Teaching the family dog to retrieve or go get objects for you can be one of the most helpful commands your dog learns. For instance, during an emergency, your dog can be asked to go get the first aid kit to enable you to be able to stay with the injured person.
Another area of survival that this skill can come into play during is in the event that you are trapped; your dog can bring you water or supplies plus bring rescuers to you.
Not to mention if you teach your dog the name for your keys, they can learn to find your keys when you can’t or sunglasses or whatever you lose often.
Teaching your dog the name of each item will be covered in the next lesson and added to your dog’s training while you teach your dog to retrieve or fetch.
Each disaster dog task your dog learns can be added onto other skills taught here for a well rounded education and all purpose Family Disaster Dog.
After your dog learns to retrieve or to go-get their toy or ball then you can ask your dog to find to find an object by name and bring it to you.
As with all lessons, start out slowly and build upon your dog’s success when learning to fetch a toy or ball with encouragement and praise.
This lesson is a great way to exercise your dog indoors and out. Many dogs have a favorite toy you can use to begin this lesson while other dogs could care less about a toy. It’s up to you to make this fun.
Teaching retrieve, go-get and fetch to your family dog is accomplished by teaching one stage or step at a time.
1. First get your dog’s interest in the toy
2. Chase or find the toy
3. Pick up the toy
4. Recall or come back with the toy
5. Drop or release the toy to you
If your dog is a Family Disaster Dog learning to do search work then you can hide the toy instead of teaching your dog to chase the toy or you can throw the toy during play and tell your dog to “get-it” or “fetch” .
Most dogs will be so into the game they will chase the toy but at first, they often stop and look back at us wondering why we didn’t chase the toy too? Or why did we stop playing instead of going with them.
This is when you encourage them to “get-it” or “fetch” again. At first you may have to run with your dog to the toy, get them to pick it up by playing with the toy and when they have the toy in their mouth both of you run back to where you started or threw the toy from.
After a few times, gradually reduce the distance you chase the toy with your dog to give your dog a chance to get to the toy first and at that moment, you will call your dog back to you toy. They may drop the toy in their excitement to return and if they do, encourage them to go back and get the toy before you praise them for coming back.
Only praise if they have the toy, otherwise send them back for the toy or go back with them to show them again.
The distance can be increased as your dog learns to return to you. Use encouraging words and commands like “fetch”, “over there”,” come”, “wait” whenever you can to direct your dog.
As your dog learns these words they learn how to follow your directions. Give your dog time to think about and understand what you’re asking and to carry the action out.
Step 4 has been completed when your dog is returning to you with the toy.
Give praise; ask your dog to sit and release the toy to you, or to “drop it”.
Your dog is now playing fetch and retrieving for you.