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Go Fetch!

There is nothing quite like the feeling of satisfaction when your devoted and faithful friend goes bounding after a ball you have thrown and returns it dutifully to your feet, this is the ideal case scenario of course. Or is your dog the type that carries out the bounding after the ball part and then keeps on bounding and waves a paw at the ball as they pass it by?
As most things your dog is not born with the ability to actually fetch it has to be taught and to be honest most dogs do pick it up quickly.

To begin you require a ball and some small treats for your dog. Ensure your pooch is standing or sitting next to you and simply play with the ball making it as much fun as possible, now throw the ball a couple of feet away that is all and say ‘fetch’ do not use your dog’s name to begin with just concentrate on the ‘fetch’ command to start with.
Now your dog will do one of two things next, show an interest in the ball but not be too certain what he/she should actually do next or lay down on the spot and show absolutely no interest in the ball.

Encourage your dog to walk towards the ball, go with him/her praising all the way. When you reach the ball try and entice your dog to touch it with their nose and when they do remember to praise and treat. This needs to be repeated several times, obviously if your canine chum picks the ball up or moves it with his/her nose then you need to praise them even more. Do not expect miracles from the beginning and only throw the ball a short distance because if your dog cannot even see it he/she is highly unlikely to chase it let alone fetch it.

The next part is to encourage your dog to pick the ball up, you can usually achieve this action by simply pushing the ball towards your dog’s nose and in the end you will find your dog begins to grab for the ball. When the ball goes in the dog’s mouth you must reward instantly, even if this is done accidently and your dog has no real idea how the ball ended up there, praise anyway.

Now you need to work on the bringing it back to you part. Throw the ball approximately a foot away from you and ask your dog to ‘fetch’ now the chances are that he/she will not do it as they will not be sure what you are asking them to do. The easiest way to teach your dog the next part is to walk them through it, so as said, throw the ball and then encourage your dog to follow you as you make your way to the ball to collect it.

When you reach the ball pick it up and walk back to your original location and place the ball on the ground. Repeat this ensuring that your dog is with you every step of the way. The idea is that because your dog is accompanying you they should learn through observation.

A game of ‘fetch’ with a ball is a simple form of exercise and is highly enjoyable for both dog and owner, it is well worth teaching your dog the ‘fetch’ command. You will feel as proud as punch in the park when your dog lovingly returns the ball to you for another throw!

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