Appropriate Play – Fetch

Fetch is one of those classic games we play with our dogs. It’s simple, you don’t need anything fancy, even a stick will do. You throw the item away, and your dog retrieves it!

Fetch is a wonderful example of ‘Constructive Play’. Our dogs are always learning, especially during play time, when they are enjoying themselves. This is a wonderful opportunity to use the intrinsic value of the game to positively reinforce manners.

You could get your dog to sit prior to the throw, release your dog to retrieve the item, bring them into a heel position when they return, and drop the item. Here we have taken an opportunity to practice, and reinforce a handful of ‘commands’ that will soon become a good habit.

Alternatively; we could struggle to pull the ball from our dogs mouth, our dog could bark at us and jump excitedly trying to take the ball away from us again, and then we could reward that behavior by throwing the toy for them.

When we begin playing fetch with multiple dogs, we have an opportunity to either practice patience by waiting for their turn, or competition by allowing both dogs to chase the same ball. A fight can quickly come about in this instance of competition, and it can also build frustration in the dog who is too slow to reach the item first.

Here we have an example of how we play fetch with multiple dogs at a time. In this example we have three dogs who are interested in playing fetch. Our Coach brings the dogs into an appropriate position and asks them to lay down. She then calls up each dog by name and releases them to chase that particular ball.