Wiggles and Wags, Tempe
My dog, a retriever mix, will not fetch. Is this something I just have to accept?
Most dogs, even retrievers, must be taught how to fetch. Start by choosing a ball or favorite toy, and getting him to focus on you. The item should hold high value, never be left on the floor, and is reserved only for a special game between the two of you. Focus your eyes on the ball and play with it yourself. Shuffle it back and forth between your hands, enticing him to want it. Once you have his interest, let it roll a short distance. If he touches it, cheer and give him lots of encouragement. Once he is consistently picking up the ball, roll it a short distance, turn and run slowly away from him. This will make him chase you carrying the ball in his mouth. Once he chases you down with the ball ….throw a huge party! Do not immediately remove the ball from his mouth (dogs lose interest if every time they bring it back the game ends.) Instead, allow him to hold the ball in his mouth while you slightly tug on it, release it, and pet him, pet him, pet him! End on a successful happy note before he gets bored of the game. Put it away and play again later. Soon you’ll be retrieving with the best of them!
Tammy Wilson-Teeter is co-owner of Wiggles and Wags Pet Resort in Tempe. Tammy has 20 years training experience. She specializes in the rehabilitation of rescued and adopted dogs and is currently head trainer and first responder for Lost Our Home Pet Foundation. She is the proud companion to five beautiful and very active dogs.