How do you teach a dog to fetch?

Anyone have a sure-fire way?

My dog will retrieve the ball, but he seems to think that after he’s got it, it turns into a game of keep away.

Please, no smart-ass comments like, “Put a pork chop in your pocket.” :smiley:

I don’t know the answer to your question, but when I first saw the topic I thought it said “How do you teach a dog to felch.”

I’m not a dog trainer, and I’ve only raised one dog from puppyhood, but with my border collie/lab mix I did it this way:

First, don’t chase him if you want your ball back. He will think it is a game, and it is fun for him to stay away with the prize. Stand your ground and hopefully he will come back to you.

Second, when he drops the ball or otherwise gives it up, praise him generously. He will get the hint on what you want him to do. Patience is what it took for me.

The easy answer is: don’t chase him. Make him give you the ball with a “drop it” command. If he doesn’t drop it, lose intrest. Don’t throw anything until he drops the first. You can use treats with the “drop” command.

If you want him to drop it with no command, use two balls (or a whole slew of balls). When he brings one back, throw the other, generally they will drop the first to go after the second. Then slowly show him the second until he drops the first, then throw the second. Eventually he’ll drop the first, and you can throw it. (wow is that convoluted!)

Never try to take a ball out of his mouth. It’s a sign of agression to take something out of a dogs mouth.

Yeah a lot of times when I’m playing with a dog, I do that. It’s a lot harder to teach them than it would seem. My cousin’s dog will bring a ball over to you and press it against you, as if he wants to play. You go to take it from him, and he growls. <Sigh>

You put him on a leash. When you throw that ball & he catches it, call him, if he doesn’t come, pull him back with your leash. When he comes back to you, have another ball ready, then he has to open his mouth to get the next ball & when he does that, he drops the other ball into your hand.

Oh change that to have a little treat in your hand, not a ball, so when he comes back give him the treat & he has to drop the ball in your hand to eat it, the treat not your hand. Pretty spiffy eh?

I trained my Labrador to retrieve. Before trianing her to retrieve I taught her basic commands. When your dog responds to “come” your ready. Most dogs will chase anything. Say “fetch” everytime you throw the stick. When your dog picks up the stick call her. Eventually she will come back to you without the command, and when you say fetch she will know to go and rip off bikini tops of hot babes!

Some dogs are natural retrievers, others (like my Elkhound) are not. He’ll fetch once or twice and then look at me like I’m an idiot because I keep throwing the damn thing. Deimos, what kind of dog do you have?

If you’re serious about this because you want to do competitve obedience or whatever and want 100% reliability on the retrieve, check out “Beyond Basic Dog Training” by Diane Bauman - there’s a good explanation of how to do a forced retrieve. OTOH, if you’re just doing it for fun, I wouldn’t sweat it if the dog’s not interested. You also might want to check out - I bet there’s some good info there.

CLedet, no offense meant, but Labrador Retrievers (as well as Golden Retrievers and Chessies) have been bred for generations to have a natural instinct to retrieve, so it doesn’t take much at all to get them to do it. As a matter of fact, people I know who have labs or goldens have to train them not to retrieve slippers from the closet, underwear from the hamper, etc. A friend of mine used to breed Goldens for hunting and field trials, and the puppies would naturally retrieve things at the age of 5 weeks.

Porcupine: I’ve got an 11 month old rott/g. sheperd mutt. He’s from the shelter, so God knows what else is mixed in there.

I’m not going for competitions here, i just want to play catch with my dog. Like CLadet said, he’ll chase and retrieve almost anything, and he’ll bring it back to me, the problem comes when i try to get him to drop the tennis ball or frisbee.

thanks for the replies, everyone. i’ll check out that book, Porcupine.

I taught my dog to drop the ball by taking it out of her mouth, putting it on the ground and saying drop. She never seemed to view it as aggressive. It worked so well my problem now is getting her to not give me the ball. Playing with her is fun but 2 hours of fetch is tedious.
I wouldn’t take anything out of the mouth of a dog that didn’t know or trust me, though.

Yeah, me too. Spot is a Dalmatian/pointer mix, and if I throw it more than a couple of times, he looks at me like “what the hell do you think I am, a retriever?”

After trying, off and on, for several years to get my terrier mix to fetch anything, I gave up. Evidently, terriers are more bred for the “chase the object, catch it, and tear it into pieces” type of dog fun.

I’d have to say if you can’t take a ball (or anything else for that matter) out of your dog’s mouth without him growling (assuming it’s an aggresive growl and not a play growl - there’s a big difference - if you don’t know the difference you need to learn it), then you have some dominance problems. What if you’re out walking the dog and he picks up something he shouldn’t? My dog knows I’m the alpha bitch (as if there could be any doubt) and I can take anything from him at any time. If he’ll drop anything and everything on command that’s great, and obviously there’s no problem.

Of course, if you’re talking about a strange dog, that’s a whole 'nother thing. But if you can’t take something out of your own dog’s mouth, there’s a problem.

This thread made me think of my cat…I didn’t have to teacher HER to fetch, she just did. She’s show up at your feet with a pen or pencil in her mouth, drop it, and wait (patiently) for you to throw it. She’d chase after it (as many cats would) but would then pick it up, bring it back to your feet, and wait…

my dogs, however…one never learned to fetch (and he was a retriver…hip displaysia made him not-so-much the running type) and the other…we’re still working on him… :slight_smile: