Many people who own Golden Retrievers believe that fetching and retrieving are often assumed to be part of the package with these family-friendly, happy-go-lucky dogs. Although Goldens are inherently bred to retrieve, that doesn’t mean they will automatically know what to do without some consistent, positive training.
The Golden Retriever is a people-pleaser, and with the right attitude and lots of patience, you can quickly teach your pup to fetch. Devoted and loyal, your Golden will be more than happy to accompany you on any adventure that involves running and playing. Be prepared for a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of false starts --- your dog may do more chasing than fetching at first. Stay patient and upbeat, and your Golden will be fetching for you soon.
Aside from honing your Golden Retriever’s inherent talents, teaching your dog to fetch has other beneficial rewards. Goldens require large amounts of exercise, and because they are an intelligent breed, they often need engagement and stimulation so they don’t become bored and destructive. Fetching is an activity that will keep your Golden on her toes and in good shape.
This training process and its result will also strengthen the bond between you and your dog. With the Golden Retriever’s energy, exuberance, and retrieving instincts, fetching will develop naturally as long as you guide her properly with positivity and consistency.
Have a tennis ball or favorite toy on hand for your dog to learn to fetch. If you clicker train, this is an excellent type of training in which to use it. Be sure to have some treats in your pocket with which to reward your dog when she does what you ask of her. When starting this training process, try to choose a location with minimal distractions so that your Golden’s focus is entirely on you and your commands.
Stay upbeat and positive at all times. If you become frustrated or discouraged, take a break for awhile then try again later on in the day. Training sessions may initially start out short but will gradually increase as your Golden learns to fetch and learns much fun she can have while doing so. Be patient, and your Golden will be bringing back that tennis ball to you like a pro.
Hi! My dog used to love fetching balls. All of a sudden he stopped doing it and I don’t know why. What do you recomendo for me to attract her interest again?
Hello! You might want to try to refresh the game with him. Or re-train it. Sometimes dogs just lose the know how when it comes to commands or other behavioral items. Taking a few days to teach it to him again may be all he needs. How to Teach Your Dog to 'Fetch' Step 1: Introduce the Fetch Toy Once you’ve picked out a good toy, introduce it to your dog so they start to get excited about fetch. Place the toy near you. As your dog gets close to it, click, praise, and give a treat. If they touch their nose to the toy, click, praise heavily, and give treats. Continue this process until your dog reeeally likes the toy. Caution: See why you should avoid throwing sticks for your dog. Step 2: Move the Fetch Toy Around Now that your dog is starting to figure out that touching the fetch toy means treats, start moving it around so they have to move to get to it. Don’t throw the toy yet, or even move it very far. Simply hold the toy in slightly different positions — at arm’s length — and encourage your dog to touch it. Each time they touch the toy, click, treat, and praise. Continue this little dance until you’re sure the behavior has stuck. Dog Catching FrisbeeStep 3: Get Your Dog to Grab the Fetch Toy Now it’s time to start rewarding your dog when they actually grab the toy with their mouth. This can take a little patience on your part. The key is to watch your dog’s behavior and reward when it starts to look like the behavior you want. Place the toy on the ground at about arm's length. If your dog moves from touching their nose to the toy and begins using their mouth, it's time to click, praise, and treat. Each time they get a little closer to biting the toy, continue to reward. If and when they pick up the toy with their mouth, act like it’s the best thing you’ve ever seen (and don’t forget to click and give treats). Remember that your dog will be looking to you for reassurance that they’re on the right track Step 4: Play Little Games of Indoor Fetch At this point, your dog should know that placing the toy in their mouth means they get a treat. The next phase is perhaps the trickiest, but you only need to follow the same method of rewarding small steps toward success. Toss the toy a few feet away from you. When they pick it up, click, treat, and praise. Continue this until they understand what they’re supposed to do. Then toss the toy and encourage your dog to bring it back to you. When they do, click, treat, and praise. Step 5: Throw the Fetch Toy Farther Once your dog has realized that they get treats when they get their toy and bring it back, start "upping the ante" by throwing the toy farther. It might help to find a hallway (which will reduce distractions) and toss the fetch toy farther and farther away. With each successful fetch, offer treats and praise, then toss the toy a little farther. Repeat as many times as necessary for your dog to understand what this fetch game is all about. Step 6: Add Some Words This part is optional. If you would like to add a marker word like “fetch,” now is the time to do so (when your dog is successfully fetching their toy). Say the word before throwing the toy, then lay it on heavy with treats and praise when they successfully fetch for you and say something like “good fetch.” Of course, it’s not necessary to say “fetch” or another similar word. By this point, your dog has probably learned to enjoy the game itself — with or without a verbal cue.
Was this experience helpful?