Monthly Archives: June 2012

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch

By Sally Gutteridge | Posts , Tricks

Do you ever watch dog owners and their pets playing with a ball or toy in the park and wish that your own dog would fetch his toy as nicely? Perhaps your own unwilling canine simply looks towards you and his thrown ball before wandering off to sniff around a nearby bush. His lack of interest in bringing anything back, leaving you with no option but to retrieve the toy yourself?

The good news is that almost any dog will enjoy a game of fetch and learn to play with enthusiasm if you make the activity enjoyable. By reading on, you can learn, in easy steps, how to make your dog focus on his toy and teach him that a retrieve game is rewarding.

There are great benefits to owning a dog that enjoys fetch games. Advantages include the ability to provide beneficial exercise in a small place and short time. A dog that runs regularly and with enthusiasm to fetch a ball a few times will reap physical benefits from short bursts of high energy and good muscle tone. This type of game is perfect for using up energy when time is short, before dog training sessions and during time limited exercise periods.

How to teach a dog to fetch in three easy stages

The Valuable Toy

  • Find a toy that your dog loves. Work out which toy your dog likes most, you can do this by playing with a number of toys and seeing which he gets most excited about. You can improvise with toys by putting a ball in an old sock initially and encouraging tug games or if your dog likes food as a reward you can place something that smells and tastes nice inside a toy and give him the chance to try and get it out.
  • By encouraging your dog to play with a particular toy you will be showing him how much fun this toy can be. This will increase his motivation to chase it when the toy is thrown. You will also be increasing the value of the toy because anything that promotes fun activity with you as his owner will become a high value resource to your dog.

Increase Motivation

  • When your dog sees his toy as something special and likes to play with or carry it around you can begin to limit access to the toy. Take it away at the end of a game and put it out of sight. Limit sessions where you play with the toy together to a few minutes at a time. Always swap the toy for something with your dog though as this will encourage him to let go of it nicely and take away the risk of guarding it.
  • By making the toy more of a valuable item you will be increasing your dog’s motivation to chase it when it’s thrown. This increase of interest will firstly encourage the initial chase to retrieve his toy and secondly ensure that he is confident and interested enough to hold the toy for long enough to carry it back to you after he picks it up.

Building frustration and swapping his toy

  • When your dog gets the idea that he goes to fetch a toy when thrown you can build his frustration. Do this by holding his collar and throwing the toy, hold him for a few seconds then running with him to the toy, this is great as a race. He will really enjoy this game. When he does bring the toy you can swap it with him for something interesting, sometimes it is useful to have two toys exactly the same.
  • By building your dogs frustration you will be making this game extremely fun for him. Holding him back from running to fetch a thrown toy will certainly make him want to perform an enthusiastic chase routine. By swapping his fetched toy for food or something equally rewarding you will be encouraging your dog to bring his toy back to you rather than run gleefully around the park with it.

Training your dog to fetch a toy will be one of the most useful and rewarding things you teach him. For more information and many other things that you can do with your dog, visit our dog forum where you can also chat and share experiences with many other dog owners.

Different Breeds of Dogs – Considering a New Pet

By Sally Gutteridge | Breeds , Posts

Are you thinking of introducing a new dog into your home but confused about what type of dog would suit your family and lifestyle? Perhaps you can’t decide whether to give a home to an adult dog or puppy and need a little more information or advice before making a decision?

Read on to learn some interesting facts about common dog breeds and the traits that they can bring into a family home. Every dog will either be a pure breed, or if a cross breed, its looks and behavior will show what type of dog it is genetically related to. When you choose a dog it is certainly important to try and match its needs to your own needs as an owner. By taking the fundamental needs of breeds of dogs into consideration you are most likely to succeed in your choice of new dog. Here are some useful tips to consider when finding a dog to take home.

Breed type

Research the breed type of any dog that you are interested in. Learn from the internet and other dog owners any problems that they have needed to deal with when living with a dog of this particular breed. Find people that already live with a dog of this breed and ask if they have any common problems.

Carrying out some research will ensure that you are expecting the breed traits that your new dog may show in your home. You can also recognize common health problems if you know what to look for when choosing your dog. An example of this could be the gait of a German shepherd dog which to the informed eye can show quite obvious signs of severe hip problems.

Exercise needs

Find out the exercise needs of the dog that you would like to take home and match them to your own exercise routines. It is worth researching how much mental stimulation a dog needs too as all dogs are different but animals of the same breed can show striking similarities.

Some dogs are built to run for miles and enjoy long challenging walks. Other breeds of dog are happy with shorter walks and lots of relaxation time. When choosing a dog it is important that you are honest with yourself about how much exercise that you can realistically offer. A dog that needs a lot of exercise can develop problems within the home if its basic exercise needs are not met. Mental needs of pet dogs also vary greatly, some will become bored quickly and demand attention and others are happy to relax for most of the day. Decide how much time you have to offer for dog training needs and match these to the needs of the dog you choose. This careful planning will be worth it long term.

The working dog

Dogs originally bred to work will have traits and needs, sometimes diluted, that will need to be met to ensure happiness in the home. If you like a dog that was originally or still is a working breed then you can get an idea of how it will behave by looking into its role when employed. Look into the breed and find out whether it is still bred to work now or predominantly a pet. Some dogs have working type and show type; this includes the cocker spaniel and Labrador. Both of the aforementioned can offer very different types of same breed dogs.

Careful consideration of breed type with view to the dog performing a function will give you an idea of how much mental and physical stimulation that the dog may need in order to stay happy and fulfilled. An example of this is the Border collie who is a popular pet and can behave perfectly in the home when its needs are met. The collie however is bred for rounding up and herding sheep therefore has a lot of energy so will need a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to be happy in a family home.

Choose your new dog with care and careful consideration, the little extra time spent on research will help you to understand both whether a dog is suited to you and why he behaves like he does. If you would like access to a great community of dog lovers to share your questions please visit our friendly and information packed dog forum.