Dogs as household helpers: basics for fetching

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a daily newspaper, a leash, or a bread bag: dogs can theoretically fetch all objects. For this to work in practice, you as the owner are needed. With patience and training, you can easily teach your four-legged friend to fetch.

It’s pretty handy when dogs are used in everyday life
For example, they become household helpers and fetch the newspaper on command. They love it when they have to bring objects in their nature. However, teaching them this requires regular training, time, and even more patience.

Teaching retrieval: Finding the right words

You must teach your four-legged friend to fetch with simple commands. “Pull!”, “Take!”, “Get!” would be ideal. Or “Bring!”. However, decide on command so as not to confuse your dog. It would help if you also worked in several small steps because even intelligent, trainable dogs need some time to internalize what they have learned. First, decide on an object you want to work with, for example, a newspaper. However, a dummy works just as well.

Practice creates masters

It is easiest if you first fold the newspaper to a suitable size and hold it in your hand. When your dog sits in front of you, have the newspaper in front of his mouth; for example, give him the command “Take!” and lead the paper to his snout. Your four-legged friend should quickly understand what you want from him and bite. If he does everything right, reward him with a treat. Over time, you can also stop feeding the newspaper to your mouth and even gain a small distance from your dog. This should be enough for starters; after all, your faithful friend should enjoy retrieving.

Regular training for dogs pays off.
Repeat the exercise the following day. If your dog remembers what you learned, take it a step further: place the newspaper on the floor, point to it, and say, “Take!” If your four-legged friend approaches the newspaper and puts it in his mouth on his own, praise him happily.

Once your dog has internalized this action, he should learn to drop the object on command. Your fur nose will already listen to the order “Off!” in the best case. Then the following step should be a piece of cake for him: put the newspaper on the ground, the point at it, and say “Take!” to your dog. Move towards the object and take it in its mouth. After that, say “Off!” to make him drop it again. If he has done all this perfectly, an extensive reward awaits him.

When your dog can’t get enough

Once dogs have understood the principle, it can be applied to any other object – even if it may take a little practice repeatedly. Dog breeds that are particularly fond of retrieving, such as Labradors or Golden Retrievers, can be challenged even further by teaching them the word for each item. So if you say “Newspaper!” say, by the end of the training, your dog should know what object to retrieve.

You can find more tips on this topic in our guide “Teaching the dog to fetch: Tips.”

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