How to Teach a Dog to Fetch

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch
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How to Teach a Dog to Fetch is a great trick.

Nothing is more fun than throwing something and having your dog bring it back to you. Your dog gets exercise and you have the joy of playing with them.

Start with a toy your dog will be able to and want to put in their mouth. Some dogs prefer balls, others some type of rope or other toy.

Also, just like treats, the better the toy you use, the more motivated your dog will be. Each dog has their favorites, so get one that works for your dog!

When you begin teaching your dog how to fetch, it is best to start in an area with less distractions. A lot of other dogs and/or people will make teaching this trick more difficult.

Now, let’s get onto the 3 Simple Steps to fetching…


With the toy on the ground, whenever your dog moves toward it or touches it, PRAISE and REWARD them. Continue until they have this down.

The goal of this step is for your dog to understand this toy is “good.” Getting an Atta Boy, Atta Girl and a treat when they get near the toy with motivate them.

This method is called positive reinforcement and is the basis of our 3 Step Dog Trick System. You are giving praise and rewarding behavior you want when your dog does it.


Once step 1 is complete, put the toy in their face and make them smell it and PRAISE and REWARD them. Then, toss the toy a foot or so from you on the ground and say “FETCH.”

This is to really reinforce your dog’s excitement surrounding this toy. They should be fired up at this stage and really want to get that toy.

By saying the fetch command, you are associating the term FETCH for your dog getting the toy. Even though this is only from a foot away, they are learning for further distances to come.


Once they get the toy on the ground, they don’t get the treat REWARD unless they come back to you with the toy. Be excited, have a treat in hand and PRAISE and REWARD them when they do.

This step takes your dog from the go get the toy stage to the get and bring it back stage.

When they go to the toy, they may just want to chew on it where it is. Now you need to motivate them to come back with the toy.

By luring them with a great treat and calling them, you can get them to come back to you.

Each time they go further with the trick, be happy and let your dog know it. 


Gradually increase the distance you are tossing the toy and eventually you’ll have your dog fetching from as far as you can throw the toy.

Who can have a trick dog that doesn’t know how to fetch?

Once you have this trick down, you need to teach your dog to drop it.

Check this out if you want a trick dog.

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Steve Larrivee

Steve Larrivee

As a dog lover since his youth, Steve Co-Founded Athenas Pets with his son Kevin to promote dog training to the masses. Athenas Pets, focuses on training products and providing the "know-how" so the average dog owner can train their dog like a pro.

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