How to Teach Your Dog to Play Fetch

The spring is approaching, which means we’ll be spending more time outdoors enjoying the weather. Why not teach your pup to play fetch? “Fetch” is a good command to learn after “come” and “sit”. We recommend teaching “fetch” to pups as they turn 5-6 months old, once they master a good grip with their favorite toy, ball or stick.


  • Begin the training sessions at home before practicing outside. This way, the learning process will be less distracting for your trainee.

  • Initially, put your pup on a long leash and command to sit by your side. Then, throw a toy within a distance of about 10-15 feet.

  • Wait a few seconds, point out towards the toy and command: “fetch!”.

  • As soon as your dog grabs the object, repeat the command once again and softly pull back the leash. Note, don’t try to force your dog to return, just subtly imply that they should come back.

  • When they return, direct the dog to come around in a circle, and command to sit down.

  • In the meantime, the dog will likely to keep the toy in their mouth. Exchange it for a treat.


After some practice, your dog will come back without you having to pull the leash at all. Slowly increase the time between throwing a toy/ball/stick and saying “fetch!”, as well as the distance of a throw. After your dog learns all the elements of this command on a leash, try doing it leash-free.


Always praise your good boy or good girl to show how proud you are, and don’t forget to give them a well-deserved treat. Observe your puppy closely during the training sessions. Don’t overwhelm them, after all, the training should feel like a fun game to your trainee so 2-3 repetitions of the command per training session would be enough to start with.


Teaching your little friend a few tricks should be essential to any dog owner. For pups, it’s a sign that the owner is concerned, attentive, and loves to spend time with them. Often dogs need a professional trainer’s approach to help memorize the commands. Contact our certified dog trainer Ida for private obedience classes, or check out the group classes scheduled!


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