It is extremely useful to teach a pup, in fact any dog a play retrieve. By this I mean to chase a toy and bring it back to us. Most dogs find the game exceedingly rewarding and exciting. It is a great way to burn off excess energy in a controlled manner as well as being a powerful reward when training.
In the film I demonstrate the early stages of teaching a young pup. I am helped by Duff an 8 week old Cocker pup. As a working bred spaniel he possesses, like many dogs a natural , instinctive drive to retrieve. In this session I am merely channeling this behaviour and starting to put commands to behaviour he is already doing naturally. Duff is happy to return with the toy, if you find your puppy doesn’t want to bring it to you attach a line to his collar so you can use it to gently guide him back to you.
• Start in a low distraction environment, you want the puppy to stay focused on the task in hand.
• Pick a toy your pup likes, he will only play with this with you from now on and must not have access to it at any other time.
• Engage him by making the toy come to life.
• Once you have his attention throw it a short distance.
• Let him follow it.
• Once he has picked it up encourage him to return to you.
• Once with you do not try and take the toy from him straight away, instead make a fuss of him praising profusely telling him how clever he is.
• Repeat several times only – you don’t want him getting bored. Finish the game when he is really enjoying himself and he will be even more enthusiastic next time!