As summer shows hints of the cooler season to come, it’s the perfect time to play fetch with your dog! Fetch is great for exercise and for releasing your dog’s pent-up energy. Your dog might be a natural, or he might need some practice to grasp the game. Make fetch a part of your playtime repertoire with these tips from WebMD Pets and the American Kennel Club.
- Start small, with quick indoor games of fetch. When you first take the game outside, choose a time when there aren’t other dogs or people around to minimize distractions.
- Try modifying a tug-of-war game. After a short game of tug, toss the toy a few inches away so that your dog runs to it, then grab the toy and start another game. Throw it farther away each time. Tug on the toy when it’s in your dog’s mouth to encourage him to come back to you. This should eventually evolve into a fetch-like game. (Read more here.)
- Or, try a treat-based approach for dogs reluctant to fetch. First, place the toy on the ground. When your dog looks at it, utilize clicker training and reward your dog with a treat. Continue to reward your dog with each interaction until he associates the two. Next, step up your game! Save rewards for when your dog sniffs the toy, puts his mouth on it, or picks it up. After your dog is reliably picking up the toy, encourage him to bring it back to you and reward him when he does. (Read more here.)
- If your dog will chase a Frisbee, choose one specifically made for dogs so it won’t chip his chompers. Throw it lower to the ground so your dog isn’t jumping high into the air and risking injury.
- End the fetch game while your dog still wants to play and isn’t bored.