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Fetch or Keep Away?

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Maddie Drops her toy

Drop it!

I love it when my students tell me that their dog won’t play fetch.  There are, in fact, dogs that don’t have much chase or prey drive, and they are probably better suited for other activities.  The more likely scenario is that some dogs simply prefer the game of Keep Away over the Fetch game.  Many dogs have successfully taught their owners the Keep Away game.  The dogs taunt their less agile and considerably slower humans who give into the chase, rather than wait for the dog to drop the toy.

The Keep Away game is lots of fun for the dog because typically the agile and fast dog is very successful at keeping toys away from their exasperated owners.  For humans, the Keep Away game is pretty frustrating because we tire out pretty easily when chasing dogs.

To teach your dog the Fetch game, you need to stop playing the Keep Away game!  To be successful, choose a lovely evening after dinner and take the toy to your favorite lounge chair.  For even greater success, bring a book and your favorite beverage.  Toss the toy and wait for the dog to bring it back to you.  If the sun has set and your dog has not learned the Fetch game, there’s always tomorrow.

The photo above is an example of this strategy. I’m enjoying a lovely evening and a magazine.  Maddie will try to entice me to get up by dropping the toy in the grass.  I’m comfy on my chair, happy with my magazine.  I’ll tell Maddie to bring it.  She’ll chew the toy and drool and finally drop it on my lounge chair.  I’ll toss it back and repeat the process until I’ve had enough fresh air for the evening.  I wouldn’t last two seconds in the Keep Away game.  Fetch is fun for both human and dog in this case.


Written by dawnhanna

October 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

Posted in Dog Training

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