Teach Your Boston Terrier to Fetch
Posted by Lu
Lets start out by playing a simple and fun game. In a small room free from any distractions, sit down on the floor with your dog. Have a small squeaky toy in your hand and some tasty treats in your other hand. Ideally the toy will be one that your puppy has shown interest in. Now toss the toy a small distance (still within your reach) from yourself and let your puppy pounce on it.
When your puppy grabs the toy you should reach out and take it from his/her mouth while saying “good puppy”. As soon as you have hold of the toy you need to replace it by feeding a treat to your dog.
Practice this simple game in 5 minute blocks, at least a couple of times a day. This is the crucial first step towards developing a solid and reliable fetch or retrieve in your dog.
Now we will continue the game we played in Step 1 but this time we will add a release word or cue to the exercise. As you are taking the toy from your puppy’s mouth (or when he drops it in your lap) say “thank you” or “thanks” and immediately give the treat and praise – just as you did in Step 1. Repeat this process many times. You are building an association in your dog’s mind between your “thanks” cue and the act of him giving the toy to you.
Now we can slowly (very slowly) increase the distance of the retrieve. Start out by throwing the toy a couple of metres from you – hopefully your dog will continue to pounce on the toy and bring it back to you for his treat. Continue just as you have been, say your release cue “thanks” and give the treat for every successful retrieve.
Important: If at any time your dog does not bring the toy back to you do not chase him or make a fuss. Simply sit and wait patiently until he brings it back to you – then treat as normal.
Continue practicing this game of fetch over and over. Repetition and positive reinforcement are the keys to building and strengthening a solid retrieve. Remember to only ever treat and praise your puppy when the retrieve object gets delivered directly to you.
Fetch is great. I use the game regularly with a large beach ball. My dog and I continue this for about 30 minutes or so in the evening and then my Boston Terrier has no trouble settling down for the night. So teach your Boston Terrier to fetch and have a little fun with it.