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How can I teach my dog to fetch metal objects with pleasure?

For many dogs this is one of the hardest exercises in the obedience programme. It's important that you never force your dog to hold an object or that you put it in his mouth. This will most likely have an adverse effect. There are several animal friendly ways of solving this problem.
  1. Warm the object up by storing it inside your clothing. Also rub it between your hands; this will put your smell to the object. A dog will pick up a warm object sooner than it will pick up a cold one.

  2. Measure the width of your dog's mouth (i.e. measure which part of the object it should put in his mouth). Wrap this part with rope or masking tape (used with painting). You can now teach the dog by playing with it, that the object is fun. E.g. through the object away and try to fetch it before your dog does; this way you will make him interested. When the dog fetches the object correctly (he will never have a piece of steel in his mouth), remove the rope/tape bit by bit. Remove the part that is in contact with his teeth at the very end of the process. If he refuses to hold the object just take a step back and wrap the part again.
It's very important that you freak out every time he even approaches the object and tries to get it. Praise him constantly for holding and don't say a word if he lets go of it, even if it was a perfect retrieve. If you did you would reward him for letting go, so he will let go sooner the next time to get his reward sooner and drops the object in front of you.

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This page last modified: Friday, 01-Aug-2008 17:07:12 CEST
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