Wednesday, June 15, 2011


With an abundance of warm days ahead of us, you probably want to be outside as much as possible enjoying the summer season with your fur-baby in tow! Besides the daily walk and nature hikes, you may be wondering how else you and Fido can make the most of the long days of summer together. This is the perfect time to teach your dog the fun laid-back game of fetch! While some dogs, like herding and sporting dogs, find a session of fetch as natural as breathing, others find the concept as bamboozling as rocket science. Don’t fret; if you want to enjoy the simple pleasure of a game of fetch with your four-legged pal, here are some tips to get you started.

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!

Step 1:
Get your dog interested in the ball itself. Even if your dog only sniffs the ball, reward him or her with praise or a favorite treat. Keep working to get your dog interested in the ball and even better, to pick up the ball! Once your dog understands the importance of the ball and that sniffing or picking up the ball results in treats or praise, you can move onto Step 2!

Step 2:
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.

Step 3:
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!

1 comment:

  1. This a very useful way to get your dog to play fetch. It is a great idea about cutting a spot in the tennis ball to put a treat inside. Once your dog starts to play ball you both we have a lot of fun hanging out together.