Fetch is a great game for Huskies because it allows them to run to their heart’s content without you getting exhausted. Even if you have had a long day at work, throwing a ball isn’t that hard. But since Huskies are mischievous and love to play, it can be hard to get them to bring the ball back – they enjoy running around with the ball in their mouth or playing “keep away” from you instead. Or, maybe they bring it back but won’t give the toy to you. If you are struggling with this, the following three tips will help you teach your Husky 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 Husky 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 Husky 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 Husky 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 Husky 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.