How to Teach a Dog to Play Fetch Using Clicker Training

Clicker training is a great way to teach fetch.

Positive reinforcement techniques work the best when it comes to training your dog to do things that you want him to do that he doesn't do naturally. Believe it or not, the game of fetch can be one of those things. Not all dogs naturally know how to play fetch. However, the game is a great way for dogs to get exercise, spend time with you, and enjoy the outdoors.

So if you find yourself needing to train your dog to play fetch and you're looking for a great positive reinforcement technique to use, consider clicker training.

What Is Clicker Training?

Clicker training is a technique where a dog is taught to associate a particular sound with a positive result. In this case, a clicker is used to make a noise when the dog does the correct thing. Because you can click the device faster than you can give your dog a treat or praise, in most cases, the clicker works better to reinforce the appropriate behavior. It's an almost instant indication to the dog that he's done the right thing.

Getting Started with Clicker Training

Before you can begin using clicker training to teach your dog to play fetch, he must learn what the clicker sound is and what it means. Start by getting a good clicker and pairing a reward with its sound in your dog's mind. If your dog loves treats, you can use that as a reward. If he prefers a certain toy, you can give him a short play session for his reward. Just be sure to click every time you reward. Once your dog responds by paying attention to you every time you click, he is ready to start clicker training. You can learn more in the overview article on clicker training.

Using Clicker Training to Teach Your Dog Fetch

Once your dog understands what the clicker means, you can start using it for training. Everything from "Sit," and "Stay," to "Heel," and "Come," can be trained with the help of a clicker. The following sequence can be used specifically for training your dog to fetch using a clicker.

Tips for Training Sessions

Below are a few general tips for teaching your dog to play fetch.

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