Today I took Jack and Cali to the baseball fields to play some ball. As I’m sure you all have noticed, dogs LOVE playing this game. What most people forget is that fetching is chasing AND bringing back the ball. What is necessary for a good game of fetch is a good retrieving drive. Practically any dog are going to chase after something, but only a handful are going to actually fetch it for you. Playing fetch is one of the most essential dog activities that will truely tire your dog out, so you can enjoy a night out or to yourself without, feeling guilty you hadn’t stimulated your pooch!
Most people like to use what’s commonly known as a “Dog Ball Thrower”, such as in the photo posted below. I personally ( because I am a tennis player ) enjoy using my tennis racquet and balls. The point the game is to tire the dog out, so in order to do this make sure you have a field that has enough space so the dog can easily run between 10-20 yards with out feeling constraint.
First, you always want to make the dog patiently wait for the ball to be thrown ( often tell them to sit ) when they have calmed down from excitement throw them the ball in a direction that goes both far and fast enough that they can catch up with the ball, but not enough so that they get tired. You want to give the ball enough momentum that the dog must run an exceptional distance to catch up with the ball, but not far enough that it gives up of exhaustion. Once you get the hang to what throwing distance is most appropriate for your canine, do this several time ( 10-15 ), I promise your dog will be happy as a clam and sleep like a baby. * One helpful tip is every now and then change up throwing ball in mid air into throwing some grounders on the ground. The dogs get stimulated on both techniques.
Sporting dogs (retrievers, setters, spaniels, etc) in particular excel at this game, because they’ve been selectively bred for their working drives and retrieving abilities. These kind of dogs usually love carrying things in their mouths (my dogs always have to have something in theirs 24/7) so naturally fetch is a great game for them. Other breeds enjoy the chase, but need to be trained how to retrieve the ball as that behavior is not instinctual in them.
Dogs that actually do fetch enjoy it as a form of exercise, a way to bond with their owners, and in some dogs like my spaniels, it’s a shadow of what they were bred to do so of course they’re going to love it.