Pit Bulls have a lot of energy and love a good game. Tugging with a dog as big as a Pit Bull can be hard on the body – my little Sheltie has pulled out my ribs so imagine what a bigger dog can do to those of us with joint issues! Fetch is great for those who are not strong enough for more physical games. Not good at throwing? Trying using a Chuckit or hitting the ball with a racket to get it to go further. Some Pitties like to chase the ball, but then are not keen on bringing it back, which ruins the game. The following three tips will help you teach your Pit Bull 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 Pit Bull 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 Pit Bull 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 Pitty 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 Pit Bull 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 Pit Bull 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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