HomeTrainingHow to Teach a Dog to Fetch

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch

Imagine if one day you panicked because you dropped your wallet somewhere, and your dog immediately ran over and fetched that wallet. Wouldn’t that be very lucky? To do that, they must have fetching skills. However, not all dogs have innate talent. They will run to fetch things but don’t know how to bring them back to their owners, while dogs look back at you with puzzled expressions: “Why does my owner keep throwing things around?” 

Some dogs have a hyperactive nature, love to play foraging, or instinctively like to chase things they find interesting, others are indifferent to these activities. Fetching is not natural, but acquiring that skill has to go through a process of training. So how do you teach dogs to fetch effectively? The following article will provide you with the necessary information to assist you in the process of training them.

Why should you teach dogs to fetch?

Teaching your dog to fetch is one of the simplest ways to train your dog to play around with you. Here are a few reasons why you should do that: 

  • You will entertain pets in your free time.
  • Train fast feet and quick eyes and increase the sensitivity of pets.
  • Close the distance between you and the dog, and increase solidarity.
  • Useful in case of dropped items, the one who brings you is the “boss’’.
  • The dog will be a helpful friend when you need help getting things.
how to train your dog catch ball
Fetching helps increase the bond between the dog and the owner.

Choosing the Right Toy

Each dog has its appropriate toy. Choosing a suitable toy for dogs depends on the dog’s age, size, and ability. Some dogs love tennis balls; others like playing with dry sticks. However, you should avoid letting your dog play with small soft balls (which dogs can swallow) or things that can be chewed (such as leather). Popular fetch toys available to them include:

  • A tennis ball or Rugby
  • Retriever plastic or rubber bumper
  • Flying Saucer (made of flexible and soft plastic)
  • Plush fetch toy
  • String toys

What If My Dog Isn’t Interested?

It will be helpful if you start with the basics for dogs who don’t understand the concept of fetch. If your pets love to play tug-of-war, teach the puppy to get the toy so you can play tug-of-war with him. Start by playing a short game of tug of war with a soft toy your puppies love to pull. Then, take the toy out of the dog’s mouth, tease a bit by swinging the toy back and forth in front of him, and toss the toy a little further away. In addition, If your pet doesn’t like putting toys in his mouth, try using a cloth toy or a tennis ball that smells like food or stuffing a treat into an old sock. That will entice the dog to taste the toy, and you can reward him with a treat. Your puppies will soon realize that putting a toy in their mouth will keep you satisfied, and you can then start teaching them how to fetch a toy.

How to Train a Dog to Fetch

teaching my dog fetch
Teach your dog to pick up things and return them to help your dog know how to drop something for you

In fact, dog training is never easy. Fetching is a training exercise that includes many different maneuvers and requires the dog’s receptivity. Therefore, this is quite a strenuous exercise, and you must be patient with your pet for several weeks. So, follow these steps to train ‘hairy friends’ more effectively.

Step 1: Start in an Enclosed, Small Space

In the beginning, you shouldn’t throw it too far; 1-2 meters is an ideal distance. You can do this training in the bedroom or hallway, where the dog can only focus on you and the toy. so it will be easier for them to cooperate with you

Step 2: Teach Your Dog to Chase the Ball

This step is simple: throw the ball or the object and encourage your dog to run after and fetch them. Maybe your pups haven’t known what the ball is. It would be best if you got the dogs interested in the ball or another toy by introducing it and playing with them. 

Step 3: Get Your Pup to Return the Ball

Once the puppy is more interested and interactive with the ball, now let’s train them to bring the toy back to you by performing the following commands:

  • Throw: Throw the ball a short distance.
  • Call your dog back: call them back to you positively, excitedly. The word can be either “coming” or “bring along.”
  • Rewards: reward them for their outstanding effort, and of course, compliment them with lots of happy expressions, belly rubs, or feedings when they return to the ball.
  • Repeat: Repeat this process to give the dog time to get used to this command, and they will understand that there is a reward for them involved in bringing back the ball. You can move on to the next step after your dog has reliably brought the ball toward you.

Step 4: Teach Your Dog the “Drop It” Command

Which takes some patience and practice. You can teach them to “Drop it” into your hand. When the puppy releases a toy, catch it. Praise your dog and reward them. Do this repeatedly for several days. Then, check on them by saying, “Drop it here,” and put your hand out, facing up in front of their mouth. 

Step 5: Throw the Ball Again

You should know that the joy of dog training is seeing it as a game. It doesn’t just end with a throw and bounce – the fun for your dog is the game repeatedly. Spend at least 10 minutes a day practicing this with them as well as playing with them.

More Tips for Playing Fetch

training my dog fetch
Training the puppy to fetch with a ball in hand

Use the power of language

Combine language and actions during training consistently so your dog can understand

what to do with your commands.

Beat boredom

Create new challenges like making it difficult by trying to throw a toy uphill or keeping a leash, so the dog has to wait to be fetched. Your dog will feel a little more frustrated when you hold him, encouraging him to be even more eager to find the toy when you let him go.

Rewards are great

There are many great ways to reinforce behavior, such as rewarding treats, petting, or hugging when you want to encourage your dog. Reward them for chasing a toy and bringing it back to you. Please spend some time playing and cuddling with them to show them that you enjoy playing fetch too

Run with your dog

If your dog chases the toy quickly but returns to you slowly, call them and run away from your dog when he picks up the ball. Dogs love to track, and he probably won’t be able to resist running after you. Praise your dog when he catches up with you. If you consistently do this for several weeks, your dog will return faster, even when you’re not running.

Get the toy back

If your pup brings back a toy but won’t let you take it, say, “Put it down,” then place a delicious treat right in front of your dog’s nose. Very few dogs can resist that, so he will probably drop the ball. When your dog releases the toy, praise them and reward them. After a few repetitions, your dog will learn to remove the toy when you ask it to

Train with a ball in hand

If you want your dog to put the ball in your hand rather than drop it on the ground, you can teach them to “Put it here” into your hand. Before your dog has a chance to release the ball, place your hand underneath its jaw and say, “Release here.” When your baby releases that, catch it. Praise your dog and throw the ball right away to reward them.

Leave them wanting more,

Keep your play sessions short and end the game while the puppy still wants to play. If your dog gives up first, it may have grown bored of the game. Instead, let your pup like to play more.

Things to Avoid

  • Don’t scold: Be prepared to be patient when you start teaching your dog; remember to pat and pet the dog if the dog catches well instead of scolding when they make a mistake. Puppies are susceptible and enjoy being praised by their owners. If the puppy doesn’t cooperate with you and makes you feel frustrated, you can stop and try again tomorrow.
training your dog catch anything
Don’t scold them when they refuse to do it
  • Don’t push: Be aware of your dog’s physical limitations. Each breed has different characteristics, and not all dogs tend to fetch.
  • Don’t practice in unsafe spaces: choose a suitable area so that you and your dog can play comfortably. Avoid places with many cars or rocky terrain that easily injure your dog.


We hope you enjoyed this article. Please feel free to share it with your dog-loving friends.


  • Can I teach a senior dog to fetch?

The exact answer is yes. In fact, the senior dogs can learn many things, including how to fetch. Of course, their health and curiosity will not equal those of hyperactive puppies. You can teach them to fetch with tricks like throwing the ball a shorter distance and using toys that give off cues they can easily find.

  • What are the best toys to teach a dog to fetch?

You should consider the best toys for your puppy. That to fetch is what your pet wants most, such as a ball, their favorite toy, or maybe something a little more extravagant. Dog trainers recommend using an object large enough to find easily but not so large that it becomes problematic for puppies to bring back. In addition, durability is also a factor that needs to be considered.

  • My dog doesn’t fetch. What do I do?

It could also be that the item you’re using doesn’t inspire them to chase after it. Try taking an absolute favorite toy and see if that does the trick. These toys are most likely to trigger your dog’s toy drive.

Camp Canine Florida
Camp Canine Florida
We are special people who love pets, especially dogs. Over the past 3 years, we have accumulated a lot of experience in how to care for and train dogs. Now, what we're doing is building an in-depth blog to share knowledge that will help you get to know your dogs better, making you and your dog best friends.

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