part.

Play With Your Dog

To help your dog get acquainted with the ball and see that it’s an object with more uses than just having someone throw it so he can run after it, sit down with him and play together with the ball.

Make your dog sit and put the ball up close to his snout so that he watch it and so it captures his attention. Let your dog take it, but do not let him run off with it. Now is the time to start using commands so that he can start relating them to the appropriate actions.


Giving Commands

When you’re playing with your dog and he catches the ball, say “catch!” By doing this, your dog will begin to relate these things to each other. If catching the ball does not come to your dog naturally, pick it up and throw it until he catches it.

When he does, praise him and give him a treat. Positive reinforcement is the best way to teach an animal commands, so don’t forget to reward your dog whenever he does something right.

After your dog has learned to catch the ball, you have to teach him the hardest part: dropping it. Do not let your dog let go of the ball until you give the command. Help your dog by saying “drop it” while simultaneously pulling on the ball, if necessary. Just putting your hand under your dog’s nose should be enough for him to let go.

Try to practicing the commands for twenty minutes a day for several days until you get him to drop it. Patience is key in this step, as we mentioned earlier.

When your dog drops the ball without you giving the command, say “no” and give it back to him so that he learns to relate the action to your words. When he does, reward him by giving him another treat.


Play Together!

When your dog has learned to fetch the ball and drop it, it’s time to practice by playing. Throw the ball, wait for your dog to fetch it, call him over and give your dog the command to drop it. If you can get the ball back, even if he only does it once, you’re on the right track. And most of all, do not forget to reward him with treats!

It’s all about perseverance and patience. You now know how to teach your dog whatever commands you want, and this will strengthen the bond that already exists between you. Remember that positive reinforcement is always the best option.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.