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
To do so, use a soft toy, such as one of the furry animal like toys or a tennis ball. If your dog has a favorite toy then use it.
Sit on the floor with your dog and play with the toy by shaking it, rolling it between your hands, bouncing it and drag the toy along the floor. You may have to snuggle the toy in your dog’s face to pretend like the toy is playing with your dog like dogs do.
You may have to repeat this lesson a few times before your older dog shows any interest or if your dog acts like a Bloodhound whose wrinkles get in the way of seeing the toy. Bloodhounds are not big on retrieving because they can’t see most of the time with the head down, wrinkled fall in the way. Then the nose kicks in.
It takes a few weeks of play to get an older Bloodhound attempting to bring a toy back too, or to play. They often think the right thing to do is to bring us to the toy and not the other way around. Don’t give up if your family dog acts like a Bloodhound.
If your dog shows no interest after many attempts then stop and try again later and a couple of times a day using different toys and don’t give up. It may take your older dog time to realize they do not have to behave all the time like they were taught as pups to do.
As a last resort, after many failed attempts to play you can use a food treat placed in the toy as incentive, and after you read about training with food treats in the training tip section and the toy method lesson.
Once your dog has mastered playing with the toy you both have also mastered step 3 of the stages in teaching them to retrieve an object for you. Now we go back to step 2. Chase or find the toy in order for them to be able to bring it back 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”.
Say a command each time and your dog will learn the word for drop it or release, which can be a very import word for your dog to learn if they ever get a hold of something they are not suppose to have.
Your dog is now playing fetch and retrieving for you.
If your dog is slow to learn this lesson, don’t get discouraged. Remember each dog is an individual and learns at their own pace, and as a young puppy they were taught not to pick up most items found in our lives.
Once your dog has learn the above steps then add a name to each object you want them to fetch. Practice using the name of the object with fetch on a regular bases and your dog will learn to get that item when you say the name with "fetch" or "get"
Have fun !