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Who’s Fetching What? Why Some Dogs Don’t Bring Back the Ball


Everyone knows the game of fetch. It’s fun and a great way for you and your dog to bond. However, sometimes your dog won’t bring the ball or stick back to you. How frustrating! But why is that? Why are some dogs more inclined to bring back the item you throw than other breeds?

Retrievers, for example, were bred to play fetch. Their sole job in the field was to run, grab the animal and run back. Hunting dogs, such as pointers, have a higher hunting drive, however. Their urge is to chase, not return. These breeds can be more stubborn when it comes to playing fetch. It can often be more difficult to train a hunting dog to play fetch. It will take a lot of patience and conditioning from the owner to make this game a true success.

There could be a couple of reasons your dog won’t return the ball. The first reason is to play keep away, says Why Do Dogs. Puppies like to be chased, and dog owners often instill this game in their dogs at a young age. You should teach your dog to drop, however, and don’t play into the chase game. Starting your dog off with proper training at an early age will make it easier to get your dog to play fetch with ease.

Another reason your dog won’t return the ball is because he or she is possessive. If your dog shows guarding behavior or a ball or stick, be wary. They will quickly move away with the ball, and if you show interest in taking the ball away from them, your pet will be more likely to run. It is key to show repetition when trying to deal with a possessive dog. Use positive reinforcement to trade for the ball.

Your dog may also seem to be a half-hearted fetcher, retrieving the item but not bringing it all the way back. Your dog could be dropping the ball before he or she reaches you. Sometimes encouraging before your canine companion reaches you can be misconstrued as praise, making them think bringing the stick or ball close was as good as bringing it to you. Dogs are food focused, as well, and if you have food or treats in your hand, your dog could be more apt to drop the ball and barrel towards the food. It is also a possibility that your dog simply does not know how to run and carry an item, especially if he or she is younger. Last, your dog could just be tired or not want to play.

At Tailwaggers Country Inn, we make sure that your pet has plenty of play time, from chew toys and a swimming area to plenty of fetch time with balls and Frisbees. An active dog is a happy dog, and we believe playtime is important to keeping your dog active and well-behaved. Whether you need to board your pet with us while you’re out of town or want to give them a place to stay during the day with our doggy day care program, your dog will play to their heart’s content! Have any questions? Call us today at 877-774-DOGS!

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