In episode 58, Sean responds to a question from some listeners about how to teach your excited puppy the rules of playing fetch. These exercises are designed to structure a puppy’s fetch game. A quick note that this isn’t designed to teach fetching to a dog that has absolutely no inclination to fetch. Also, you should be a little cautious in teaching an unbridled fetch of a tennis ball or some other toy with a dog you intend to hunt with. (hunting dogs can develop some bad habits with unstructured ball fetching without also working specific rules of hunt fetching)
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In this session:
How can I teach my retriever puppy the rules of fetch?
Is this podcast designed to teach and dog to fetch when they have no inclination to fetch?
Should I play ball fetch with my hunting puppy?
Details In this Session
Stuff you’ll need:
- Long line
- Two identical fetch toys
- A hungry retriever puppy
A few different fetching situations (we’re dealing with situation #3)
- A dog that has no interest – starting the conditioning with picking up a toy etc. A little pain staking
- A dog that’s actually going to hunt – there’s a specific protocol for that but if you’re going to hunt in all likely hood you’ll probably have a hunting kennel you’re working with and they’ll take you through all of that.
- A retriever (could be a border collie, GSD, etc.) A dog that likes to fetch and chase the ball but doesn’t know to bring it back – essentially doesn’t understand that rules of fetch.
There are 2 phases in this exercise:
- The food phase (pup’s on a long line)
- Get your pup excited – tease and lure with the ball
- Associate the “fetch” cue with throwing the ball
- Cue “bring it up” as soon as he picks up the ball and lead him back with the line, and back up away from him
- Once he gets to you, place a treat right on his nose and say “drop it”
- As soon as he drops it, grab the ball as you give the treat.
- The toy trading phase
- Same protocol as above except once he comes back you stick the treat to his nose and begin waving ball number 2 in front of his nose.
- Give him the treat for dropping ball 1 and then excite him with ball 2 and throw it.
- Gradually, begin teasing with ball 2 and see if he’ll drop Ball 1 to fetch ball 2.
- Note: be sure to cover ball 1 with your foot so it’s no longer an option to pick up
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Let me know how your fetching goes with your puppy.
All the Best,
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