Teach your dog Fetch, not chase me games.
Fetch builds relationship dynamics. Retrieval games are the best way to not only prevent your dog from guarding objects and stealing your belongings to incite chase games but it is the best way to play and train your dog. If you have a dog you have some amount of prey drive. Depending on your breed package and accumulated education when it comes to chasing things that move it may be relatively easy or rather difficult to get your dog to chase something you throw. Fetch games teach your dog to interact and play games with you and to share objects because you will make them more fun by touching them.
Set Up: First find a toy that gets your dog motivated (see What’s My Motivation Here handout), this doesn’t need to be anything fancy I often start with balled up paper. What ever object it is that your dog likes to play with, get TWO of them. Always start this game on a long line or let your dog drag the leash on the ground in a small space (don’t start this game in a big open field or dog-park) this will help discourage chase me games.
Begin in a small and familiar environment- like on the floor in the corner of your living room or a paved area so there are less scent distractions.
Second, build play drive. Your dog responds you your energy, think of some simple vocabulary cues you might like to build during this game such as “Get It/Fetch, Good, Drop/Give”, etc. Keep it simple and practical.
Don’t just hand the object/toy to them, you should play keep away or wiggle it on the ground until it is clear your dog is interested.
Third, give your cue, “go get it!” and roll the ball quickly not too far away. Encourage your dog the minute they pursue it, I say “good get it”, clap my hands in approval and move backwards. The encouragement should bring your dog back toward you, if not stand on the leash (don’t chase him) and walk to the dog and pet and encourage. Let them have the ball for a minute. Praise the work of getting the ball and don’t reach for it.
Avoid Pitfalls: A lot of owners who try this game teach the dog the toy has power and possessing it is the best way to win the game. These dogs learn keep away not retrieval.
Fourth, (two options), either A- hold your dogs collar gently to keep them from pulling away or turning the game into tug, Place your hand gently on the toy or hold it under the toy and tell your dog “GIVE” (now wait Patiently- if you pull the toy it is tug), the second your dog releases tell them “good give” and the throw the ball so they learn giving you the ball makes the game move on quickly. Or B- have the second toy ready (identical) and tease and taunt them with the one you have, playing keep away again while you tell them Drop it, as soon as he drops the ball, tell him “good drop it” and throw the ball again.
Remember your body language is doing most of the work, shoulders bowed down moving backwards will bring the dog into your space whereas, you moving forward reaching for the object will look like stalking and chase game body language to your dog.
As you build behavior patterns your dog will hapily share the toy to get you to play. Tip: Always leaving wanting more! You should start and finish the game. If you want the game to be for fun, exercise and training, don’t let them have it at home all the time. Reserve that motivational toy for play and work. Anything we give our dog too much will lose value or be destroyed by a dissecting or bored dog.