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Thread: To Fetch or not to Fetch

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  1. #1

    To Fetch or not to Fetch

    How do I teach my dog to fetch? When I throw it for her she waits until it bounces picks it up and walks away with it!
    When two dogs were at a park, one dog asked the other, "What's your name?" The dog replied, "My name is NO,NO,BAD Dog!"

  2. #2
    Oh, and what kind of ball should I use, does it need to be soft?
    When two dogs were at a park, one dog asked the other, "What's your name?" The dog replied, "My name is NO,NO,BAD Dog!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Syracuse, NY
    Posts
    856
    What kind of dog do you have? I have seen many people at the dog park I go to who have bought their dog's lacrosse balls. They are harder than tennis balls and bounce a lot more on hard ground. They are also more indestructible. Duncan destroys tennis balls after about one good day at the park. He either squeezes them until they pop or takes the felt covering right off them. And if you play in the winter snow or fall mud, they get soaking wet and filthy! I bought him a Buddy GlowBall so we can play ball in the dark. (We go to the park in the early mornings before work and when I get out at 5pm, it's usually dark during these winter months.) The GlowBall is bigger and rubber but he doesn't seem to be able to squeeze it enough to pop it. Anyway, I don't use lacrosse balls for Duncan because he's very big and I'm scared that they are a little too small for him but a friend has a springer spaniel that loves them!! I don't know how to teach them to fetch except to tell them to come after they have the ball.... When I first got Duncan, he didn't seem to know how to play "with" people. I rescued him from the pound and I think he was neglected as a puppy. He loved to play but for the first few months, he played alone. He would just pick up the ball or toy and throw it to himself (like in the air or roll it along the hardwood floor and pounce on it!)I don't think he knew how to play "with" someone. He learned fast though and now he barks at me if I don't get on the floor with him and play along!


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Geneva, IL USA
    Posts
    2,141
    I use a kong to play fetch. I've had dogs that just weren't interested in this game at all and others who were naturals. You might want to start indoors with a long line attached so when your dog picks up the ball you can say "Bring it here" or whatever and then gently reel you dog to you with much encouragement and praise as he finally "comes" to you. A tiny food reward could help cement the understanding of what is wanted. Once your dog understands what is expected, the challenge is to make it fun for him. My Hannah loves to play fetch. Tucker isn't too interested. Sometimes he will run after the kong and pick it up but then just drop it and walk away. He used to be better when I would reward with a treat, but a game of fetch should be a reward in and of itself, so I stopped that and he stopped retrieving.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Lebanon, TN, USA
    Posts
    325
    The "official" method of teaching a dog to fetch is the following:

    Teach the dog to take the ball/dumbell/whatever from your hand with a "Take it" command. If necessary, gently open the mouth and place the item in. Holding onto the item, teach the "Give" command so the dog will give the thing back without you having to wrestle him/her down to get it. Offer a small (cat-type) treat in return for the item and use lots of verbal praise and petting. As the dog gets better about taking and giving, start teaching "hold", so the dog will hold the item until you say "give". Gently hold the mouth closed for a moment and then longer as he/she learns the hold. Once all that is pretty solid, start moving the item out from the dog a bit, so he/she has to reach for it. Then, you can move it downward, so he/she gets the idea that fetching something from the ground is good. Then, light little tosses outward with the great commands you've taught your dog and you should be well on your way to playing fetch and not having to chase the dog to get the item. If necessary, you can rub a little of the treat on the fetch item and encourage the dog that way.

    I've taught two dogs fetch with dumbells and one took to it quickly and the other didn't want anything to do with it until I put swiss cheese on the item. Most of my dogs have quickly picked up the return the ball thing, since I call them to me (one command) and if they don't respond, I ignore them until they do. In getting the ball from them, (teaching the "give" command) I take hold of the ball while they have it in their mouth and say "give" one time (it is important to use ONE command, as the dog will learn to count and will only do the command when he/she KNOWS you mean it). I hold on until the dog releases the ball and then praise all over the place.

    Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes.
    "Every creature is a word of God."
    Meister Eckhart, Animal Blessings
    Dog Potentials

  6. #6
    My Bobbie has an attitude, she knows how to play fetch she just doesn't see the sense in bringing the ball back to us if all we are going to do is throw it again. As you call her to bring it back she looks at you cocks her head, grins, then turns her back on you and does her own thing. Chester on the other hand could play fetch all day and never tire of it. Bobbie is trying her hardest to break him of this habit by stealing his toys before he acn get to them. Dogs are characters, maybe your dog just has an attitude like Bobbie.

  7. #7
    Well, my bull terrier never fetches. He is, in all honesty, the dog with less than one brain cell. But what can you do? Before I got my bully, we had a lab. He used to play frisbee...the higher, the better. He just went nuts. Then one day, he landed wrong on his leg. And stuck to balls after that...my dad found that he liked footballs, though, so we bought him one...took a bit of air out of it, and used that when he got to be 14 years old.

    As for lacrosse balls, I play goalie in lacrosse for a boy's team (have been since I was young). They're inexpensive, pretty much indestructible, and hurt if they hit something without a lot of padding. But they bounce really well, and are available in different colours.



    A bird is worth a thousand words.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2000
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    1,189
    Most dogs, I've found, don't "fetch" naturally. I taught my Rottweiler, Carl, fetch as an obedience command. He has fun doing it, but it's still not the same to him as playing "chase me".

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