Can all dogs fetch? Even non-mouthy dogs can be taught.


In a past life, I think Mr. N would have made a good circus dog. Assuming he didn’t try to chase the elephants.

He likes learning tricks (and he’s good at it!). And he loves being the center of attention. But there was one area of tricks that was totally closed to us. Retrieving tricks. A lot of tricks are built around your dog fetching on cue.

Most of the advice I came across suggested teasing your dog with the object and they would try to mouth it. Well Mr. N wouldn’t even do that. I would throw a toy and he would look at me with this quizzical look on his face.

I stumbled across this Youtube video for dogs that takes a different approach to teaching them how to fetch. It’s meant especially for dogs that don’t naturally mouth things. You use dog chews to teach them how to mouth on cue and transfer that to a wooden stick.

I used a bully stick because that’s what we had in the house. Mr. N would pick up the bully stick with his mouth. I would click and treat. We did a few rounds of this and then I tried giving him a bamboo skewer. And then he started mouthing that and picking it up.

This video is amazing. For people who are having trouble getting their dogs to even mouth things, I would definitely recommend this.

Something clicked in his brain. Within a day or two, he started bringing back objects and releasing them to my hand. We’ve been working with different objects and he totally gets the concept now.

I thought it was going to take us weeks if not months for him to learn how to put away toys in his toy box. And just a couple of days after we started working on fetch, he figured it out.

Yesterday, we were cleaning out objects from under the couch. I was holding a sock in my hand when Mr. N took it from me unexpectedly. I started laughing when I realized he thought we were going to start training and he wanted me to throw it for him.

Next on our agenda… a handstand maybe?

What training successes or triumphs have you had with your dog(s) or other pets?




35 Responses

  1. Cascadian Nomads Bethany

    July 7, 2014 9:54 pm

    Way to go Mr. N! I have heard a lot of people say "my dog won't fetch" but I have spoken with many, many trainers who say to never give up! I am glad you didn't and I didn't either. Wilhelm has grown quite fond of fetching lately too! "Take" is a horse a different color though… *sigh*

  2. Susan Willett

    July 8, 2014 10:18 pm

    That's so funny. My terrier Tucker was born knowing how to fetch. He loves playing ball. Jasper and Lilah know what to do and will do it, but don't understand what all the fuss is about. "If you wanted the darn thing, why do you keep throwing it?"

    –Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

  3. Jen deHaan | |

    July 9, 2014 3:33 am

    Oooh, yes, a handstand! Mort and Mr. N can be circus clowns together 🙂

    Great video – it's so hard to get a toy drive into any dog to pick something up and take it somewhere else. Tig still only does this when jealousy kicks in. Most of my attempts to get her excited about things, or even remotely interested, have got her worried that something is the matter with me 🙂 Mort makes up for that 100-fold.

  4. Donna weliveinaflat

    July 9, 2014 10:05 am

    This is awesome!! Donna fetches at home easily, so I've not really worked with her on the keeping her toys in the bin part after she fetches it… I really need to ramp up on it!

  5. Snoopy@snoopysdogblog

    July 10, 2014 2:40 pm

    Mr N sure is clever!! I'm not big into the whole fetch thing and I certainly don't put my toys away, you're showing me up dude! Let's hope my Mum doesn't see your video or I'll be getting chores! 🙂

    I hope you're having a fun day,

    Your pal Snoopy 🙂

  6. MattieDog

    January 29, 2016 2:14 pm

    We'll have to try that – Shih Tzu's have personalities that tend to do what they want when they want to…. food works on one of our pups, the others – they just sort of stare at you! Ha! Mr N is so awesome – makes me wanna snuggle him!

  7. Sadie and Co.

    January 30, 2016 3:31 am

    I'm so glad Mr. N. figured it out! Reese will play fetch 24-7 and LOVES getting whatever it is that is thrown. She does not get that she is supposed to bring it back to me in order for it to be thrown again! She will take it to a 'chosen' spot and I am expected to go to it and throw it from that spot. Henry will play when he's 'in the mood.'

  8. Cathy Armato

    January 31, 2016 3:06 am

    These are great videos. Good fetching job Mr. N! I have to try this method, my dogs will Take It & Drop it but won't fetch or hold items in their mouth for longer periods of time.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

  9. Cathy Armato

    January 31, 2016 3:46 am

    These are great videos. Good fetching job Mr. N! I have to try this method, my dogs will Take It & Drop it but won't fetch or hold items in their mouth for longer periods of time.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them


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