Why Do Dogs Like To Play Fetch?



Why do dogs like to play fetch? Fetch is many dog's favorite pastimes, and there are many reasons that your dog may love playing this fun game!

So, why does my dog like to play fetch so much?

  • Dog's Athletic Energy
Dogs are natural athletes! They are built to run, herd, retrieve, or swim, so many dogs love to use the athleticism that comes with dog sports like fetch. They also like to show off to their humans and show how fast and strong they are.
  • Our Undivided Attention
Dogs love their humans so much, and they long for times with you where you give them your undivided attention. When fetching, your dog loves the attention that they are getting and the fact that they are the center of your world for that time.
  • Burn Off Energy
Most dogs have a lot of energy and need to be active. Playing fetch is a good way to release that energy. A high energy dog, such as breeds like shepherds, collies, sheepdogs, and retrievers, need a lot of play and walks to get all their energy out. 
  • Appease Their Instincts
Certain dogs have been specifically bred to retrieve things (like Labrador retrievers and golden retrievers). In contrast, other dogs were bred to herd other animals like sheep and cattle (for example, collies, shepherds, and sheepdogs), and fetching is a great way for them to appease their instincts. 
  • Exercise
All dogs need exercise. While your dog can get exercise from activities like walks, jogs, or hikes with you, playtime is another excellent way for dogs to get exercise. And fetch makes exercise so much fun for your dog.


Busy? Get Your Hands Paws On The Answers Quickly…


What Kind Of Dogs Like To Play Fetch?


Any dog can learn to play fetch! Retrieving and herding dogs seem to be born with the skills to fetch, and that is because they have been bred specifically to fetch and pick up things. Here are some dog breeds that most love to play fetch:
  • Border Collies
  • Labrador Retriever
  • Golden Retriever
  • English Springer Spaniel
  • English Whippets
  • Australian Shepherds
  • Shorthaired Pointers
  • Standard Poodles


Why Does My Dog Constantly Want To Play Fetch?


Dogs, like humans, repeat activities that they find enjoyable. So if your dog really loves to fetch, they may want to keep playing it all day long. 
Fetch Obsession
Why is my dog so obsessed with playing fetch? If your dog is obsessed with fetch, and is not interested in playing with other people or toys, then it may be "fetch obsession." If a dog becomes obsessive with fetch, their playtime will interfere with their daily functioning and be all that they are interested in. A dog may develop an obsession if they are feeling anxious. 
This form of dog OCD is identified by the inability to distract your dog from fetching, obsessively guarding their fetch toy (like their ball, stick, plush toy, etc.), or experience signs of anxiety while not playing.
If you believe that your dog has a fetch obsession, create a routine for your dog and reward them with treats, praise, or other toys when they are not playing fetch. It is also a good idea to contact your veterinarian, a behavioral therapist, or a trainer for additional help.


Is Fetch Good Exercise For Dogs? 


Yes, it can be if it is played right. However, it can also have some adverse effects on dogs.


It is a great way to give your dog their needed exercise, and it is a fun way to do so.
Burns Energy
Dog sports, like fetch, are an excellent way for your dog to channel their energy.


Risks: Why fetch is bad for dogs?

It is essential that when you play fetch with your dog that you notice their cues as to when they are getting tired. Signs that your dog may be getting tired include yawning, excessive panting, not responding to commands that they know, and excessive thirst. 
Joint Strain
It may be a good time to stop with fetch playtime for the day as not to overtire them or put too much strain on their joints. The pressure on joints can come from repetitive strain.
As mentioned previously, fetch can turn into an obsession for some dogs, which may lead to a form of OCD, known as Canine Obsession Disorder. 


How Long Should I Play Fetch With My Dog?


It all depends on your dog's breed (retrievers need more exercise than pugs, for example), the age of your dog, and their overall health. Most experts recommend that dogs get between 30 minutes and 2 hours of exercise every day, and that can come from fetch and things like walks, runs, hikes, or swims. 

How long should I play fetch with my puppy?

Every puppy is different, and some puppies need more exercise than others. Still, it is recommended for younger dogs that they have multiple, short playtimes throughout the day, so limit fetch to a few minutes at a time for your puppy. 
In general, your puppy should play about 5 minutes per month of their age, but again, this depends on the dog's breed.


Why Do Some Dogs Not Like To Play Fetch?


Personal Preference
Some dogs love to fetch, while others do not seem too interested in the game. It's just like any sport for humans- some people love playing soccer, while others have zero interest. Dogs have individual personalities, with different preferences, just like us. 
Some dogs may not like fetch due to genetics- some breeds are more fond of playing fetch than others. 
Don't Like The Fetch Object
Your dog may not like fetch if they do not like the object they are supposed to be fetching. Sometimes dogs don't like the feel of a particular item, like the weight, texture, or shape, and therefore are not interested in fetching it. 
Losing Interest In The Game
Suppose a dog seems to be losing interest in fetch, then it may be because they are not getting enough positive reinforcement from you while playing. If you use a lot of positive action, tone, and language and they are still not interested, it could be that they are merely bored or not interested in the game anymore. 
Not Sure How To Play It Properly
Some dogs do not know how to play fetch! Teach your dog how to play and make sure to use a lot of positive reinforcement and show them how much fun the game can be.


How Do I Teach My Dog To Fetch?


1. First, figure out which toy your dog likes the best! Some dogs prefer balls, while others like plush toys or rope toys. You want to use whichever toy they like best so that they are willing to play fetch with it with you. You will also need some of your dog's favorite treats to reward them when they do the behavior you ask.
2. Place the toy in front of you and wait until your dog puts the toy in their mouth. As soon as they put  it in their mouth, give them one of their favorite, yummy treats. 
3. Put the toy in front of you again, but put your hand out under the toy when they pick it up and tell them to drop it in your hand. As soon as they drop the toy in your hand, give them their reward.
If your dog is unwilling to give it back to you, once the toy is in their mouth, and your hand is under their mouth, put the treat near their nose. This will encourage them to drop the toy.
When they give you the action that you want (in this case, putting the toy in your hand), make sure to say "fetch" to make a connection between the action and the word. If your dog has been trained with a clicker, you can use a clicker instead of the word "fetch."
4. Put the toy on the floor in front of you and take a step back from your dog. Place your hand out and encourage them to bring the toy to you. As soon as they give you the toy, reward them with their treat, and say "fetch."
5. Keep increasing the distance, moving further away in small increments at a time. It is essential to reward them as soon as they give you the toy to make the connection that this is what you want from them.
6. Eventually, you will be able to throw the toy to your dog, and they will return it to you when you say "fetch!"
When teaching your dog a new trick, such as fetch, remember to have patience. Dog training take a while, but they will get it! Give them lots of praise and show them how excited you are when they do the correct action. This will encourage them to want to keep playing fetch with you.
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Disclaimer: Each dog is different, and every circumstance is different. All efforts have been made to provide accurate information. However, it is not provided by a qualified Veterinarian, Veterinarian Surgeon, or Behaviorist. The information provided is purely educational. The information should not be used as an alternative or substitute for medical care. If you have any health or medical concerns, contact a qualified Veterinary Surgeon or Veterinarian immediately.


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