Puppy Training How To Track And Fetch
These are just two things you can do to build rapport between you and your puppy and at the same time teach him to respond positively to learning so that his advanced puppy training will be easy.
Tracking: Puppy tracking is a wonderful way to get you and your puppy out for a walk. Tracking is natural for a dog and is relatively easy to teach, at least for short distances.
- Find a park or a nice open area. The initial site does not need to be very big. Tie your puppy to something and let him watch you “lay a track” by placing tidbits on the ground one foot apart in a straight line for ten feet. Also let him watch you put his favorite toy at the end of the track.
- Walk back through the same track to the puppy. Take him to the first piece of food, point to it and say “Track.” Encourage him to put his head down and keep it down by pointing to the next piece of food. He will quickly start smelling the food from piece to piece! When he reaches the toy, praise him and play with the puppy and the toy. Repeat this exercise three times.
- If you practice two or three times a week on short tracks, he will become reliable pretty quickly. As his nose keeps to the ground, spread the treats a little farther apart each time you “track.” When he can go fifty yards in one direction, lay another track at a 45-degree angle to the right or left. You should also have someone else start laying the tracks so that the puppy will learn to track different people. Do not try to hurry things along by going too far too fast or by making too sharp turns.
Fetching: Puppy fetching is important and helpful. It both uses energy and teaches the puppy to return to you. Again, this exercise will help as a basis for more advanced puppy training later on.
- Find a toy that your puppy really likes. Sometimes this can be difficult if your puppy is the type who does not like to play (and there are those types, it’s up to you to teach them to play). A little agility work can loosen up a reluctant puppy, and when they are all wound up they are more apt to fetch. Try using a soft sock or small stuffed toy.
- Put your puppy on a twenty-foot line. Place the toy in front of your puppy and back up, waving the toy gently on the floor as you move back. When the puppy first grasps the toy, tell him “Good boy!” and very gently tug it for just a second to make him hold it (no tug of war). Let go and praise him as he carries it. If he drops it, repeat the process.
- After a few successes, throw the toy a few feet from the puppy and tell him “Fetch.” When he gets it, praise verbally and let him carry it for a few seconds. Gently pull him to you (do not make him drop the toy by tugging too hard). When he reaches you, offer him a piece of treat for the toy. When he drops the toy, give him the treat. Repeat until he understands what you want. You will both greatly benefit from this game!