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Friday, February 17, 2012

Weekly Wag #8:
Preparing for Fetch Training

by Carrie Boyko, CEB
© B Boyko
Point and Drop!

© C Boyko
Good Drop It, Tanner!
When Tanner joined our family I was ecstatic. I didn't care that he had a knobby occipital lobe or was tall and lanky for a Golden Retriever. If anything, these qualities are why we lucked into him. He was a breeder reject and I knew it. It all worked out for the best for me, since Tanner did not end up at a rescue, and I got my long dreamed of Golden Retriever. I put my dog trainer hat on that very first day and we were on our way.

My goal was to teach Tanner to fetch in our swimming pool and at the dog park. 
We're there! Today I'm going to challenge you to give your Fido an opportunity to learn some of the skills necessary to play a fun game of Fetch. For many dogs Fetch does not come naturally. You'll need to teach each behavior separately and then begin to combine them to create your ultimate goal--Fetch!

Today we'll start at the end of a Fetch game with the command "Drop it". Until you can get your dog to release a toy to you, you'll never successfully play Fetch in a fun way. Fido must happily give up the toy in the knowledge that he will get another opportunity to chase it.
© C Boyko
Tanner Gets Silly Sometimes!

Try this strategy to begin with. Point to the floor or hold out your hand for the toy your dog is carrying, while stating "Drop It!" Don't scold if he doesn't immediately release the toy. Remember, he doesn't yet know the whole English language. Walk away and try again in a few minutes.

Now, try the exchange game. Pick up a favorite toy of your dogs. Holding this behind your back, ask Fido to Drop the toy he is carrying. When he is not willing to give it up, offer the more enticing toy in exchange. Often your dog will drop the toy in his mouth in order to take one he prefers. As he drops the toy he is holding, add a quick "Drop it" and then a "Good boy!" to reinforce the behavior. Training treats don't hurt either!

Weekly Wag ButtonThere you have it, this week's Weekly Wag. Get the exchange game working with your dog. See you next week for another step in the direction of an all out game of Fetch. 

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Anonymous said...

Hey, it's Jet here. Thanks for the tip, I'll recommend it to Mom and ask her to practice with JJ and I!

When I Grow Up I Want to be a Vet said...

Good tips! It is strange to think fetch doesn't come naturally to some dogs! This will make it fun even for those who don't "get it" at first. Yay :)

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