Wednesday, June 15, 2011
First of all, it's crucial to start slowly. If your dog does not seem to have any interest in tennis balls or rubber bouncy balls, try working with your pooch’s favorite toy and if possible stick to one that is a bit more aerodynamic. If you have your heart set on using a tennis ball, try these tips to entice your pup. Take a knife and slice a small slit on one side of the tennis ball. Stick little treats or bits of kibble inside or even try smearing some peanut butter on the side. It may be messy but your dog won’t mind!
Work on getting your dog to reliably pick up the ball. Motivate him or her by moving the ball around with your hand so your dog must follow your darting movements. Now have your pooch drop it! Offer a treat to get Fido to drop the ball and when he or she does, praise and give your dog the treat. If your dog won’t give up the ball you can always try tempting your dog with another toy.
Throw the ball! Gently toss it a few feet away and say “Fetch!” If your dog doesn’t go after the ball try re-working on Step 2. You can also try leashing your dog, then throw the ball, yell “Fetch,” and unleash your dog. The sudden release of tension can inspire your dog to bound ahead. After your dog grabs the ball, call him or her back to you with the lure of a treat.
It is not unusual for this process to take several weeks, so don’t get frustrated. Eventually, you won't have to use treats to get your canine to play, the game will be a reward itself. Take your time and before you know it, you and your dog will be pros at the game of fetch!