Why Do Dogs Like To Play Fetch

Many dogs, especially Labradors, were bred with the intention of helping their human owners retrieve specific items. That implies that many dogs still possess the learned tendency to pursue objects, pick them up in their mouths, and bring them back to you.

Since literally thousands of years ago, this trait has been a fundamental component of what it means to be a dog. Canis familiaris, or a family dog to you and me, was originally domesticated by humans at least 15,000 years ago, when they were taught to assist in food gathering and hunting for the human family.

The dogs chosen to breed and pass on their abilities to their offspring were those that excelled in these retrieving jobs. The descendants of those puppies would then carry on their inherited abilities.

Even while it’s doubtful that your family would take your Lab out on a food hunt like we used to, your dog will still have picked up some of the retrieving skills from their forebears. Naturally, chasing and retrieving are also essential elements of a fruitful game of fetch!

Fetch Makes Dogs Feel Good

Many dogs are likely to become hooked on fetch fast when they are initially exposed to it because they are already good at it due to their innate tendency for chasing and retrieving.

This means that when you play fetch with your dog and you see how much fun they are having, it is because they are able to demonstrate their inherent abilities. When we play fetch, we are merely allowing our dogs to engage in what they do best.

All of these behaviors are self-reinforcing, meaning they make the dog feel good, according to Debbie Jacobs, author of A Guide to Living with and Training a Fearful Dog, who wrote about fetch back in 2012. They don’t require a reward for their actions. Even if you are not paid to play football, you will if you enjoy it. Just doing it feels amazing. Dogs are the same, too.

In contrast to behavioral training, for example, where most dogs begin with no prior knowledge or ability to comply with your directions, fetch enables them to exercise such talents and receive praise while doing so.

Additionally, it’s a terrific type of exercise for your lab, and much like with humans, as they work out, Serotonin is released into the bloodstream by their brains. As a result of their positive feelings, they will naturally want to continue playing.

Quality Time for You and Your Dog

Of course, the fact that fetch gives you and your Lab some quality time together is what really makes everything stand out. For many dogs, getting to spend more time playing with their owner while they run after sticks and Frisbees is a dream come true.

Unlike tug-of-war contests or even training, fetch involves less effort from the human, allowing you to playfully interact with your Lab until they tire. As you instruct your dog to fetch stuff for you in the interactive game Fetch, you solidify your position as the “alpha” and strengthen the link between human and canine.

The majority of people play fetch when they’re at the park, so you can pair this enjoyable, physically demanding game with a lengthy stroll or, if your Lab is feeling very agile, with a few additional training exercises.

Does playing fetch with dogs benefit them?

The true fetching machines are retrievers and working dogs. It should be rather clear why retrievers would want to, well, retrieve. Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, Labradors, and Golden Retrievers all crave it. Border Collies and Australian Shepherds, which are herding breeds, like to “round-up and retrieve” balls or other toys. German shorthair pointers, Rat terriers, English spaniels, and Poodles are examples of hunting dogs that love the pursuing and retrieving aspects of a game of fetch. Sighthounds excel at fetch because they will chase anything that moves! Dogs like Belgian Malinois, German Shepherds, and small Schnauzers that need a little more mental and physical activity often enjoy the thrill of a rousing game of fetch. And I promise that some dogs will fetch solely for our comfort. These individuals will “politely go after the ball, pick it up, or perhaps bring it halfway back to you, but they are then easily distracted because they don’t truly care.

The way a dog will bring the ball (or frisbee, or toy) back to you is interesting. Shake, shred, and “kill it before they bring it back to you,” your little terrier would say. A retriever merely wants to get the ball back so they may enjoy the benefits and let you handle the dirty job. They aren’t interested in killing the “game” (the ball). Certain breeds will want to consume it! And if they don’t find the ball, your German Shorthair pointer won’t even return to you! They mean business.

Fetch offers so many advantages. It’s a wonderful way to strengthen your relationship with your dog. Exercise is beneficial. Additionally, it can improve your dog’s behavior by releasing stored-up energy that might otherwise be used destructively. Finally, it establishes you as the “alpha” in your dog’s eyes by having them follow your instructions to chase and recover a target for you.

Do dogs usually engage in fetch?

While some dogs adore the game of fetch and some breeds, such as retrievers, are highly accustomed to it, other dogs could find the concept strange. Some dogs don’t show much interest in toys or don’t have a natural tendency to retrieve toys. Similar to this, some rescue dogs might not have played with toys when they were puppies and simply don’t know what to do with one. The majority of people like to play the game of fetch with their dog, but it can be aggravating if you toss a toy and your dog merely watches you or goes to collect the item but doesn’t bring it back. Even though not all dogs are inherently good at fetch, it is a skill that can be learned!

Why do dogs enjoy kicking balls around?

Tossing a ball around or playing fetch with your dog is a great pastime for your pet’s exercise needs, instinctual nature, and connection. It’s crucial to pick the right ball for your dog’s health when playing fetch with them. A more durable ball will be better for your dog’s health and easier for him to play with than a lighter, bouncy one. Tennis balls can pop in your dog’s mouth and choke them if they are held too tightly. Additionally, the cloth and glue that keep tennis balls together might be bad for your dog’s teeth and mouth. For your dog’s health, it could be important to look into different kinds of toys.

Playing fetch is a fun game that your dog will enjoy, and it is an exercise activity that helps release their incredibly playful energy. It is highly recommended since it helps your pet reconnect with their primal instincts. Fetching or simply playing with a ball can help calm your dog and also improve their self-esteem, as long as they are both safe and healthy. Your animal will become enthusiastic and more in tune with their natural state by playing with a ball that may bounce in several ways.

why it’s inappropriate to play fetch with a dog?

It is well known that dogs were first domesticated for use in hunting. In the past, people exploited dogs’ innate drive to track, chase, and retrieve objects. The game fetch is the contemporary outcome of years of this domestication and conditioning. For modern dog owners, chasing balls is a joyful and well-liked exercise, but what health effects does fetch have on your dog?

Effects on the Brain

Some dogs will bring the ball back to you repeatedly. Over and over again. Why are some dogs so devoted to the game of fetch and never get bored? The hormones secreted hold the solution. The brain continuously releases adrenalin while chasing the ball over and over. Heart damage, sleeplessness, and a jittery, anxious sensation are all effects of an excess of adrenalin. Cortisol is also released, which leads to agitated and frenetic behavior. Additionally, since ball chasing is frequently a reward-based behavior, a high drive dog will keep performing it (even when it hurts physically). Dogs enjoy chasing and retrieving the ball, so they will want to do it repeatedly.

Effects on the Joints

Repeated ball chasing damages cartilage and muscles over time by causing micro-trauma. Dogs must rebalance their weight to apply greater pressure on their front legs when they take up and hold a ball in their mouths. The front legs’ joints are put under higher strain as a result.

Effects on the Muscles

After being tossed, the ball’s location is unexpected. Dogs swiftly react by breaking, twisting, and landing in ways that put tension and pressure on muscles that aren’t designed to handle it. Even worse, moving at a rapid speed increases the force put on the muscles and raises the risk of injury. Breaking is the most hazardous aspect of ball pursuing. Shoulder injuries are frequently the result of the movements required to stop running.

How to Prevent the Negative Effects of Ball Chasing

When it comes down to it, fetch is enjoyable. Try warming up first if you still want to play but want to reduce your risk of being hurt. Your dog’s body will be ready for more exercise with a quick warm-up. Throw the ball only a short distance and below your waist level. This will prevent them from repeatedly jumping. Playing fetch on slick or wet terrain should be avoided. Only throw light objects, like a tennis ball or a frisbee, when playing fetch to spare their front legs from unnecessary stress. According to studies, dogs tend to put more weight on their front legs while carrying objects that are heavier.

Do dogs tire of playing fetch?

Even while playing catch can seem to be a favorite activity for all dogs, it’s common for some dogs to just not be interested. It can sometimes just come down to personal preference.

According to Heather White of Heather White Dog Training, “not all dogs appreciate the same type of exercise, just like not all people like a given type of activity or sport.”

Some dogs might not have been introduced to fetch in a way that they find enjoyable.

Genetics may be at play.

Breeds with an innate desire to pick things up include Labrador Retrievers, Golden Retrievers, Standard Poodles, German Shepherd Dogs, and German Shorthaired Pointers. Others, though, might require further assistance to begin learning how to use retrieve. Dogs that have been raised for this skill, after all, have been interested in developing it for ages.

However, White cautions that just because your dog belongs to one of these breed categories doesn’t mean they “will instantly know how to retrieve and also want to.

A health issue could be getting in the way.

According to White, some dogs who have previously enjoyed fetching objects may start to lose interest as a result of an underlying physical condition, such as arthritis, which might affect how much fun a dog can have fetching.

Even if it once was fun, your dog can lose interest.

“Dogs repeat what they like and what makes them feel good and joyful, just like people do,” claims White.

Some dogs may grow bored playing fetch if they don’t receive enough praise or find the game to be enjoyable.

They may not like the thing you’re trying to get them to fetch.

According to White, certain dogs may “have distinct preferences as to the types of stuff they enjoy picking up and bringing back to their owner, including the texture, shape, and even weight of an item.”

If so, try combining it with different objects, such as balls, stuffed animals, and dumbbells.

The dog will pick up the toy, but not bring it back.

The most frequent issue, according to certified dog trainer Penny Leigh, is that the dog will run and pick up the toy but not return it to the person. “Playing the game of the two toys is the ideal solution, according to Leigh. “When the dog picks up one toy, you quickly point out that you also have another one, and they immediately want to go grab it. Alternatively, you can give them treats as a reward for giving you the toy. This prevents the dog from feeling like they are always parting with their prize and receiving anything in exchange.

They don’t understand how fetch works.

When it’s time to play fetch, some dogs could just be unclear about what is expected of them. White provides the following advice on how to teach your dog to fetch:

  • Take that Encourage your dog to approach a toy first, then reward them for taking that first step with their favorite incentive (verbal praise, treats, or physical contact). Build up to having the dog eventually touch the toy with their mouth or nose and eventually take it in their mouth.
  • Drop it: Here, you want your dog to learn how to give up the item or toy they’ve grabbed while still getting rewarded.
  • When retrieving, ask your dog to pick up something that is within a foot of you and then reward them by having them drop it in front of you or hand it to you. Once your dog has mastered this, you may try putting them further away from the dropped object.

ages, the quantity of physical exercise will diminish. Instead of taking them on lengthy walks, take them to a dog park and let them choose how much exercise they want to get.

If your pup is a little overweight, you’ll have to begin slowly with an exercise routine. Try beginning with short walks. If your pup responds well, try lengthening your walks, or take on a short hike. If your dog is able, try taking them for a short run.

Dogs don’t have the same system for cooling down as we humans have. It’s important to keep this in mind to avoid over-exerting our pets. If it’s a rather hot day, try going first thing in the morning or later in the evening.

On colder days, smaller dogs such as Chihuahuas and Terriers might prefer to stay inside, or wear protective wear like a sweater or coat. Some dogs, such as Siberian Huskies, perform best at very low temperatures. They may prefer to take it easier on warm days, and play more on colder days.

It’s important to pay attention to signs of fatigue when your dog is exercising.. If your dog begins limping, slowing down, or heavily panting, try a lighter activity or a shorter walk next time.

When exercising with your furry friend, it’s important to have plenty of water. Try carrying around an extra water bottle just for your pup. When taking a drink break, try letting them check out nearby trees. They’ll be able to take a break in the cool shade.