How to Teach a Dog to Fetch a Ball

Teaching your dog to fetch a ball should be the easiest thing. To learn how to teach a dog to fetch a ball is more about learning how to play with your dog. Sometimes it is straightforward, and dogs just play without any previous training.

However, most dogs are not as instinctively programmed to play with you such games. Some dogs just stare at you as you throw the ball, not knowing what you expect from them. Others are a good catcher, but the dropping part is not precisely their best attribute. In such cases, you will need these tips on how to teach a dog to fetch a ball.

Start by Picking the Right Ball

Not all toys or balls are okay for the fetch game with dogs. Here are some tips to pick the right ball:

  • Do not pick anything green. The best choice of colors is dark blue or white. Other suitable colors can be black for greenish places and purple or pink for sand or concrete. All these colors will create a good color contrast that your dog will see easily.
  • Look for an appropriate size. This may change depending on your dog’s breed. The smallest size is a tennis ball, while the largest size depends on what can your dog actually fetch.
  • The consistency of the ball is important. Most pets will have no issues bringing any ball, but some others are going to feel more comfortable with a softer ball.

Once you have the right ball at hand, let’s start with learning how to teach a dog to fetch a ball.

Start by Teaching Basic Commands

The best to teach your dog the fetch game is to start with the basics. These are the commands he must know by the moment you want to play fetch with him:

  • Come
  • Drop
  • Sit

Once he knows these commands, it will be easier to teach him a new command. It can be catch or simply fetch

How to Teach a Dog to Fetch a Ball

Find your Starting Point

Try to play with your dog and find your point of departure. That way it will be easier to set the initial point on how to teach a dog to fetch a ball. Try to play with him naturally and observe his behavior. Here are the possibilities:

  • When you show the ball, but it has no interest in it. Then, you have to get its attention towards the object first.
  • When you throw the ball, it just stares and doesn’t In this case, start slow. Instead of throwing the ball, put it down, give the command, if necessary, give some guidance, move one step back, and praise him as he takes it.
  • When it gets the ball, but he stays with it. Then, use the come command. Your pet should go back to you.
  • When it brings the ball, your pet is not releasing the ball. In this case, use the drop command. Your pet should let go the ball.


As you are teaching the fetch game, there are some crucial things you must not do:

  • Do not chase your dog. Let him come. If it is necessary, move a step back and reinforce the come command.
  • Do not try to take the ball by force. Let him drop. If it is necessary, move a step back and reinforce the drop command.
  • Do not move as if you threw the ball while your dog is learning to play. That will be confusing and is going to delay the process.

Finally, be careful with rewards. Use them only on how to teach a dog to fetch a ball if that is your objective. Give clear instructions and don’t give any dog threat if he is not following them all.

Dog Health

To play your dog is important to promote his health. The fetch game is an excellent way to spend the extra energy your pet has. It is also the right approach promoting his good health. With 15 minutes of playing fetch, he will have done lots of exercise without exhausting you.


Fun / Interesting Dog Facts

Some colors look differently at the sight of a dog. That is the case of orange. Dogs cannot see orange and see it as a different tone of green. If you try to play the fetch game on a green lawn with an orange ball, your dog might have some troubles seeing the ball, making the fetch game harder.

Another interesting fact is that despite what most people may think, the fetch game is not precisely instinctively to dogs. Most movies and media make us believe that they have it coded in their DNA. The truth is that most dogs need to learn to fetch a ball, making the knowledge of how to teach a dog to fetch a ball very valuable.

Leave a comment