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If you are lucky enough to have a dog that loves to play with toys and enjoys a good game of fetch, why not kick it up a notch?
Playing fetch is a great game to play with your dog. Not only does it teach you dog discipline, it is also a great way to add plenty of fun exercise to his daily routine. Okay, so playing fetch is a pretty normal skill for the average dog to learn. But then again, maybe your dog is not exactly the average dog and needs something a little more challenging.
Did you know that Chaser the Border Collie is capable of identifying 1,022 different items by name? While your dog may or may not be able to reach this level, there is no reason he can't learn to fetch a wide range of items when you call them out by name. Imagine how much fun the two of you are going to have showing off this neat trick.
The trick is to teach your dog to recognize a range of items by their names and then fetch them when you tell him to. Of course, before you can teach him this trick, he must already know how to follow a wide range of basic commands, including ‘sit’, ‘stay’, ‘come’, and of course, ‘fetch’. The basic concept is that your dog will learn to recognize an item when you call out the appropriate name.
One of the great things about teaching your dog this trick is that you can teach him to act as your personal butler. At the same time, this trick is a good way to get your dog to exercise more frequently. For example, you can go out in the backyard and toss different toys or items around the yard and then have him fetch each one when you call out its name.
Getting started training your dog to perform a new trick is never easy, but it will always go better if you and your four-legged friend are properly prepared right from the start. There are a few things you might need to make the task of training your dog to fetch specific items as you call them out, including:
- Numerous objects: You will need them to help train your dog to fetch the right item when you call out its name.
- Treats: To reward your dog when he brings you the right object.
- A quiet place to work: Any type of training is always best done when there aren't any distractions that will interfere with your dog's focus.
- Patience: Any type of training takes a certain amount of patience, this one even more so.
- Time: This trick is going to take a while, so be sure you have time to work with your pup at least once per day, more is better. But keep the training sessions short so your pup doesn't lose interest.
The Wiggle Method
Pick out a single toy to start with and give it a name such as a stuffed tiger named "Tigger."
Wiggle the toy under your dog's nose and say its name. if he looks at the toy or touches it with his nose, be sure to give him a treat and plenty of praise.
Repeat this exercise until your pup does this at least 90 percent of the time.
Move to the floor
Place the toy on the floor and say its name, when your dog touches it, be sure to reward him.
Change things up
Now move the toy around to different places in the room and call out its name each time you put it down. By doing this, your dog will soon learn to recognize the item by its name.
Repeat this process for a few days and then do the same thing with another toy and so forth until he has learned to recognize multiple items and to bring them back to you. Be patient, this can take time, but in the end, will be well worth it.
The Point and Find Method
Choose something fun
Start with a toy your dog likes and recognizes.
Point to the toy and give it a name then tell your dog to find it. If he does so, be sure to reward him and let him know he did a great job.
Add an object
Now add in another toy or object he will recognize and have him fetch it as well.
Change it up
Start alternating between the items and each time he gets it right, be sure to reward him and give him a treat.
Your dog will see this as a great game so keep practicing introducing new items over the course of time.
Your pup can literally hundreds of words, all it takes is time and patience. Just remember to make it fun for both of you and don't forget to show off his progress.
The Familiar Object Method
Start with a toy your dog is familiar with and your dog on a leash in the sitting position.
Toss the toy a few feet away.
Release the leash and tell your dog to fetch the item by name, reward him if he gets it right.
Repeat this process until he gets it right every time, rewarding him each time he does so.
Use a positive voice and practice, practice, practice.
Introduce other objects
Once he has mastered going for a single item by name, add another object and repeat the process.
You can do this with countless numbers of objects including toys, your slippers, the TV remote, and anything else you might want him to fetch. Have fun and be sure to show off his skills as often as possible.
By Amy Caldwell
Published: 11/19/2017, edited: 01/08/2021