Playing with a stick is not just fun. The ability to fetch a thrown object is one of the basic skills that a dog must possess. The success of training in this case depends not only on the character and abilities of the animal itself, but also on the patience and knowledge of the owner. In this article, we will talk about how to teach a dog to bring a stick or toy, about the problems that the owner may face and how to solve them.
Teaching a dog to play with a stick is not very difficult, as most of them love this kind of entertainment and grab everything on the fly. The general course of training includes aporting, which differs from ordinary entertainment in that the pet performs all actions exclusively at the command of its owner. The whole process of the game and, accordingly, training, can be divided into three stages.
1. Teaching the dog to take a stick or toy
The goal of the first stage is to teach your pet to take the object and hold it until you give the command “Give”.
It is recommended that you practice the exercise where there are no other animals or other distractions, so that all of the animal’s attention is focused on you. If the dog is still poorly obedient to you, take it on a long leash.
Offer the dog an object – it can be a stick (make sure that it does not have splinters and sharp knots that can injure the mouth), a special projection device or a toy. Little tease your pet with a thing, and after he grabs her, praise.
Then, after giving the order “Give”, take the item, praise the dog again and give it a treat.
All this time, the treat should be kept unnoticed by the dog, otherwise it will be distracted by him and will not learn the lesson.
2. We learn to carry a thing
Before teaching a dog to run after a stick, you must instill in her the skill of moving with an object in her teeth… Give her a thing, command “Near” and walk 5-6 steps with her. When you stop, grab the stick, say “Give” and reward your pet when he hands over the item.
If the dog has not been trained in the command “Near”, you can take it on a leash in advance, then put a thing in the teeth and go forward, slightly pulling it along.
If the pet dropped an object while moving, do not get angry, not all at once. It can be difficult for a dog to do two things at the same time, so just stop him, tell him to pick up the object again and repeat the exercise.
3. Learn to take a stick from the ground
The trainer’s task at this stage is to teach the dog to independently raise a stick from the ground. To do this, demonstrate the stick to your pet, make sure that he fixes it with his gaze, and then throw the stick a short distance… Point to the lying stick with your hand and, having commanded “Bring” (or “Aport”), go to it with the dog.
When you come up, repeat the command. If the dog does not understand what is required of him, move the thing with your leg and command again. When the pet picks up the object, walk with it a few steps, grab the stick and say “Give”. After the dog releases the stick, praise and treat him with a treat.
When the dog has learned to do the exercises described above, send her for a stick, and stay a little behind yourself… When the pet grabbed the stick, call him up with the command “Come to me” or pull him to you with a leash, then take the thing and encourage.
Be sure to pick up the object with your hand so that the dog does not get used to throwing it to the ground.
The steps above demonstrate how to train your dog to bring a toy or a stick if it doesn’t know how to do it at all. In most cases, you will not need some of the actions described, since pets love the game very much and perform it instinctively. However, when trying to train a dog to bring a stick, the owner can face several problems.
Potential learning problems
The pet refuses to take the item. When faced with such a situation, do not try to force the object into his mouth – this will cause a negative reaction. Instead, gently place the item in the dog’s teeth and gently squeeze the jaw with your fingers for 1-2 seconds so that it does not have time to spit it out. After that, quickly pick up the item and encourage. Repeat the exercise several times, gradually increasing the amount of time the dog must hold on to the stick.
The dog refuses to give the thing. It also happens that the pet loves to play with a stick, but refuses to give it away. In this case, the following guidelines will help you:
- Wait until the dog is busy playing with a stick (or toy). Take a stick, walk up to your pet and wave it. When the dog grabs the stick, strictly say “Give”, take the thing, and then immediately return it back;
- If the pet still does not give up the object, then you need to gently stroke or shake it, but strictly repeat the same order. As soon as you feel a loosening of the grip – carefully pull out the stick, praise the animal and immediately return the thing;
- In the early stages of training, treats can be used to get the dog to release the object, but the main positive reinforcement is its return and praise.
You need to practice giving your dog about 3 times a day at long intervals. Later, you should begin to select the stick in those moments when the pet plays alone, gradually increasing the time between the command and the return of the stick.
As you train, you will find that teaching your dog to carry a stick is not that difficult. Remember that patience is the key to the successful mastering of this skill by the dog, so do not rush things, but carefully work out each stage.
Video: how to teach a dog to bring a stick, a toy