Step 1: Find a toy your dog is extremely interested in. This may differ with each dog. Some dogs love Frisbees, other love balls. I’ve even known a dog to love an old water bottle. If your dog is not big on any toys, try this trick:
Take a tennis ball and make a small slit in it. Put a few treats in the ball. Let your dog smell the ball, and possibly even drop a few treats from the ball. This should get his interest.
If your dog is easily distracted, refer to the guide “Give Your Dog Toys He Will Love.”
Step 2: Make sure your dog is ready and willing to play. A tired dog will not necessarily want to fetch. Try playing a few games with the dog and the toy first. Tug of war is a good game to start with.
Step 3: Start with small distances. Not all dogs can or will run the length of the yard for a toy. You have to let them know that it’s really fun to do, so we start small. Practice in one room, with few distractions. Throw the toy a few feet from you. Your dog should go over to it.
Step 4: Praise, praise, praise. Praise your dog as he picks up the toy. Really praise him as he brings it towards you. Clap your hands, jump up in down, call out, “Here Fido! Good boy, Fido! Who’s a good puppy?” Make him want to come to you. Really praise him when he gets to you. If you used the stuffed tennis ball, give him a treat at this point.
Step 5: Rinse and repeat. Keep your dog interested in the toy. Play with him when he returns it. Do NOT let him become distracted with something (or someone) else. Really help him think that the toy you have is the best in the world.