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Learning to retrieve your dog step by step

Do you want to teach your dog to retrieve? If so, you’ve come to the right place. I will tell you how you can teach your dog to perform this command in an accessible way. First, before you start learning, you must adequately prepare for it. It is essential. I present to you four steps that will teach your dog to fetch.

a dog with red bullet running

Not every dog ​​can retrieve. Some dogs will need additional training for this. It is worth mentioning, however, that learning to retrieve will certainly not be a particular challenge for your dog. The learning plan for this command consists of four relatively simple steps.

What will you learn from this article:

• You can teach your dog to retrieve     

• Apporting is not a difficult command to be mastered by a dog

• The retrieving learning plan consists of four stages

Learning to retrieve a pet

My dog individually perceives each new skill that I teach him. Some commands he understands after a while; others need much more time. It was exactly like that when the training in retrieving started here.

My pet carries out this command very nicely today, but I remember our training sessions. Therefore, based on my experience, I want to tell you how you can improve your dog’s training process.

First, I want you to know that learning new skills is essential for a doggy. I hope you will be reasonable about this. If you are too demanding for the dog, your relationship may suffer, and you certainly do not want to lead to this.

So, before you start, I recommend you read the post in which I discuss the detailed rules of dog training. You can find it HERE. Thanks to the tips mentioned, it will be much easier for you to teach your pet new commands.

Teach your dog to retrieve

Okay, now let me tell you about the specifics of retrieving training. First, you need to create a mood of learning, not fun. The retrieve command can become fun very smoothly, which makes the task difficult when learning.

Therefore, you must approach the dog as cool and calm as possible while learning. Be severe and task-oriented, which is entirely different from during your games.

The subject we will train is also essential in the initial learning to retrieve. It shouldn’t be a toy that your dog knows well. He associates it with relaxation and fun. It will be much harder for him to distinguish between playtime and training.

The reward for the correct execution of the command

After correctly following the instructions, your dog will deserve a reward. It can be the ready-made treats from the store or make them yourself. I present to you my proven DIY dog treat recipe. You can find it HERE – HOW TO MAKE A DRIED DOG TREAT.

They want to have snacks for your pet always at hand during training, and I recommend storing them in a convenient MIDI treat sachet from Bowl & Bone Republic. Thanks to this solution, you will have total freedom of movement, undoubtedly making it easier to train your dog.

The place where the command trains with the dog

Now all you have to do is find the right place to exercise. First, it should be a space that will not distract your doggie. So if your retrieving training will be in the park, pick a part where you will be a little off the beaten track.

Are you wondering if you can practice retrieving at home? The answer is yes. However, I want to warn you immediately that it might be more difficult. Home is your doggie’s asylum, and it can distract him. Moreover, I cannot deny that training at home causes a space restriction.

Learning to retrieve – the first stage

You already know how to prepare to learn to fetch your four-legged friend. So now, let’s move on to the action plan.

At the outset, you need to arouse the dog’s interest in the object we practice retrieving, let’s say with a ball. We want the dog to grab the thing in his teeth at our command. Put the ball in front of the dog and say the command. If the dog interacts and takes a ball in his mouth, you can reward him.

The first stage of learning to retrieve the ball is to familiarize the dog with it and to develop the habit of picking it up at our command. If your dog has fully mastered this command, we can move on to the next stage of learning.

If your pet doesn’t seem interested in the ball, try encouraging him with a treat. Place it beside the ball or, if you can, on it. In this way, the dog, smelling the smell of his favourite delicacy, will undoubtedly follow your command and take the ball in his teeth.

dog with a fluffy bone

Learning to retrieve a dog – the second stage

If your dog has mastered the first stage of learning, it’s time for me to introduce you to the next step. We want the dog to be able to keep the ball in his teeth for a long time. Contrary to appearances, this is a crucial stage.

You are probably wondering why.                       

That is an essential skill for the later retrieval stage. Namely, dogs do not usually have the reflex to run with the ball in their mouths. If we do not teach this dog, then by throwing the ball to him in the distance, he will likely drop it on his way to us.

So now your task will be to extend the time the dog has in his teeth the ball we put in front of him. How can we do that? The prize will help.

When the dog picks up the ball following your instructions, please wait a while before giving him a treat as a reward. Initially, the dog will not release the ball from his mouth for just a few seconds. You will be able to successfully and gradually extend this time.

If your dog can hold the ball in his teeth until instructed to do so, feel free to move on to the next stage of learning.

Learning to retrieve – the third stage

Your dog, having mastered the previous two stages, is now ready to learn to fetch in the true sense of the word. Initially, your dog must learn to approach you with a ball in his mouth. How to do it?

When the dog picks up the ball according to your command, your task will be to walk away from him a few steps before handing him the prize. Your dog will instinctively move towards you, knowing that he will get his favourite treat in exchange for a correctly completed task in a moment.

This way, systematically increase your pet’s distance to get a well-deserved reward.

Learning to retrieve – the fourth stage

If you managed to get to this stage with your dog, the last, fourth step is waiting for you in a moment. Now put the ball not directly in front of the dog but a little further away. Your dog must see where you leave the ball as you teach him the aport command, not the search command.

The last stage of learning to retrieve

The moment has come for the last stage of learning. Your task will not be to place the ball but to throw it. That is a new dynamic element in your training, so it’s normal if the dog is initially confused. Give him a little more time to find himself in the new situation.

Try to throw the ball farther and farther, but make sure your dog is aware of this when you throw the ball. Remember correctly that your pet deserves a reward after executing the command flawlessly.

a dog with blue, yellow and red bullets in water

Learning a dog – time to spend together

I see teaching my dog ​​new commands as training and a great way to spend time together. I can see from my pet that it gives him a lot of pleasure, and he also enjoys that we have even more time for ourselves.

You cannot deny that learning to retrieve is one of the most challenging commands. Nevertheless, I hope the guide I have presented will help you quickly and effectively achieve success.

And your dog already able to retrieve, or are you still in the process of learning? Please share your story with me in the comment. Maybe you also have tips to help other canine handlers learn to retrieve.

If you have any questions or want me to discuss a topic in the next post, share it in the comments section.

Author: Klaudia, great dog lover

The dog by my side teaches me to enjoy every moment and to perceive each subsequent day as a chance for a new, wonderful adventure. While looking for my soul mate, I found it in a dog's wise eyes.

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