What is the best way to teach my dog the game of fetch?

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Teaching a dog the game of fetch can be very rewarding for you, and for the dog. You’ll establish a close bond with your dog, while also teaching him obedience and allowing him to get some great exercise. Teaching a dog to fetch is harder than it may seem, however, because a dog’s initial reaction to picking up an object that we give them is to run away with it. This turns into a game of chase and tag, rather than a game of fetch.

To teach your dog to fetch, first hold the object that you are going to throw a few feet away from the dog. Wave the object around and make sure that your dog’s focus is fully on the object. Then throw the object about five feet in front of you. Your dog should run to the object and put his mouth around it. At this moment, clap your hands and begin to back up slightly. Don’t say your dog’s name, as this might encourage him to run back to you without the object. Clap to get your dog’s attention and then back up slightly so that he begins to come to you.

If your dog does not come the full way back to you, keep clapping to encourage him to come to you and keep backing up slightly so that he’ll want to get closer to you with the object. Never go towards your dog, as this tells him that the act of returning to you isn’t really that important. Be patient and keep working with your dog until he returns to you with whatever object you throw.

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