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3 Tips To Teach Your Great Dane To Play Fetch

Have a Great Dane that just won’t play fetch? Maybe he doesn’t like to chase a ball, or maybe he chases it but has no intention of bring it back to you – it’s much more fun to play keep away! For many dogs, regardless of breed, fetch is not a natural thing, but a game we teach them. The following three tips will help you teach your Great Dane to play fetch.

Image Source: Joshua Ganderson Via Flickr

#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 Great Dane 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 Great Dane 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 dog 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 Great Dane 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 Great Dane 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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Written by Kristina Lotz

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