How Can I Teach My Dog to Play Fetch?

It's Time to Fetch

The last step is to teach your dog to turn away from you to get the ball. Place the toy just off to her side and reward her for picking it up and dropping it in your hand. Once she gets good at this, do a small toss to the side and use your “take it” cue. Toss the toy just a little farther behind her each time and reward her for dropping it in your hand or at your feet. Be patient; it may take her awhile to put all the pieces together. If she stops picking the toy up or doesn't carry it back to you, toss the toy closer to you or lay it on the ground and go from there.

Eventually you want to swap the toy for a ball and start to throw it farther away before asking her to return and drop it in your hand or at your feet. Start with short distances; once your dog is successfully returning and dropping the ball every time, throw it farther and farther away.

Retrieving can be complex, but by identifying the issue behind the unfinished retrieve and retraining as necessary, you should be playing fetch with your dog in no time.

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