The game of fetch is not only fun for you and your dog, but it’s a top-notch way for your dog to get some great exercise. The most common complaint pet parents have is their dog refusing to give up their ball or toy during their fetch time.

Watch this clip on how San Diego Dog Trainer, David Greene, taught pup Hudson how to drop his ball during a game of fetch with a treat swap. Below, you’ll also find the steps you can take toward fetch success.

Find The Right Place

Before playing a game of fetch with your dog, find the right spot. What we mean by this is making sure the surface is soft and not hard. For example, avoid concrete and other hard surfaces that could injure a dog’s paw pads. Instead, find a grassy area. Artificial turf on a cool day or with shade cloth hanging above to keep the turf at a comfy temp is also a good choice.

The Treat Swap

Be it a toy or ball, it’s no fun at all when your dog doesn’t want to drop their toy but instead decides to play a game of “catch me if you can.” In other instances, a dog may think, “Hey, I have the toy, so the game is over, right?”

A way to encourage a dog to retrieve their toy back to you is to have something of value like their favorite, tasty treat waiting for them when they return.

After you toss the ball (or toy), and your dog grasps it in their mouth, call them back to you using the command of either “come” or “here.” When they come to you, have them in either a stand or sit position. They will instinctively release their toy when they get a whiff of their treat.

Repeat this several times until your dog understands the mental gymnastics of the exercise.

New Verbal Command Time

Once your dog understands the process of releasing the toy for a treat, add a verbal cue such as “Out” or “Drop It.” Remember to stay consistent with the verbal cue, and don’t change it — this will help avoid confusion for your dog.

Practice this every day.

After your dog starts responding well to this “Drop It” and “Treat Swap” exercise, begin testing the skill days later. For example, every other time, use the “Drop It” command without a treat. When a treat isn’t involved, praise your dog for a job will done.

The end goal is having your dog drop their toy when asked to do so without a treat.

Want More Training For Your Dog? We Can Help!

Performance K9 Training & Boarding has helped pet parents with their dogs with an array of obedience skills, including skills under distraction. Contact us today to learn more!