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How to train your dog to play fetch

To train your dog to play fetch, your dogs going to need an out command or a drop command so that when you tell them to give up the ball they do it quickly. Now, I'm just gonna kinda breeze over teaching the actual out or drop it command in this exercise, 'cause I really wanna get to the putting it in my hand part.

How to train your dog to play fetch

But if you haven't worked on an out or drop it exercise with your dog, you're gonna need some sort of trade. And for Rad, I know that he loves cheese. So I've cut up some cheese, and we're gonna use cheese as that food trade. But if you have a dog who loves toys more than treats, we're gonna talk about that as well. Now, I'm gonna use this interactive toy to show you guys the outline of the out command, and it's gonna be all about timing, as is a lot of dog training.
So I'm gonna get Rad tugging and playing with this toy. Then I'm gonna give him the out command, and then show him a piece of food. What I wanna do is successfully show him that every time I say that word, a treat is gonna be presented to him, so that he pairs the hearing the out command with something better being presented. Okay, tug! Tug, tug, tug, tug, tug! Get that tug! Tug, tug, tug, tug, tug! Good boy, tug, tug, tug! And I'm gonna grab my treat. Good boy, tug, tug, tug! Out, and then present the treat. Good boy, very nice. Good. So let's try that again. Tug, yeah, good boy! Tug, tug, tug. Good boy! Tug, tug, tug, get that toy! Good, good boy! Tug, tug, tug, tug, tug, tug! Out, present the treat. Yes, good boy!
Now, I want you guys to practice that one several times. If your dog doesn't have an out command, make sure you go through that process. And pay special attention to the timing. As Rad was tugging, he's totally engaged, I grabbed a treat. I said out, then presented the food. When he dropped that toy, I rewarded him with the food. And I can even capture that moment with a "Yes." So as he drops it, tug, tug, tug, tug, tug. Tug, tug, tug, tug, tug, out. Yes, good boy! That'll buy me a couple of extra seconds to get that treat and then reward him. Now, if you have a dog who loves toys more than they love food, your gonna do the exact same steps in this process.

You're gonna just interchange a toy with the food that we were showing you before. Now, I'm gonna wanna know which toys my dog loves the most. He really seems to like this fabric frisbee, and he kind of likes this rope toy. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna engage with him using this rope toy, playing a game of tug. I'm gonna issue that out command, or drop command, maybe, in your case. And then I'm gonna show him the frisbee so that we're gonna exercise that same timing that we get using the food, and I'll show you how that goes. Good boy! Good, I got him tugging! (growling) Good boy, tug, tug, tug! Good boy, and out! Yes, tug! Good boy! Very good! You saw how much Rad likes this fabric frisbee. He was really willing to give up the rope toy in exchange for the frisbee. And out, good boy.
So you can see how you can easily interchange a toy, in this case, the fabric frisbee that he loves, with food. So find out what your dog loves the most, but makes sure you go through several repetitions of practicing that drop or out command before you move on to the next step. I've set some things up in the hallway, and I've actually put on the GoPro so I can bring you guys right in close to the action. But you can see I'm using the hallway for our demonstration, and the hallway can be a really great place to practice your retrieving skills. It gives the dog less options to be wrong, and I'll show you what I mean in just a minute. Once your dog starts to understand the value of the out command, we're actually gonna pair that with a new command. And for Rad, I'm gonna say "In my hand." Now, every time I say "In my hand," I'm gonna present my hand to him. And then I'm gonna say "Out," and allow him to drop that ball in my hand.
Sooner or later I'm gonna be able to drop that out command, and every time he hears "In my hand," and drops the ball, he's gonna be rewarded. In my hand, out! Yes, good boy! Good boy! In my hand, out! Yes, good boy! In my hand. Present my hand, out. Yes, good boy! I've got some of these great cheese treats that Rad loves, and I've also got the tennis ball, and I'm gonna show you guys how to insist that Rad puts the ball in my hand before I reward him. K buddy. Go get the ball, get the ball! Get it, get it, get it! K, so he brings it back, offer him my hand, oops! You gotta get that ball! Now, I'm gonna make sure that he puts that ball right in my hand. Get your ball! Good. Yes, good boy! Now, a couple things I did there. When I showed Rad my hand, he tried to put it in my hand, dropped the ball, and it missed. Now, I didn't pick up the ball. I made sure that I insisted that he get the ball again and then give me that drop it or that out, so that the ball went into my hand. And I wasn't gonna offer up a reward until that happened.
So you'll see that I accept nothing less than Rad putting right it in my hand before he gets that treat reward. And I even make it a little bit easier for him if he misses the first time. Get that ball, get that ball! Put it here in my hand. Almost buddy, get that ball! Yes, good boy! Way better, nice job buddy! Get the ball, in my hand. Yes, good boy! And you saw Rad had to work a little bit harder for it that second time. I raised my hand a little bit and moved it over. But the only way he was getting that reward was if he dropped the ball in my hand. Now, if your dog gets stalled out at all and they keep dropping the ball in the same place, use some motion to really encourage the dog to move toward you, and I'll show you what I mean. Get that ball, bring it here! In my hand. Almost! Now, I intentionally let that ball drop, and I'm gonna move backwards so that Rad has to move into me a little bit closer. Almost! Get the ball, in my hand! See, I'm moving. Yes, good boy! I was moving away from him each and every time.
I was really insisting that he brings the ball toward me all the way in. In my hand. Oh, almost. And I'm going out of my way to drop this ball, 'cause he's almost got it. Yes, good boy! Nice job buddy! But the only way he gets that reward is if he places the ball directly in my hand. Now, I don't need to use food all the time for this, because there's gonna become a point, once your dog learns that putting the ball in your hand means you're gonna throw it away again. But I would still throw in the odd food reward, because your dog's gonna get excited about going to fetch the ball. So if every single time they drop the ball in your hand you immediately throw it away, they're gonna lose value on that returning it to your hand part.
So occasionally reward them with food until your dog truly understands that each and every time the ball needs to go in your hand. Now, today is a perfect example of a time when I want my dog to bring the ball directly back to my hand, because it is snowing like crazy and I just don't wanna have to dig through the snow once he brings the ball back. So let's practice our skill outside. Where's the ball?! Yes, good boy! Bring it right here. Oops, get it, in my hand! Yes, good boy! Get the ball! Get it! Good boy, right here! Bring it, bring it here! Right in my hand! Yeah, oops! So I'll move back. Get the ball! Almost! Yes, good boy! Very nice! So if your dog struggles at all with dropping the ball before he gets to you or dropping the ball in a completely wrong spot, make it easier for him to be right.
Because you really want to teach him through a succession of correct choices. And once your dog understands to bring the ball directly back to your hand, you can start to throw in those other things. You remember how much Rad loved that fabric frisbee. So we'll insist that Rad brings the fabric frisbee right back to our hand the same way we do with the tennis ball. Rad, in my hand! In my hand! Yes, okay. Now, there are lots of different ways you could apply this in my hand skill, whether that's a tennis ball, or a frisbee, or maybe you can teach your dog to go bring you the remote and put it in your hand. It'd be a really fun way to apply this skill to other objects.