Fetch is a great way to give your Boston Terrier some exercise even if you cannot physically run around. It’s also a useful “trick” that can be transferred to other things such as fetching the mail, your slippers, or even finding the remote you misplaced, again. Since they are not natural retrievers, it’s common to run into problems once your Boston has caught the ball – most prefer to run after it and then play with it by themselves. The following three tips will help you teach your Boston Terrier to play fetch.
#1 – Start With The End
In dog training, we call this “back chaining.” Back chaining a behavior means you start with the last piece of the behavior. So in this case you would start by teaching your Boston to pick up a toy and place it in your hand. This is done easiest through shaping with a clicker.
#2 – Use A Special Toy
At first, it can help to use a special toy your Boston Terrier loves and only use it for this training session. This helps for two reasons. One, dogs don’t generalize their learning so using the same object each time will help your Boston recall the lesson from last time so you can move on quicker. And two, if it’s something he really likes he will be more likely to want to pick it up and stay focused on it for the training.
#3 – Build Up Distance
Once your Boston Terrier is picking up that toy and placing it in your hand, you can start to toss it for him to “fetch.” But don’t chuck it as far as you can the first time. Instead, build up distance by first just tossing it a foot away from you. If your Boston immediately picks it up and puts it in your hand, you know he has the concept and you can increase the distance of the toss. If he fails three times in a row, however, you may need to shorten the distance or go back and reinforce the picking up and placing in your hand some more.
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