Monday, January 19, 2009

teaching your dog to fetch

I've been stuck inside with our puppy for a week. and have decided that it's time to get her on the road to dog-dom. here's what I've learned...

One of the basic methods of training the fetch command is using two toys in a bait and switch routine. The toys must be identical and something the dog enjoys playing with. Starting with the dog on a leash or a halter, hide one of the toys on your person and throw the other a short distance after showing it to your pet. Release the dog from the leash and say "fetch" or whatever cue word you choose. The dog will chase after the toy and, most likely, will pick it up. When the animal starts to return with the first toy, produce the hidden one.

The animal will likely drop the toy they are carrying in favor of the new toy. When this happens, wait for the dog to return to you and be reattached to the leash before throwing the new toy. After throwing the new toy, say "fetch" while releasing the animal to give chase. While your dog is chasing the new toy, run and retrieve the first toy. Repeat this process several times using the fetch command.

An important point is to reserve fetch toys for fetch. If you let your dog play with the toy all the time, they lose their novelty and the dogs drive to chase them will be greatly diminished. If you make the dog wait to play with these toys then they are a special treat and the dog will see the toy itself as a reward.

Another tip is to be certain to hold the animal a moment before allowing them to chase the object. This gives them a moment to clearly focus on the objective and to build a stronger desire to retrieve the object they seek. Thus, when they are released, they spring to the object in a flurry of motion and grasp it up easily.

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