Want to have a better game of fetch with your dog? Try this trainer's clever tip

Puppy lying in grass with toy
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fetch is one of the most-loved games for people to play with their dogs, and it’s easy to see why! You don’t need anything expensive, just a toy or two, and you can play fetch in so many different places.

However, playing fetch comes more naturally to some pups than others – if you don’t feel like your pup has truly got the hang of fetch yet, and you keep throwing the best dog toys to no avail, you’re not alone!

However, expert trainer Zak George has explained how we can improve our games of fetch with our pups in a recent Instagram post, and he’s got some great ideas.

“Fetch can be absolutely magical for so many dogs, but a lot of people are under the impression that dogs just naturally learn how to fetch,” says George, who explains that he has a particular definition of fetch: “Fetch is where your dog chases a toy, immediately picks it up, returns to you with a toy in their mouth in a straight line, properly lets go, and eagerly awaits the next throw.”

He shows footage of his client, Nathan, playing fetch with his dog, Blu, and explains that while Blu’s good when it comes to chasing the toy and bringing it back – albeit sometimes wandering past – he’s not overly bothered about the game. 

“I think we need to try to bring that intensity up a little bit,” he says. George begins playing fetch with Blu, teasing him with the toy to encourage him to focus on it. He throws it a few feet, running behind him but being mindful to keep some distance, and explains, “I want to be the first thing he sees when he turns around, so I can encourage him to come back to me.”

He gets low to the ground, getting Blu to bring the toy directly to him. He explains that by getting down low you’re encouraging your dog to want to come to you. Keep your dog on a leash, too, in case your dog does go straight past you at any point during the session.

Remember, too, not to throw the ball too far. You want to focus on the mechanics of chasing the ball and bringing it back – keep it simple! And, at the same time, George recommends being excited and animated so that your pup wants to be involved. He says, “Dogs really feed off that intensity and excitement, and not everyone is like that, so find your way of doing it. Nobody knows your dog like you do.” Here are 32 ways to build more fun into your dog’s routine for extra tips, too.

It can be easy to think that you’re playing fetch with your dog all wrong, but there might only be a couple of things you need to modify. Why not take things back to basics with George’s advice, and see how you and your pup get on? 

Chuckit! Paraflight Dog Toy 
$4.44 at Chewy

Chuckit! Paraflight Dog Toy
$4.44 at Chewy
Featuring a soft rubber edge that's gentle on your dog's teeth and gums, this durable frisbee uses bright colors to aid visibility and because it floats on water, it can be used in the sea or pool for a splashing good time! 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.