How To Teach Your Dog to Fetch!

How To Teach Your Dog to Fetch!

Fetch is a great way to exercise your dog if they have more stamina than you, which is often the case. It’s also a good to teach your dog to bring things back to you, because sometimes they end up with something you don’t want them to have – for example your shoe or something they find along a walk. Better that they bring it to you than think a game of chase is fun! However, not all dogs naturally fetch. Even a retriever breed may not be naturally inclined to bring something to you. That’s where training comes in. It is possible to teach dogs, even dogs with no interest in toys, how to fetch. It just may take longer than the ball-crazed Border Collie or die-hard Retriever.

BEFORE YOU START – Does your dog have play drive?

Toy or play drive is similar to prey drive. Many dogs enjoy toys because they can treat them like prey – chase, tug, rip, shred, shake and many of them even “squeal” (squeak) like prey. But not all dogs do. If your dog is not big on toys, you need to work on this before teaching a fetch. Here are some tips to help the dog that is not very enthusiastic about toys.

First, try lots of different types of toys in case the problem is just the type of toy and not toys in general. Here is a list of common “types” of toys to try:

· Soft or hard toys

· Toys that squeak or don’t squeak (sound sensitive dogs)

· Stuffed or not stuffed

· Round or long (a ball versus a stick)

· Crinkly ones (like the kind that sound like they have paper or a bottle in them)

· Food stuffed toys

You can help your dog find toys more interesting by:

1. Be exciting! If you seem excited about the toy it will help your dog be more excited about it.

2. Rewarding them for interaction with the toy – this works with dogs that are more food or attention motivated than toy driven. You can praise/reward them for looking at the toy, nosing it, pawing it, picking it up, etc.

3. Keep the toy moving. For some dogs, especially terriers and herding breeds, it’s the movement that excites them. See if that is the case for your dog. You can even tie a toy to a lunge whip or rope to make dragging easier. Make sure you allow them to catch the toy at some point – you don’t want to build frustration in your dog. (As a side note, if you worry about building too much chase drive – don’t use this method. You can also put it on cue, such as “get it” so it’s under a stimulus control.)

Teaching Fetch – BACKCHAINING

The easiest way to teach fetch is using a technique called backchaining. This is where you start by teaching your dog the last part of the behavior and work backwards to the beginning. In the case of fetch, then, we will start by teaching the dog to place a toy in your hand (or drop it at your feet if you prefer) and then back up to retrieving a toy you have tossed.


STEP 1: Get Them To Pick Up Toy

Bring out a toy and place it very close to your dog. DO NOT THROW IT YET! Anytime your dog interacts with it at all, praise/reward. (Note: a clicker can make this process go much quicker as you can be more accurate with your timing on marking the behavior you are looking for).

***Using the same toy can help the learning processes go quicker in the beginning as well, since dogs do not generalize learning. However, you then may have to repeat some of these steps with other toys. It’s up to you whether you want to switch it up in the beginning or later on.***

Once your dog has interacted with the toy, “reset” by removing the toy (placing behind your back for example) and then bringing it back out after a few seconds.

Build up your dogs interaction by delaying your praise/reward as your dog interacts more and more with the toy. YOU ARE LOOKING FOR YOUR DOG TO PUT THE TOY IN ITS MOUTH. Depending on how big of a toy dog he is, this may happen immediately, or it may take several sessions.

When your dog does pick up that toy – big party! Be excited and give him lots of praise to reinforce the behavior.

STEP 2: Add End Behavior

Now that your dog is picking up the toy each time you set it out, it’s time to add in your end behavior. For example, putting the toy in your hand.TO DO THIS….

Bring out a toy and place it very close to your dog. DO NOT THROW IT YET! As soon as your dog picks up the toy, place your hand close underneath it, but don’t grab it. Most dogs will place the toy in your hand naturally, some may even let go. If so, big jackpot (several treats) or lots of praise.

If your dog puts the toy in your hand, but doesn’t drop it, hold a treat by their nose with your other hand and when they release the toy to take the treat, praise them and give them the treat.

When your dog is dropping the toy as soon as your hand is placed underneath it’s time to move on!

Next time your dog picks up his toy, put your hand near it, but not underneath it. Will your dog move to put the toy in your hand??? IF SO THEN YOUR DOG UNDERSTANDS THE CONCEPT and is ready for the next step. If not, it’s okay, go back to reinforcing dropping the toy into your hand underneath a couple more times and try again. Maybe put your hand partway under the toy to make it easier.

Rule of thumb in dog training: If he fails, go back a step and make it easier for him by repeating the last behavior he was rewarded for or breaking up the steps even more.

When your hand is several inches from your dog and he moves to put the toy in it, it’s time to add the cue

Add your fetch word – fetch, bring it, toy, etc., – really you can use any word you want! To add the cue, say the word as your dog is placing the toy in your hand. This teaches him that your fetch word means “bring me the toy and put in my hand.”

Gradually increase the distance of how far your dog has to go to put the toy in your hand.

STEP 3: Add the Retrieve

Up to this point, you have just been placing the toy near your dog. Now it’s time to add the retrieve. Start by tossing the toy just a couple inches from your dog – something very easy – and say your fetch cue. Does he immediately go get it and put it in your hand? If so – big party! You can start to gradually increase the distance depending on your dog’s excitement for the game. For some dogs this may take longer, that’s okay!

Remember, if your dog fails three times, it just means he doesn’t understand the concept yet and you need to go back. Punishing him won’t help him get it faster, but it might make him not like toys. So don’t punish. Instead, go back to either placing the toy in your hand, or try tossing it closer to him. Tossing it more toward your dog can help too.

Following these steps and your dog will be retrieving sooner than you think! The important thing to remember is to train at your dog’s pace and have fun. This is supposed to be a game! Keep training session short at first (just five minutes is good!) and if your dog seems stuck (not getting it), stop and think about how you can change what you’re doing to help your dog get the concept. Like humans, each dog learns at a different pace and may even understand some methods better than others, so the best way to be successful is to be flexible in your training.

Discover What Dogs Are at Risk of These Serious Health Issues!

Discover What Dogs Are at Risk of These Serious Health Issues!

Since almost half the dogs in Australia are overweight, there is a good chance you own at least one obese dog. And you most definitely know one or two. An overweight dog is more likely to develop several, serious health issues that will shorten your dog’s life. (Not to mention cost you thousands at the vet).


Overweight dogs are much more likely to develop diabetes and insulin resistance, just like people. Dogs who develop diabetes will have all the complications humans do and will require many trips to the vet. And Diabetes can then cause even further health issues, including cataracts, urinary tract problems, coma, amputated limbs and death.

Heart Disease & Hypertension

Being overweight puts a strain on the heart muscle, which has to work extra hard to keep the blood pumping. This causes hypertension – increased blood pressure – which can then lead to congestive heart failure and kidney failure.


All that extra weight puts your dog’s joints at even more risk for issues, including osteoarthritis. Couple that with the many breeds that are already predisposed for dysplasia and arthritis, and your poor dog doesn’t stand a chance. Many dogs end up being euthanized because they can no longer stand due to osteoarthritis complications.


It is believed that fat dogs are more likely to get many types of cancers. They are also more likely to develop lipomas – benign fatty tumors – that sometimes have to be removed for the comfort of your dog. Lipoma removal and/or cancer treatment can cost you thousands and of course, cancer most certainly means an early death.

Urinary Bladders Stones

There are many types of bladder stones that can be found in dogs. Some are more likely to occur in male or female dogs, or in certain breeds. However, all are more likely to occur if the dog is also overweight. Treatment can be lengthy and expensive. Bladder stones can cause a complete blockage of the bladder, which is a life threatening condition.

Fatty Liver Disease

Fat dogs often have fat livers – i.e. excessive fat in the liver cells, abnormal bile flow and deficient hepatic function. The good news is if your dog loses weight, the liver can resolve this issue on its own, most times. However, if your dog stays overweight, it can cause high amounts of fat to enter the bloodstream and can lead to liver failure

Other health issues that overweight dogs are more likely to have include: skin and coat issues, urinary bladder stones, higher heat stroke risk, increased risk during surgical procedures (including being more sensitive to anesthesia), and difficulty breathing.

Help Your Dog LIVE LONGER by SLIMMING down

The good news is that your dog CAN LOOSE WEIGHT AND THERFORE DECREASE THEIR RISK FOR ALL OF THE ABOVE HEALTH ISSUES! It just requires a bit of self-restraint on the part of their owner – YOU.

The best way to do it is to feed a high protein food so you dog feels full while eating less. New research shows that the secret to helping your dog lose weight is a high protein diet. Diets higher in protein than in carbs affect the microbial species in the gut and help dogs lose weight faster. Stay Loyal has 32% minimum protein content and a lower ratio of carbs to help your dog stay in his perfect body condition (which means being able to see or feel one or two ribs easily!). So once you switch your dog over to Stay Loyal, you can feed a whole lot less to not only loose the weight, but keep it off.

When a Person Who Sells Dog Food Says to Feed Your Dog Less… You Should Probably Listen!

Here is how to do it, if your dog is 25kg but should be 20kg, start by feeding him the portion amount for a 15kg dog. Because, remember, he needs to LOSE weight at this point. Small dogs are often overweight because it’s so easy to overfeed them. You have to remember that while it may not look like a lot of food, your tiny Chihuahua has a TINY stomach. Much smaller than yours! So, for example, if your 7kg little dog should really be 5kg, he needs to start out at just 40g of Stay Loyal a day to get trim again. It doesn’t sound like much food, however I assure you its more than enough for such a small dog.


This is where your self-control really needs to be at top form. While your dog is losing weight, you need to avoid the treats. They have a lot of empty calories, salt and even sugar. (Think of them as the potato chip of the dog world). Once your dog is trim again, treats should still only be less than 10% of their diet. If you are using reward-based training, use your dog’s daily portion of kibble as their reward. If treats are necessary for class, for example, reduce the amount of kibble they get that day to balance it out and to keep your dog from gaining that life-threatening weight.

Most people who decrease their dog’s weight can’t believe how much more energy their dog has and many mention how it’s like their dog is young again, so it’s worth doing.

Plus… you will reduce the chance of your dog having to go through one (or more!!) of these terrible health issues that could shorten their life with you. Instead, you will have a happy, healthy dog, with a full life ahead of him. And that’s what we all want for your dog. Check your dog’s condition now. Click here ->