By Cheryl Lock
As a dog owner, you probably feel like playing fetch with your favorite canine companion is practically a given. Sticks. Frisbees. Balls. Toys. Whatever the object, a favorite pastime of man (and woman!) and best friend has been playing fetch.
So if your dog is, how should we say, less than perfect at playing the game, you might feel a bit frustrated. “Depending on the breed of your dog, fetching could come as natural to him as litter boxes to cats,” says Oscar E. Chavez, DVM, MBA, Member of the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition.
For example, Retrievers have been bred for their innate willingness to retrieve objects and bring them back to their owners. “Little must be done to encourage them to do so other than some verbal, ‘good boy’ praising,” says Dr. Chavez.
A miniature Poodle, on the other hand, is likely to look at an object you throw, and then look back at you with a face that seems to say, “You want me to do what?”
If your pup is more like the Poodle, you’ll probably need a bit more in your training arsenal than just some gentle prodding. Treats and clickers are a good place to start. “For fetch, your pet must already know the basic sit and stay commands, and then you should teach her how to come when called,” says Dr. Chavez. In order to do that (if your dog doesn’t already know how to), try asking your pet to sit. Then walk away from her, using the stay command as you do so. “Then ask her to ‘come’, and give her a treat on the ground when she arrives,” says Dr. Chavez.
Once stay and come are old hats for your dog, you can try throwing an item and encouraging the dog to go after it by including a treat (attached to the item) that they can access when they reach it. You could also race along with your pet to the thrown object, and then provide him with the treat once he picks it up.
“Once your dog is going after the item and picking it up, you may want to call her back to another location, and reward her for coming back to you,” says Dr. Chavez. “Finally, the command of ‘drop’ may be useful to teach her to let go once she’s retrieved the item and brought it back to you.”
Knowing the steps to help you train your dog to fetch is important but, as with any type of dog training, remaining positive and repeating the steps as often as it takes for your pup to learn will be crucial.
For more on how to use treats to properly train your pup, check out this story.
Cheryl Lock is
an editor at Studio One. Her work has appeared online at Petside and Pet360,
as well as in print in publications like Parents,
Family Circle and Runner’s World. She lives in New York with her adorable
rescue cat, Penny, and a rabbit named Nugget.
Chuckit! Classic 26M Launcher (Colors Vary)
- Throw farther, faster, & never bend down to pick up a slobbery ball again
- Made from lightweight flexible plastic that firmly grasps a tennis ball then releases it as you swing
- Long ergonomic handle for the ultimate comfort & control
- Exercise your dog in a fraction of the time! Throws tennis ball 3X further
- Medium Size with 26 inch handle; Can be used with all medium 2.5-inch Chuckit! Balls
Gotcha Talking Dog Fetch Toy, An Automatic Ball Thrower/Launcher - Interactive Electronic Fetch Machine with 3 Small Tennis Balls
- For very small dogs because the ball is mini sized
- Teach Your Dog How to Play for hours and hours of fun and enjoyment
- Play with your dog or let the dog play alone
iFetch Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs - Launches Mini Tennis Balls, Small
- Stimulates dogs minds by challenging them to learn something new
- Comes with three 1.5-inch mini-tennis balls these are not full size tennis balls
- Interactive on demand ball launcher that lets small dogs play fetch to their hearts' content
- Strengthens the bond between dogs and their humans
- This is the small iFetch. The iFetch Too is the bigger version that launches standard size tennis balls.
iFetch Frenzy, Mini
- Interactive fetch toy rolls mini balls (1.6 in diameter) from bottom of base
- Ball randomly accelerates out one of three chutes at the base
- Great mental and physical exercise for your pet
- Hidden ball storage compartment
- Durable, high-quality design and construction
iFetch Too Interactive Ball Launcher for Dogs - Launches Standard Tennis Balls, Large
- Interactive, on demand ball launcher that lets dogs play fetch to their hearts' content
- This is the large version that launches full size tennis balls
- Runs on a built-in, rechargeable battery
- Comes with three 3 non-abrasive, pet-safe tennis balls
- Strengthens the bond between dogs and their humans and brings a fun new twist to the familiar game of fetch
ChuckIt! Medium Ultra Balls 2.5-Inch, 2-Pack
- Quality Material used for your pet's best health
- Designed in the USA with high standards set
- Trusted for decades in the pet industry and setting new standards
- Durable dog ball perfect for fetching
- Made from natural high-bounce rubber
Chuckit! Large Kick Fetch Ball
- Kick to play
- Similar in size to a soccer ball
- Puncture resistant foam core
- 7 1/2 inches in diameter
- Made from natural high-bounce rubber
PetSafe Automatic Ball Launcher
3 used from $ 125.51
- Automatic Ball Launcher plays fetch with your dog; interactive features aid in training
- Pet receives plenty of exercise chasing launches between 8-30 feet; 9 settings; 6 angle settings
- Multiple safety sensors keep people and pets safe; MOTION SENSOR on the front protects dogs and people from launched balls up to 7 FEET away from the launch pocket.
- PetSafe Brand is an industry leading US manufacturer of pet behavior, containment and lifestyle products since 1991, helping millions of people and pets each year.
- Call, chat, or email with our expert US-based customer care specialists six days a week. They are waiting to assist you and your pet with your product needs.
SmartPult, the World's First App-Enabled Remote and Programmable Ball Launcher for Playing with Every Size and Breed of Dog
3 used from $ 80.27
- Dispense treats and reward your pupper for a job well done. NOTE - SmartPult's balls are approximately 2 inches in diameter and appropriate only for small to medium sized pets.
- How many balls can SmartPult carry? The ball catchment at the top of the machine is able to carry up to 5 balls!
- Launch distance 3, 6, and 8 meters for fun that's through the woof!! What size dogs are suitable to play with SmartPult? SmartPult uses mini tennis ball, which are suitable for small dogs to medium dogs. Large dogs should play with caution as some large dogs may choke on smaller balls.
- Control SmartPult with your phone. Play with your dog from a distance, or setup for automatic play.
- What size balls do the SmartPult use? SmartPult uses 50mm mini tennis balls. What do the lights on the machine signify? A flickering blue light signifies that your machine is connected to your phone via direct Wi-Fi. You can then control SmartPult using your App. A constant blue light signifies that your machine is connected to your home Wi-Fi. You can pair SmartPult with your phone via direct Wi-Fi first, and then configure it to connect to Home Wi-Fi under "Wi-Fi Set" in the side menu. This allows your phone to be connected to your Home Wi-Fi but also connected to SmartPult. In this way, you will be able to use the App to control SmartPult and also surf the Internet. If there is no blue light on the machine, it means that SmartPult is not connected to any phones.
KONG Training Dummy Toy, Large
- Tough and sturdy for long-lasting training or play
- Training Dummy floats
- Highly visible