Why Do Dogs Love to Play Fetch So Much?

Besides wanting a lot of attention and food, dogs also love playing fun games, like fighting or fetching a ball with their owners.

But why do they do it? Why do dogs love playing fetch so much?

Dogs love to play fetch because it makes them happy and helps them release excessive energy and stress. The other reason they love to play fetch is that chasing things down and bringing them back to their owner is a dog’s genetic predisposition.

This blog post will explain why dogs love to play fetch. We will also cover how to encourage your dog to bring a ball, stick, or frisbee, so let’s keep going…

3 Reasons Why Dogs Love To Play Fetch

Here are the main reasons why playing fetch is often so much fun for most dogs:

1. It Makes Them Happy

One of the fundamental reasons why dogs love playing fetch is because it makes them happy.

It is not a secret that most breeds of dogs love to spend quality time with their owners. For instance, if you are a golden retriever owner, you may find that your dog often loves to give and receive affection from you.

So if you get home from work and find your golden retriever waiting with a rubber toy in its mouth, do not hesitate to take them outside and play fetch with them.

Playing fetch allows you to build and maintain a powerful bond with your dog.

Spending time with your pup makes them feel appreciated and loved, which translates to happiness for both of you.

If your dog is happy, they’re more likely to respond to your commands and maintain good behavior.

WAIT – before you carry on, take a look at the really short but adorable video of a dog playing fetch using a clever machine. Just click the video to start playing:

 

NOTE – Check this post out if you are interested in reading about why dogs like to walk so much.

2. It is in Their Genetic Predisposition to Love Playing Fetch

Most dogs love playing fetch because it is in their nature to do so. This instinct can be traced back to the history of dogs, their evolution from wolves, and the thousands of years of selective breeding by humans.

From wolves, dogs inherited an instinct to chase things. Obviously, for ancient wolves, this was a way of hunting food to stay alive, but with domesticated dogs in modern times, it is much more likely to be done for play and exercise.

Also, humans have bred dogs to be good at herding, hunting, and retrieving prey, and even when not used to hunt or herd, the instinct to chase is still powerful in pet dogs.

So dogs love to play games like fetch due to their wolf ancestors’ instincts for hunting, herding, and retrieving selectively bred into them by humans.

NOTE – You might like to read this post we wrote about why dogs love snow so much.

3. It Relieves a Dog’s High Energy and Stress

Like people, dogs have different character traits, including high energy levels. Dog breeds such as Border Collie and the Siberian Husky are naturally energetic.

By contrast, breeds like the Pug and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel are much more docile.

Highly energetic dogs are almost always ready for action. However, their excessive energy often results in attention-deficit issues, loss of focus, and feelings of agitation.

To avoid such issues, these dogs need a significant amount of exercise regularly, and that’s where fetch comes into play.

Fetch play helps quickly tire them out, reducing their energy and tendency to cause mischief. It may also relieve anxiety for your furry friend if they are stressed.

NOTE – You might find this post useful, looking at why dogs go crazy after a bath and get zoomies.

How to Train Your Dog to Play Fetch

Fetch play comes naturally to many breeds, especially dogs bred for retrieve games, such as  Golden Retrievers, Spaniels, and Labradors.

But pretty much any breed can be taught to play fetch, albeit some individual dogs never seem to take to it.

If your dog does not know how to fetch, you should teach them, especially if they’re a highly energetic breed. It is a really useful and effective way of getting them some exercise and tiring them out.

However, you must use the proper methods because lousy training techniques, such as scolding, can leave your dog anxious or feeling neglected.

So, how should you teach your dog to fetch a ball, stick, or frisbee?

Well, the basics are obvious. You teach your dog to play fetch by consistently making them practice chasing after an object and bringing it back.

You should try to do this for about ten minutes every day to get them acquainted with the fetch routine.

But there are some useful tips to make the process easier and more effective. Here are four tips you should follow to teach your dog how to fetch:

1. Choose Suitable Toys and Objects for Fetch

Before fetch training, consider your dog’s age, size, and ability to fetch. If you have a puppy or an older dog, pick a toy or object that will not pose too much of a challenge to them.

Also, remember that some toys may be a choking hazard for puppies.

The perfect toy or object for playing fetch is safe, durable, and ideal for your dog’s age and the size of its mouth.

2. Introduce the Concept of Dropping the Object

It is essential to introduce your dog to a specific toy, whether it’s a tennis ball or a plushie.

  1. First, wave it in front of their face until they get excited and interested in the toy.
  2. Ensure that you give your dog the command “Take it/ grab it” so that they can seize it from your hand.
  3. Wait a few seconds or minutes for the dog to execute the task, and once they do, command them to “drop it.”

Practice these commands until they get accustomed to them, and do as you say.

3. Introduce the Chasing Technique

If your dog is generally speaking lazier and less active, your next goal is to teach them how to chase an object. You can do this by giving them treats when they grab the object.

Use the treat as an incentive for your dog to get active, laying the perfect foundation for training them how to fetch.

4. . Practice the Bait and Switch Method

If your dog loves to chase the toy but fails to return it, introduce the bait and switch technique to encourage them to bring back toys when instructed to fetch.

Here’s how to practice bait and switch:

  1. To start, have two toys at hand and throw the first one, letting the dog chase after it.
  2. Once the dog retrieves the object, get their attention by calling their name and then toss the other toy in their direction. Chances are, your dog will drop the first toy and run to retrieve the second one.
  3. Call their name and give the command “bring it,” prompting them to return with the toy.

Repeating this process will allow your dog to learn how to return the toy, perfecting fetch play.

Final Thoughts On Dogs Loving to Fetch So Much

From the article, you have learned that dogs love to play fetch because:

  • It makes them happy and excited.
  • It is part of their character predisposition.
  • It allows them to relieve anxiety, stress, and high energy.

However, not all dogs naturally know how to play fetch, so your dog might need some training.

Be sure to use relevant commands when training them to fetch the object and encourage them by offering treats when they follow commands.

Most importantly, be consistent with your training methods and frequency, and make the training fun!

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