There comes a time with every dog owner when they are going to want to teach their dogs how to fetch.
Believe it or not, dogs do not come with this skill already hardwired into their brain- it is up to the trainer to teach them.
Some dogs will just pick it up naturally, but the vast majority of dogs will need to be taught.
It will take patience in a lot of cases, but as long as you are willing to put in the work, your dog will pick up how to fetch in time.
If you want to teach your Golden how to fetch, then you have come to the right place.
I’ve put together a step-by-step guide to help you teach your dog how to fetch so you can have more fun together and teach your dog a new trick.
How To Teach Your Dog How To Fetch
How quickly your dog picks up the ability to fetch really depends on the dog and how patient you are, so don’t be discouraged if they don’t learn it straight away.
If you practice with them enough, they will eventually get it down.
Did you know a game of fetch is great for helping your dog lose weight?
Step 1: Choose The Right Space
When you are teaching your dog how to fetch for the first time, it is important that you choose the right space in which to do it.
Avoid going somewhere that is big and open, but rather find a smaller, more enclosed space to practice.
Places like a hallway or a small backyard are perfect when you are just teaching your dog for the first time. It gives them less to focus on and avoids overstimulating them, helping them to focus more on the ball and task at hand.
On top of this, the smaller spaces give them less opportunity to take the fetching object to the wrong place.
Step 2: Teach Them To Chase The Ball
Once you have established the training space, you can then focus on starting to teach your dog how to fetch.
The first thing you want to do is teach them to chase the ball, or whatever other object you choose. We do recommend that you start with a ball because it is easier for you to throw and for your dog to retrieve.
All you have to do during this step is throw the ball a short distance away from you and encourage your dog to go after it.
Dogs instinctively chase after thrown objects in most cases, so this really shouldn’t take too much prompting.
Some dogs will need you to introduce the ball or object to them first and show them that it is for fun and play.
Try and tune yourself into your dog’s personality and behavior to understand if they need more prompting.
Step 3: Train Them To Return The Ball
When you have practiced step 2 enough, and your Golden starts to instinctively chase after the thrown object, you can then start to train them to return it to you.
For this step, you need to wait for your dog to go to the ball and then call them back to you with the object.
Make sure you use a positive tone of voice and words of affirmation to encourage them to return it as quickly as possible.
You can also use reward-based training and actions in this step. When they do bring the ball back over to you, simply give them a treat and praise them.
If they return to you without the ball or object, don’t give them a treat and repeat step 2 instead.
You will need to repeat this step quite a few times in most cases. Some dogs do pick it up quite quickly, but don’t lose hope if your dog takes a few tries. This is normal, too!
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Step 4: Teach Your Dog To Drop The Ball On Return
I think this is the hardest part, as your dog may want to hold onto their beloved ball.
As soon as you have repeated step 3 enough times and they always return to you with the ball, you can then focus on teaching them to drop it.
This is the final step needed for the fetch trick, and once your dog completes this successfully, they will know how to fetch.
When your dog returns to you with the ball, you need to put your hand beneath their mouth and the object and simply say, ‘Drop it’.
The idea is that once they understand the command, they will drop the fetched item into your hand.
To teach them this, you need to hold the ball while it is in their mouth and repeat the phrase ‘drop it’. Try and make sure that you don’t tug the ball or pull it out of their mouth; they need to learn to do it themselves.
Your dog might run away with the ball a few times or simply not respond, but if they do this, just repeat the whole process again.
Like the other steps, it may take some time, but eventually, your dog will realize what they need to do.
Step 5: Repeat The Process
Remember, fetch is meant to be a game, and it is meant to be fun for both you and your dog, so it is important to repeat the steps and process again a few times.
The more you and your dog practice, the better you both will be at it.
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The Final Woof
Teaching your Golden how to fetch requires patience and perseverance, but it is a great trick for your dog to know.
Not only will it benefit them and give them a fun game to play, but it will also benefit you and give you a chance to properly bond with your pet.
Even if you are new to training dogs, fetch is almost built into every breed, and even the most untrained dog can learn how to do it.
Use the steps I have provided here to teach your dog how to fetch!