Fetching MannersPublished April 3, 2008
Not every dog likes to play fetch, but the ones that do tend to like it obsessively. As in, “Here’s my ball. Throw it. Throw it. Please throw it now. I’m ready for you to throw it. I’ll put it in your lap and that might make you more inclined to throw it. Are you ready to throw it?” Most of us dutifully throw the ball no matter how bossy Fido gets. Barking? “Demand” jumping? That’s just part of the game, right? Fido just can’t control himself when it comes to playing ball. Um, yes he can. And he should. It’s easy to teach your dog some fetching manners. Next time he “demands” that you play with him by exhibiting an inappropriate behavior, simply drop the ball and walk way. Wait a few moments, return and ask your dog to do a simple training exercise. (“sit” is the easiest, of course.) Toss the ball for him as a reward the second he does it. If he balks (or barks), drop the ball and walk away again. It might be frustrating at first, but if you’re consistent your dog will soon learn that being bossy isn’t a viable play strategy. (That’s my client Buddy the Fetching Fanatic.) As your dog gets better with his sit-for-play skills, make him hold the sit for a few seconds before you toss the ball. Patience can be learned, Grasshoppers. Is your dog fetch-obsessed? Leave a comment a tell me about it!
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