teach dog to play fetch
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Teach Your Dog To Play Fetch

Have a pup that just doesn’t grasp the concept of fetch? No worries here we’ll teach you how to achieve an easy and effective way to teach dog to play fetch!


Playing fetch with your pup is a great way to burn some energy your pup may have while also having fun and teaching your dog to pay attention to your an excited state of mind!


Teach Dog To Play Fetch What You’ll Need!


Before we jump into how to teach your dog how to play fetch some materials you’ll need are:


A Leash or long line


And your pups preferred toy


Some toys I recommend are:


Tug toys: Tug toys are great for teaching a dog the beginning of steps of playing fetch. Some we recommend


Frisbee: I recommend the frisbee because it is big enough to grab on to while teaching your dog how to play fetch. Frisbee we recommend


Balls: Balls are great because some dogs just aren’t interested in tug toys or frisbees but light up for balls!


Now that we covered what you’ll need to get started let’s hop into how to teach dog to play fetch!


How To Teach Dog To Play Fetch


teach dog to play fetch


When beginning to teach dog to play fetch we first want your dog on a leash to prevent your pup from “bailing or playing keep away” when learning the correct way to play fetch.


Guidelines Before We Begin


Some guidelines or rules to follow as we begin teaching your dog to play fetch!


Movement Is Motivating


Movement is motivating for dogs, as a rule of thumb whenever you run or move towards your dog you push your dog away and whenever you run or move away from your dog your draw your pup towards you.


Allot of the beginning of teaching fetch you will be doing a lot of running away to encourage your dog to run to you!


You never want to chase your dog as that will teach your dog to get the toy and run away from you!




teach dog to play fetch


Now that we understand how dogs respond to your movements lets begin teaching your pup how to play fetch!


The beginning of teaching your dog how to play fetch starts by “back-chasing” or starting with the end first!


Heres what to do!


  1. Get your pups preferred toy and get your pup interested in it
  2. Have your dog begin to tug the toy 
  3. When your dog is tugging the toy your holding let go of the toy and immediately jog or run backward!
  4. You’ll notice that your dog will run towards you to initiate the game again.
  5. Repeat the process 

If your dog tries running past you when you let go of the toy remember to use the leash to prevent your dog from “bailing” 


You don’t want to “reel your dog in” instead you want to apply little taps on the leash and encourage your dog to come using your body!


Once your dog is successfully running back when you tug lightly the next phase is throwing the toy!


You want to practice the steps above but this time you want to throw the toy instead of playing tug.


When you toss the toy be sure to toss the toy fairly close to you in the beginning, that way we set your pup up to succeed and bring the toy back. 


Throwing the toy too far early on can set yoour pup up to fail you want to gradually increase the distance you throw the toy.


The Steps Are Now

1. Get your pups preferred toy, instead of tugging this time toss it a couple inches away from you.


2. Run back the moment your dog gets the toy, when your pup gets to you play tug. 


3. When your dog or puppy lets go toss the toy again and repeat the process


We are essentially teaching your pup that bringing the toy back starts another game!


Rules To Add


teach dog to play fetch


Once your puppy or dog is enthusiastic about playing fetch, getting the toy and bringing it back, we have to teach your dog some rules such as dropping the toy on command.


The reason we don’t teach the rules first is because we initially want your dog interested in the game and playing fetch with us.


If we add to many rules without making fun for your pup, your dog may not want to play the game!


Once your dog is enjoying bringing the toy back you want to teach your pup to drop the toy on command!


 The easiest way to accomplish this is when playing tug with your pup!


Teaching Your Dog To Drop The Toy On Command

1. Play tug with your dog

2. Say drop

3. Fully immobilize the toy until your dog lets go.

4. The moment your dog lets go of the toy say “ok” and tug again with your pup.


The reason why most dogs won’t let go of a toy or bring it back is that your dog thinks you’re going to end the game and take the toy away!


Essentially when teaching the “drop it”we are teaching your dog that letting go of the toy starts the game back up not end it.


Once your dog understands the drop it combine it with everything covered in this article 


Finished Recap

  • Toss the toy

  • Runaway to encourage your dog to run towards you

  • When your dog gets to you, grab the toy and say “drop” immobilizing the toy

  • When your dog lets go say “ok” and toss the toy again

Conclusion: What To Keep In Mind


Not all dogs like playing fetch some prefer tug of war while others prefer roughhousing, it’s up to you to understand what your dog views as reinforcing and fun.


Ultimately playing fetch can be rewarding for your dog an is a great way to burn some excess energy your pup may have while building his focus on you!


To awaken your dog’s true potential contact us here or Give us a call!

Receive your free dog training consultation and set your pup up for success! 

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