Did you know that not all dogs know how to or have desire to play ball?
This is actually one request I get frequently from my clients is to teach their dog how to play fetch and actually bring it back.
Bruno is a boxer and, true to his name LOVES to box! Thats all he wants to do when we have play time. However, I have been working with him to play fetch. The first video was our first session of fetch. He wasn’t too interested. So I switched toys from the knot ball to a tennis ball and had to get a little more energetically involved with him and show him how fun that ball is to play with.
I start with only a couple throws per session with the ball so he doesn’t get bored with it, and I praise him for any and every attempt he makes at bringing it back to me.
I work on the cues “get it” and “bring it here” with him so he starts to understand what I’m wanting and what will bring him the reward he’s looking for quicker, which is lots of praise, attention, and excitement.
When we have had a few good throws I take the ball with me and leave. In this case I leave the ball on the other side of the fence. “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Sometimes if the ball is there but out of reach it makes them care about it and hopefully want it a little more. This way when we play together with it, it makes it more fun and exciting.
I repeat these sessions a couple times a day between our obedience sessions. I like to work on structured play for at least one of our short sessions each day if not more. Dogs need to play and interact with you daily and outside of just strict training to build your bond and relationship.
Also you’ll notice I am throwing the ball into a closed space with a dead end, I find it easier when I have a dog with low ball drive to have a smaller space to play in. This helps alleviate distractions and rom for them to run away. The smaller space helps me keep their focus between me and the ball. Once they get used to the game I start playing in bigger areas and testing out our progress. If they struggle or completely give it up in a bigger space I will either put a long leash on in the bigger space or take a step back and refocus in a smaller space first