Fetch ’em up

Henry works on blind retrievesSome dogs have a natural retrieve instinct. Some don’t. Most hunting breeds fall in the natural instinct category. We start fetch training early and on a lead. And we practice. All year long. Even with our trained dogs, we keep sessions short (less than 10 tosses per session per dog).

As with any dog training, it’s key to set your dog up for success. Don’t expect your dog or pup to pull off flawless retrieves at a dog park, there’s likely too many distractions. Start training in a smaller, contained area. Don’t start by throwing the dummy as far as you can, just toss it out a ways. Then gradually build up to longer retrieves and situations with more distractions.

You also need to communicate to your dog what you want it to do. So that means you need to decide what you want your dog to do. Retrieve to hand? Drop the bird at your feet? Once you decide on this, be consistent.

There’s all sorts of ways to train your dog to fetch, from clicker training to force fetch. You’ve got to take you and your dog in consideration when deciding what method to use. Do your homework. Check out books from the library, take your dog to training classes, watch youtube videos (but be discerning about the source) and you’ll find a method that works for you and your dog.


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