Learn to Play Fetch with Zak

Zak George is back to give us some awesome tips and tricks to help you and your dog interact and bond, and this time he’s all about a game of Fetch!

One of the first things I teach any pet parent and their four-legged friend is to fetch. Some of you probably won’t believe that a dog won’t fetch, and some of you probably won’t believe you can teach a dog to fetch. But, let me walk you through the importance of fetch and how easy it is to teach to your dog!

Before you begin any training sessions it is crucial to get rid of some of the excess energy your dog has. Fetch provides the fastest and easiest way to both mentally and physically exercise your dog. Now some of you are sitting there thinking, “My dog has never shown any interest in a game of fetch, there’s no way I can teach him!” Your dog may not be predispose to the tactics of fetch, so let’s take this step by step.

Step One: Find the Perfect Toy for a Game of Fetch

fetch dog training
Finding a favorite toy makes teaching fetch even easier!
The first thing you need to do is find a toy your dog loves. This may take a few tries and a few different toys, but you will find a toy that causes your dog to instantly perk up. Once you have found a lovable toy, engage your dog in a game of “tug-of-war.” Make sure your dog really wants to play with the toy – that’s a good sign you found a favorite toy.  

Step Two: Tug-of- War

train fetch with tug-of-war
Jacob and Zak Train Without the Pain by engaging in a game of Tug-of-War.

Once your dog is fully engaged and you are playing “tug-of-war” together, simply make the toy uninteresting by refusing to move or pull back. As soon as your dog has let go of the toy, say “yes!” and reward him with the exciting version of the toy or a delicious treat. After several successful games of “tug-of-war” and “let go” toss the toy a few feet away, if your dog doesn’t go for it, make it more interesting by nudging it a little. Once your dog has picked it up, try to get some eye contact and run back to where you started. Do this multiple times, making sure to keep the tosses short. Eventually you can toss the toy further and further until your dog is confident and eager to get the toy and return it to you.

Step Three: Keep It Up

Teach your dog fetch
Zak’s eager pup is so excited to play fetch!

You may have to repeat these steps for the first several times you want to help your dog release some energy. But, if you keep the routine and sincerely want to teach your dog a fun activity, fetch will become a mainstay game. Soon enough, your dog will be bringing you his favorite toy and begging you to throw it.

Check out my training video to learn more and see me teaching Lafitte and his pet parents how to play fetch!

Do you have questions about teaching your dog to play fetch? Let me know in the comments!