Created: 21 February 2013
I’d love to play more with my dog, but he doesn’t bring any toy back to me, nor does he drop it.
That sounds like your dog has never been taught to play fetch with you. What’s in it for him? A playful relationship is something you need to nurture. The younger your dog is the easier it will be.
I’d suggest teaching a “release” and “get it” first with several of his toys. That way he is learning and understanding that releasing and giving things (like his toys) up generates even better rewards.
Then, find a short hallway. If you have an open house layout, take your dog someplace he naturally feels comfortable and plays with toys. A distance of six feet or less will do.
It’s your responsibility to build trust and find a toy that your dog deems worthwhile to play this game with. At first you might want to attach a light line on the toy and/or on your dog (taking off with the toy to play keep-away is highly prohibited).
Throw the chosen toy out and be prepared to love him for bringing it back to you. If he doesn’t, pull it back to you and you throw it up and have a party with the toy. Tease him with it and throw it out again. There should be almost no other place for your dog to go – your dog should go after the toy and back to you. Don’t grab at the toy as soon as your dog brings it back. Love and praise the effort for a good 20-30 seconds.
Be emotionally happy about it.
If your dog doesn't release the toy, step away from the fetching game and teach the release separately. There are several ways to gently teach your dog to release the toy. Try presenting another toy of equal or higher value. Or gently grab the toy and your dog’s collar. Simply with a light grasp hang onto both and do not pull, move or show any emotion. As soon as your dog drops the toy smile, and act really excited! Throw the toy immediately after your dog drops it.
Stay in this small area until your dog will play fetch with you. That means your dog fetches several different toys in the small area before you gain distance and move to a more distracting area.
Fetch is a great game you should control. Have fun!