Dogs are at their best form when they are provided enough positive outlet for their pent-up energies and enthusiasm. A dog suffering from boredom may show several negative behavioral signs which is undesirable for both the dog and his owner. Games and activities of various kinds are the best way to keep your german shepherd dog engaged, and the same also imbibe wit, presence of mind, sensitivity, and intelligence.
Playing fetch is one of the most effective forms of exercise (both mental and physical) for your dog. This game ‘go and fetch’ is one of the most popular interactive games amongst german shepherd and their masters and the same is known to be a wonderful way to build a strong and healthy dog-owner relationship. The game provides a healthy outlet for the dog to satisfy its prey drive and at the same time, it gives him an opportunity to chase, something that a dog loves to do at any time. However, it is up to you to teach your dog the right way of going after an object and fetching it for you.
The best time to teach this game is the very puppyhood when your puppy is brewing with fresh enthusiasm and has begun to understand your messages and indications to him. As a puppy, he would be able to retain whatever lessons are taught to him and hence the skills would only improve when he grows up to be an adult dog. The game of ‘go fetch has a process and the owner should be slow and steady in teaching the rules and ways of this game to his puppy. The keyword lies in repetitive and positive reinforcement techniques. The following is a step-wise way to teach this game to your young canine companion:
- To start with, choose a small and comparatively empty room (or with fewer distractions). Now, take a dog toy or a ball in one hand and a piece of dog food as a reward in your other hand. Ask you to settle down facing you and see him develop an interest in the toy in your hand. Then, toss the toy/ball at a small distance from you and encourage your dog to get it and pounce on it. Now ask your dog to give the toy back to you and use the treat in your other hand to use as bait for getting the object back from him. Reward him for successfully doing the task as this will motivate the dog to continue the game.
- The next level of teaching the game would be to add a word or gratitude like ‘thanks’ along with the treat and a pat on his back, whenever your puppy fetches you the thing you ask him to. This will help the puppy associate the word ‘thanks’ with positive fetching activity. He also realizes that his fetching the right thing at his owner’s order is getting him praise and his owner’s attention.
- With progression, add the word ‘get it’ or ‘fetch it’ can also be used to indicate your dog chasing the thing and fetching it for you. As your puppy grows up and learns the tricks of chasing the object and fetching it for you, try to make him run a little farther than before and do this by throwing the object farther or at a good distance away from you and seeing him enthusiastically fetch it for you.
- Make sure you involve yourself completely in this game and encourage him with equal motivation with which he chases the object for you. This game on repetition would transform into bait itself, as your dog will grow his fondness for the same and this will let you do without any treatment for the dog.
On positively repeating this game, you would be rewarded with a happy, energetic, and enthusiastic german shepherd who is ever ready to fetch and drop anything that you ask him to. However, be careful not to ask him to fetch any harmful or poisonous or small animal, etc, which would ruin or tarnish the real fun and objective of this game.