Fetching may seem to be a dog's natural instinct, but not always. There are many pups who don't like to grab whatever objects were thrown at them.
My Pomeranian, Neo, used to stay put no matter whether I ask him to catch a piece of cookie or his favorite toy. I couldn't really blame him. I mean, I don’t like having something heavy in my mouth either, so why bother him!
But then, my vet made it crystal clear to me. Catching or fetching both are the parts of a dog's playful side. So, if I don't teach him how to catch or fetch, probably he won't be able to explore. And, who knows, he may find the felicity in catching his favorite chew, of course, until I'm throwing something heavy at him.
After listening from my vet, I tried a number of tricks to finally see how my dog catches something. And guess what? I finally found the 6 best possible ways of doing it while training my Neo. Trust me; it worked like a spell. Now, my Neo loves fetching so much that he would probably do it the whole day if I let him.
However, since you are here, I assume you also want to know how to teach a dog to catch something. Well, I'm going to share all the 6 methods that I think can do magic! Have a look.
My Dog Can't Catch Anything- How Do I Teach Him?
Teaching your dog to fetch is not so easy. It requires proper techniques and efforts. If you think like- "Dogs love to play, so whatever I throw, my pup will catch it." Hold on.
On the contrary to your expectation, your dog will only stare at you and think, why would you throw such a good toy! Yes, he may run after the toy to grab it, but no catch, no bringing it back. So, how to teach a dog to catch?
Step 1: Chasing Is a Good Start!
If your dog is of the 'sit and stare' type, then you must start with making him learn to chase the object that you want him to fetch. Basically, what you need to do is, take the favorite toy of your pup and throw it.
If he sits stagnant, make him go after the toy and ask to bring it back. When he does, treat him with his favorite cookie or another toy, whatever you think can be a motivator to him. Keep doing the same until your pup makes a habit of chasing once you throw anything at him.
Step 2: Add A Bit of Extra Motivation
You know your pup very well. So you clearly understand what can motivate him to come into action. Maybe a piece of his favorite cookie or his favorite toy can do the job that you were struggling to do for months.
You can throw the toy and hold him back so that his natural instincts make him get the toy at that time only. When you'll do the same, he will tug against you naturally. Plus, you must use verbal encouragement to make him run.
You can use balls also because generally, dogs catching balls is quite a normal scenario. Repeat it for a few days and throw the object high so that your dog jumps to catch it.
Step 3: Next Comes Retrieving
Once your dog learns how to catch, make him retrieve the object. To do so, first throw the first toy, if he catches it but doesn't bring it back, then throw the second toy. The second toy will give him a hint of running back to you. Also, you have to constantly ask him to bring it back. Once he masters the fetching, ask him to drop the toy and then throw the second toy and make him do the same.
Step 4: Avoid Keeping Your Dog Away
Yes, while teaching your dog to fetch, this is a major thing that you must keep in mind. You can use a rope to tie the throwing object and pull the rope so that your pup comes close to you.
Praise him or show him some affection then. You can also try another trick like running with the rope.
This will make your dog run after you, which is a good signal to make him understand what you are teaching him. Once he brings the toy back, or you make him do so by pulling the rope, throw the object again, and repeat the process.
Step 5: What If Your Dog Drops the Toy Mid-way?
Well, while teaching my Neo how to fetch, I noticed a very wired thing. He grabbed the toy, even brought it back but dropped it mid-way before reaching to me.
So, I was pretty confused, like how to make him understand that he has to bring the toy back to me. I tried different options, but then I found the way. Wondering what? Here is the trick.
Whenever my Neo used to drop the toy, I would step back, going far from him while encouraging him constantly with words like "Bring it,” "All the way,” etc. Even sometimes, I used to hold a treat so that he comes back to me only with the toy. Also, praising him was a good way to make him learn fetching.
Step 6: Always Pick Your dog's Favorite
The most important thing is that you must try the whole process with your dog's favorite toy or food only.
Else, he would never run to grab the object. You can use different stuff like balls, chew toys, sticks, frisbees, and whatever you think your pup may like.
Keep trying multiple items until you actually find the one which your pup is going to fetch. Along with that, keep mingling the throwing objects; otherwise, he may lose interest if you keep throwing the same ball each day.