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Your Dog Won't Drop the Ball When You Play Fetch? Watch This.

by Robin MacFarlane

As with most problems, this is easily prevented if you start out doing things correctly.

Having a dog who LOVES to play fetch is so much fun. It is one of those simple pleasures to watch a dog that is over joyed at chasing a ball thrown for them over and over again.

That is, it is a pleasure as long as the dog brings the ball back and gives it up willingly.

There are those dogs that have learned the pleasure of keeping the ball in their mouth, while the owners discover the frustration of a game of "catch me if you can"!

Some dogs learn early in life that if we reach to take something away from them, we don't always give it back. Because of that, they begin to avoid the outstretched hand and continue to stay just one or two steps out of reach despite our attempts to move in closer.

As with most problems, they are easily prevented if you start out doing things correctly.

The same rules can help you if you're struggling to play a good game of fetch with your dog.

Remember to:

  1. Use two identical items.
  2. Use the second item to entice the dog to come all the way in.
  3. Don't reach forward to take from the dog; have them deliver to hand or drop the item.
  4. Throw the second item as soon as the first one is released.
  5. As the dog gains trust that the game will continue, begin to touch/praise and pet the dog, and then take the original ball away and toss again.

These simple tips will allow your dog to believe they have control and can speed up the most fun part of the game, "the chase", by bringing the item all the way back and delivering it willingly.

As soon as the dog figures out you will be a willing and quick "ball tossing machine" rather than one who just takes and ends the game, you will both have more fun!
-- Robin

Robin MacFarlane is a professional dog trainer and owner of Thatís My Dog in Dubuque, Iowa. Her best-selling dog training DVDs, JUST RIGHT and JUST RIGHT 2 have helped thousands of dog owners teach their dogs basic obedience and fix problem behaviors through a system of training that you can easily work into your daily routine.
  • Robin writes for Gun Dog Supply on our E-collars Dog Training blog
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  • Read her other posts here on

  • Pull-Quote= Fido won't drop the ball for you? Try this.

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