Teach Your Dog to Play Retrieving Games

Fetch games provide hours of fun for both you and your dog.

By | Posted: Mon Nov 4 00:00:00 PST 2002

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I also have taught her to pick up all the dog toys, shoes and slippers left in the living room, the TV Guide and other magazines dropped on the floor.


I  I taught her using basically the technique described in last month's column and the one for retrieving the newspaper. The only difference was teaching her to pick up objects of differing sizes, weights and textures. Once she learned the first two or three objects, I could see she understood what I was teaching her. She became excited, bounced up and down and waited for the next command.

If your dog likes to chew  especially on shoes do not teach it to retrieve those items. The dog may think it has free access to those objects, and you may eventually discover an assortment of chewed shoes.

I have joked that tennis balls really were not made for tennis; they were dog toys that people started hitting over a net. I don't know whether it is the size of the ball or the furry covering, but dogs love them.

If you taught the Retrieve using a tennis ball, you will have very little training to do. Keep the throws relatively short to start so your dog can get the ball easily and receive a lot of praise each time. Short throws will also allow muscles to tone and harden before you make the dog run farther for the ball.

A good variation is to bounce the ball off the side of the house. The dog must watch the ball to see where it is going.

Teaching your dog to catch and bring back a flying disc is good exercise and fun. This is a strenuous physical sport, so tell your veterinarian your plans and take your dog for a checkup before you begin.

I start the disc training like I do all retrieving. I introduce the toy, ask my dog to hold it and, when she does, I start throwing it. The primary difference in retrieving a disc is you want the dog to jump and catch it in the air. Once the dog goes after a thrown disc and brings it back, start teaching it to jump for it.

I started by having Dax stand in front of me, and I held the disc over her head. I told her to get it and waved it around to get her interest. When she made a motion toward the disc, I praised her. When she jumped up and grabbed the disc from my hand, I praised her even more. Over several training sessions, I asked her to jump a little higher to grab it. When she jumped up for it, getting all four feet off the ground, I moved on to the next training step.

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