Many dogs enjoy a good game of chase. Humans, however, usually do not. If your dog is attempting to turn a game of fetch into a game of chase, avoid engaging with them.
This is a great time to use the training lead. Attach it to them before throwing the toy. When your pup gets that look in their eye (we all know it well), call them to you and reel them in like a fish! Once they get to you, reward them with praise or even a treat. This process helps you follow through with the come command while still having the opportunity to reward them. Eventually, they will earn it is a pretty good deal for them to bring the toy back.
Adding some variation to fetch may also prevent the intrigue of the chase. Try playing tug with them when they bring the toy back. Keeping them engaged with you is the key.
If your dog is getting distracted, don’t get discouraged! Teaching a dog to fetch can be a slow process, but also a very rewarding one!
Keep your sessions short. Puppies may only want to play for five minutes at a time. Your dog will learn, but there is nothing wrong with taking it nice and slow for them. If you find after ten minutes, they are more interested in sniffing around the yard, only play for eight minutes. You can increase playtime as they get older and more focused on the game!
Try throwing their toy closer to you. Sometimes the attention span of dogs, and especially puppies, is very short. If the ball is too far away, they forget what they were doing altogether.
If you find the treats are not enough to keep your pup engaged, you can also bring out another toy. It is especially helpful if the toys squeak or make other noises. When your dog gets to the other toy, start using the one you have with you to make them come back.
There are some days when your dog just may not be into playing fetch, and that is okay! If you try all these solutions and it’s just not happening, don’t force it. End the game and try again another day. Your dog is not in trouble, and this is not a punishment. It is just time for you both to move on from that particular session.
There is so much to be gained in teaching your dog fetch. You can build value in toys. It will help you bond with your dog. It will tire them out very effectively. It even benefits us to spend time outside moving around. Fetch is very valuable and fairly simple to teach. Just follow these guidelines and you can teach a dog to fetch in no time.