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Teaching Fido To Fetch

October 15, 2023

October 20th is a pretty important day for our canine companions: it’s National Fetch Day! Fetch is undoubtedly one of Fido’s favorite workouts. It’s also a great way for your four-legged friend to spend time with you. While some pups pick the game up quickly, others must be taught how to play. A vet offers some advice on teaching your pooch to fetch in this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas.

Choosing The Toy

You’ll want to start by picking out a good toy to use. Some pups enjoy sticks or tennis balls, but there are some concerns here. Sticks can be a bit rough on Fido’s mouth, and can lead to oral injuries. Tennis balls are fine for some dogs, but can be choking hazards for larger breeds. Pick something that is the right size for your pooch. Once you’ve picked the toy, introduce it to your furry friend. When he goes for it, praise him and offer a treat. Keep doing this over and over.

Reinforcing Behavior

The next stage entails getting Fido really, really excited about his new toy. Wave it around, or hold it in different spots so he has to move for it. Whenever he gets it, reward him with praise and treats. Keep this up until your four-legged friend seems to understand that playing with the toy will nab him a reward. At this point, you’ll want to incorporate teaching him the command to Hold. Start by lengthening the time between the moment your dog grabs the toy and when he gets the reward.

The Fetch Part

It may take time for your dog to learn to retrieve a toy and bring it to you. There are a few  different ways to do this. Do some research, and see what works for you. You can try offering a second toy, and throwing them alternately. This can help your cute pet get the idea that you’ll toss it for him again once he brings it back. You can also call your furry companion back to you. You may also incorporate a rope or tie line to help encourage your canine pal to come back to you. Just be sure to stick with positive reinforcement. Always reward Fido for bringing the toy back to you. 

Here at Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, we’re dedicated to providing top-notch veterinary care. Call us anytime!