Call them what you want, everyone including trainers have training snafus. You let something happen that you think is benign and next thing you know you are saying to yourself “what was I thinking”. This happens to me, more frequently than I’d like to admit.
I got Mick, my Jack Russell Terrier from the Pagosa Springs, Colorado shelter when he was about 1 year old. He fit in well to the house of Minnie and me and the myriad of dogs that I would pet sit for. My kid neighbor would come over often and play chase with Mick. Mick would get a toy and then say “chase me” and Mary Grace would oblige him and chase him. Mick thought it was the greatest game ever! I’d be watching and thinking, this is stupid, he’ll never fetch! But they were having so much fun! So I let it go.
I played fetch with my Border Collies for 13 years, morning, noon and night. So I said to myself, I don’t need him to fetch! Of course I realized the error of my ways. Fetch is the greatest game ever with your dog. You can build so much training and connection into the game. It’s a great way to exercise your dog in your yard or living room if you only have 15 minutes. It’s a wonderful game on a cold winter night to play inside. My Romeo, the Buddhist Chihuahua is a great fetcher. Mick however just wants you to chase him as soon as he has a ball or toy!
Recently, we were playing on the beautiful Animas River in Durango, CO and I threw a stick into the water, and Mick brought it back! And he looked at me and said “Do it again!” So I did about 5 more times. He swam out each time and brought it back within 5 feet of me each time. I was absolutely thrilled. Of course the context of chasing him did not transfer in the water and he loved the game. Me too! So now we have fetch in the water and I’m still working on trading the toy out for a treat with him on land. Some times he’s into it and sometimes he just wishes I would chase him!
Here’s a great link to a You Tube video that will help your teach your dog to fetch by one of my favorite mentors, Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM.