The Most Effective Techniques For Training Your Dog To Fetch

Most dogs love to fetch. They’re natural hunters, after all. But there are also plenty of dogs out there who would rather lie in a patch of sunlight than chase after a ball for hours on end. 

If your dog doesn’t naturally enjoy fetching, it might be time to try some training techniques that will help increase their interest in playing this classic game with you. Here are some tips that can help:

Train ANY Dog How To Play Fetch PERFECTLY
Key Takeaways
Training a dog to fetch can provide exercise, stimulation, and bonding time for you and your pet.
Starting with basic obedience training, such as “sit,” “stay,” and “come,” can help build a foundation for teaching your dog to fetch.
Introduce the “fetch” command while playing with your dog’s toy, and reward them with praise and treats when they bring it back.
Choose a toy that is easy and safe for your dog to carry, and avoid hard objects that can harm their teeth and mouth.
If your dog isn’t interested in playing fetch, try other types of toys and activities that they enjoy.

Using A Different Object

Once your dog is comfortable with fetching a ball, it’s time to add some variety. You can do this by using a different object, such as a toy that has been previously played with or one of a different type (e.g., rubber duck instead of tennis ball). 

You can also change up the color, size and shape of the toy–but keep in mind that these changes should be gradual so that your dog doesn’t get overwhelmed by too much change all at once.

When it comes to training your new puppy, timing is everything. In our When to Start Training Your Puppy guide, we provide expert tips and tricks on how to start your puppy’s training at the right time. Whether you just brought home a new puppy or are planning to in the future, building a strong training foundation can make a huge difference in your dog’s behavior

Luring With A Different Item

Luring is a great way to get the dog’s attention, but it can also be used as an alternative method of training. Instead of using your hand or a clicker, you can use another item such as a toy or treat. This will help keep your dog interested in what you’re trying to teach him/her because they will be anticipating what’s coming next!

For example: If I wanted my dog to fetch me an object such as an apple from across the yard (which would be very useful), I would start by luring him with his favorite toy until he gets used to retrieving objects from far distances away from me (this will take some time). 

Then once he knows how this works we’ll go back into our training routine where we work on getting him closer until finally–you guessed it–we have mastered fetching!

Treat LureHold a high-value treat, such as a piece of chicken or steak, in front of your dog’s nose and lead them away with it. Gradually move the object of fetch further away from the treat, until your dog is fetching the object without the need for the lure.
Fake ThrowSimulate throwing the object, but keep it in your hand. This often tricks the dog and makes them more eager to retrieve the toy when you actually throw it.
Second ToyDistract your dog with a second toy, and make the first toy more attractive to them. Play with the second toy until your dog is focused on it, and then toss the first toy.
KongStuffing a Kong toy with treats or frozen peanut butter is a great way to keep your dog motivated and engaged in playtime. The durable rubber material also makes it an ideal toy for fetch and other interactive games.
Chuckit!Chuckit! makes a variety of fetch toys, including balls, frisbees, and launchers. The toys are made with high-quality materials and designed for durability and easy cleaning. Their Ultra Ball and Indoor Ball are popular choices for all types of playtime.

Note: The last row is an example of how data-driven tables can include specific product names or details that may be useful or relevant to the topic in question.

Adding Verbal Commands

Once your dog is able to bring back the object, it’s time to add verbal commands. You can use the command “fetch” when you want them to bring back the object, or you can say “drop” when they’ve brought it back and want them to drop the object on command.

You can also use this opportunity as an opportunity for other commands: teach them new tricks like shaking hands with their paw or rolling over in response to “roll over!”

Using A Toy That’s Been Previously Played With

When you use a toy that’s been previously played with, your dog should know it well. The toy should be something the dog loves and is familiar with. 

If you’re using this method to train your dog to fetch a specific object, then make sure to only use toys that are similar in size and shape so they can easily be differentiated from one another.

One of the most important commands for any dog to learn is “stay.” In our The Most Effective Methods for Training Your Dog to Stay guide, we provide a step-by-step process for teaching your dog to stay on command. No matter the breed or age of your dog, incorporating these training techniques will improve your dog’s obedience and behavior.

Teaching Your Dog To Drop Objects At Your Command

You might find that your dog is hesitant to drop an object when you ask them to. They may be holding onto it tightly, or they may not understand what “drop” means. If this happens, there are several things that you can do:

When your dog is holding an object and you say “Drop it,” move their paws away from the object with yours. This will help them realize that you want them to let go of whatever they’re holding so that you can take it away from them.

If moving their paws doesn’t work and they still won’t let go of their prize, gently pry open their jaws with one hand while using your other hand (or both) as leverage against its head or neck until it opens wide enough for you to remove whatever item was being held inside its mouth (a treat works well here). 

Once freed from captivity within another creature’s mouth cavity–like when we humans brush our teeth–many dogs instinctively drop whatever was being held onto at the time due simply because now there are no longer any obstacles between us and getting back those precious chomps!

Get A GripGently but firmly hold onto the object your dog has retrieved until they drop it. Reward with praise and treats when they do.
Trade UpOffer your dog a preferred toy or treat in exchange for the retrieved object. As your dog gets used to this system, gradually increase the value or desirability of the object they are being asked to drop.
Drop ItTeach the command “drop it” or “leave it” with positive reinforcement training techniques. Gradually work up to using the commands during playtime to get your dog to voluntarily drop the retrieved object.
Strategic Treat PlacementUse treats to lure your dog away from the retrieved object. Place a treat on the ground near you so that your dog sees it, and then toss another treat nearby to get them to move further away from the object.
ZogoflexZogoflex makes durable dog toys that are designed to be chew-resistant and easy to clean. Their Tug Toy and Hurley Bone are popular options for fetch and playtime, and their Zogoflex Guarantee ensures that their products are built to last.

Note: The last row is an example of how data-driven tables can include specific product names or details that may be useful or relevant to the topic in question.

Teaching Your Dog To Fetch On Command

Teaching your dog to fetch on command is a great way to keep them mentally stimulated and engaged with you. It’s also an excellent way to build their confidence, as they’ll be able to bring back the toy in front of other people and dogs without any fear of punishment.

The first step is getting them used to bringing back an object that they’ve never seen before. Start by holding a treat in one hand and playing with another toy (one that has been played with before) in your other hand. 

Once the dog has grabbed onto the new toy, say “fetch” in a commanding voice while pointing at yourself with both hands held out parallel with each other like you’re holding something heavy like bricks or plates full of food–this gesture will let him know where he should go next!

Once he brings back what he was originally interested in (the treat), reward him immediately with praise and another piece from whatever dish you had set aside beforehand so there won’t be any confusion about whether or not this was supposed to happen!

Excessive barking can be one of the most frustrating and challenging issues for dog owners. Our Expert Advice: How to Train Your Dog to Stop Barking guide can help address this problem. By utilizing the techniques and tips we provide, you’ll be able to reduce your dog’s barking behavior in no time.

Switching Between Two Rewards (Toys And Treats)

Once your dog is fetching with a toy, it’s time to switch between two different rewards. For the first few times you try this, use a high-value reward (e.g., chicken or steak) as your “high value” reward and then use something like kibble as your low value reward for the rest of training. 

This helps build up their excitement about getting new toys in addition to helping them learn how to switch between them quickly!

Timing The Reward Correctly

The most important thing to remember is to wait until your dog brings back the object. Don’t give him or her a treat as soon as he or she starts running after it. 

If you do this, your dog will learn that bringing back an object isn’t necessary for getting a reward, which means he or she may just run off with it without returning it at all! Instead of rewarding too early, wait until after they’ve brought it back before rewarding them with praise and treats (or whatever else). 

You can use a clicker to let your dog know that they have done the correct thing: once he or she has retrieved his ball from across the yard and brought it over to you, gently squeeze down on the clicker button while holding out one hand toward him so that he knows where his reward will come from next time around…

ImmediateRewarding your dog within 1 second of correctly fetching the toy helps them associate the action with the reward.
GradualDelayed rewards (2-3 seconds after the desired behavior) can help teach your dog patience and focus on the task at hand for a longer period of time.
RandomVarying the timing of rewards keeps your dog engaged and motivated to continue playing fetch. Mix up rewards such as treats or favorite toys.
Potassium phosphates, sodium hexametaphosphate, and magnesium oxideThese ingredients are used in some dental chews to help reduce tartar build-up and freshen your dog’s breath during playtime.

Waiting Until The Dog Brings Back The Object

The goal of this step is to teach your dog to bring the object back to you, rather than dropping it in front of you. 

To start, hold out one finger and let your dog sniff it while they are holding onto their toy. Once they have sniffed your finger, say “drop” and wait for them to drop their toy at your feet before giving them a treat (this teaches them that dropping something will get them rewarded).

Once this becomes easy for them (which should take about a week), add more commands such as “give me” or “give mommy”. 

You can also start rewarding them with treats when they bring back toys instead of just dropping them on command–this helps reinforce good behavior!

Every dog breed has unique traits and characteristics that need to be considered when training them. In our The Best Dog Training Techniques for Every Breed guide, we provide specific training techniques tailored to different dog breeds. Whether you own a poodle or a pitbull, our guide provides insights on how to train your dog based on their personality and behavior.

Acting Like A Ball Machine

If you want to train your dog to fetch, then the best way is to use a ball machine. A ball machine will automatically throw balls for your dog to fetch. 

All you have to do is turn on the machine and keep throwing until your dog brings back all of them. 

When he does bring back one of those balls, praise him and reward him with treats or affectionate gestures such as petting his head or belly rubbing him if he likes those kinds of things (most dogs do).

Want a well-behaved dog that fits in seamlessly with your family? Our How to Train Your Dog to Be the Perfect Family Pet guide provides tips on how to create a stress-free environment for your dog. This includes proper socialization, consistent training, and more. By incorporating these techniques into your dog’s routine, you can ensure they become a beloved member of the family.


If you follow these steps, your dog will learn how to fetch in no time. It’s important to keep the training sessions short and fun for both of you, so don’t push it too hard if your dog seems distracted or doesn’t seem like they’re having fun. 

And remember: never use negative reinforcement with your dog!

Further Reading

For more information on dog training and playing fetch, check out the following resources:

6 Steps to Teaching Your Dog to Fetch: This guide provides helpful tips on how to train your dog to fetch and make sure they retrieve the object properly.

Teach Your Dog to Fetch: This article from the American Kennel Club offers an in-depth guide to successfully teaching your dog to fetch, including suggestions for troubleshooting any issues you may encounter.

Teaching Your Dog to Play Fetch: This WebMD guide provides step-by-step instructions, as well as helpful tips and tricks, to get your dog to love playing fetch.


How do I know if my dog is ready to learn how to fetch?

Dogs that love to chase or have a high prey drive may be natural fetchers, but any dog can learn with patience and practice. It’s important to start with basic obedience training to build a foundation of listening to commands before moving on to fetch training.

What should I use as a fetch toy?

Choose a toy that is easy and safe for your dog to carry. Tennis balls, rubber balls, and soft plush toys are all popular options. Avoid hard objects and sticks, as these can be harmful to your dog’s teeth and mouth.

How do I start training my dog to fetch?

Start with basic commands like “sit,” “stay,” and “come.” Once your dog has those down, introduce the “fetch” command while playing with the toy. Encourage them to bring the toy back to you and reward them with praise and treats when they do.

What should I do if my dog doesn’t want to fetch?

Some dogs may not be interested in playing fetch, or may not have a strong natural drive to chase and retrieve. In that case, explore other types of toys and activities that your dog enjoys, such as tug-of-war or puzzle games.

Is it safe to play fetch with my dog inside?

While it’s important to ensure your dog has plenty of exercise, playing fetch indoors is not recommended unless you have a dedicated space with plenty of room and no breakable objects nearby. It’s best to play fetch outdoors or in a dog park.