hold and fetch


New Member
hello all! anybody have any tips for how to teach a dog to hold and fetch - a dog not automatically given to carrying things in her mouth and who has almost zero interest in toys?


Honored Member
It'll help if your dog becomes more interested in toys,..

To increase her interest in toys, have you ever tried rubbing cheese, or maybe peanut butter, onto the toys? That did the trick for my dog. Buddy is toy-crazy NOW.

My dog tends to get bored with some toys, if he's had them for a long long time. (so we swap out groups of toys, and hide ones he's bored with for a while.) He LOVES, adores, NEW toys. Does you dog show any interest in NEW toys?

Dogs tend to like NEW toys they've never seen before. We get ours at Goodwill, only 25 cents to get toys there.

Does he like squeak toys at all? Many dogs seem interested in squeak toys.

Ha, id think a "clicker" might help with teaching your dog to fetch. Are you familiar with clicker training?

NOt sure about the "hold", you mean, to hold it in her mouth to bring it back to you? Is that what you mean?
My dog is no retriever, either, doesn't much show interest in retrieving stuff to me, more than about 3 times.

STand by, i'm sure some smarter people more experienced will be along shortly!! Ha ha!


New Member
i did try rubbing a peanut butter and stuff for awhile. the peanut butter was pretty messy, lol. the ol' dog there would lick it off and leave the toy. i should go back to it tho. we had made a little progression with playing fetch with a ball there for awhile, but then she left off bringing it back for another round.

i guess by hold i mean pick up anything in her mouth and keep it there for just a bit.

anyways, the only toys that get any attention from her at all are fuzzy chew toys with something to rip at. but that doesn't last too long. once she "defeated it", that's it.

lol. it's funny tho.


Experienced Member
Here's a great article on teaching the retrieve:

There's also a wonderful book called the "Clicked Retrieve"

Basically you need to shape it. Start with an object your dog hasn't done a lot with before. I generally start with a pen since it's like a dowel, but anything will work. Click for looking at it, then touching it, then mouthing it, etc. Once your dog is holding it in it's mouth for .5sec, you can either a)start putting it on the ground and clicking for a tiny little lift, b)have it in your hand but reach out so the dog moves forward to grab it, let go as the dog grabs it and turns back toward you, click the .5sec hold and head turn c)try to click for longer and longer holds as you still hold on to it. It goes slowly, but it's worth the work.

If your dog already chases after objects, just doesn't bring them back you might be able to shortcut this work. Try throwing a toy/ball and click as soon as your dog races out and just nudges it with his nose (maybe first spend some time clicking for your dog touching it in your hand). Eventually wait till dog runs out, picks it up. Then wait for run out, pick up, and take one step towards you, etc.

Or as an even bigger short cut you could try cutting a slit in a tennis ball and putting a treat inside. Some dogs learn they get the treat by bringing it back to you. Definitely doesn't work with every dog.

Good luck! It can be a ton of work for some dogs. Lance, the corgi, took about a month to do anything more than touch and then mouth an object. But once he got to picking up an object and turning toward me it only took another month go get a full, very formal retrieve, complete with a sit and hold. My natural retriever got the retrieve to hand fairly quickly but we're still struggling with the sit and hold.