I’m going to assume that your dog knows the rules of fetch (if not, read this article): wait for you to throw a toy, retrieve, and preferably drop the object on the ground or in your hand. Your dog’s enthusiasm is waning, however, with every toy you throw, and pretty soon he totally refuses to obey. Your dog is clearly bored with this game; to him, there seems to be little to no point in it. You, on the other hand, find this activity a great way to exercise your dog and spend time together. What can you do to rekindle the original enthusiasm (or even create some despite it never being there) for your dog?
Show Your Excitement
What is your attitude towards playing fetch? Do you simply toss a toy, give a few dry commands, and play with your phone while your dog runs after it? No wonder this is a boring activity for your dog! Since you have no enthusiasm, your dog doesn’t either. Dogs love to share excitement, so, if you act excited, your pet will find it highly contagious! Throw the toy with vigor, give commands in a happy, peppy tone, and be overly excited when your dog brings it back.
Sometimes, what appears to be disinterest in dogs could actually be confusion. Perhaps your dog didn’t fully grasp the concept of fetch when you trained him, which means you need to go back to the basics and retrain. Check out the Fetch page to learn how.
Change the Setting
Playing the same game in the same area could get rather boring for your dog, so try to change up the setting. You can use a long leash for unfenced places and see if any fenced-in dog parks are in your area. Also, if you have space, you could play fetch inside.
Buy New Toys
As with the setting, playing with the same old toy can get dull. With this in mind, buy a few new toys and play with a different one each day to keep your dog interested.
Use More Praise
Dogs are quick to lose interest without praise, so perhaps you need to give more. A pat on the head and “good dog” are nice, but we also like excited, happy talk. Also, remember that, no matter what you say, your dog won’t think that you’re weird, so go ahead and say silly stuff like, “You’re mommy’s (or daddy’s) pupsie, wupsie, aren’t you? You’re such a cute wootie pupsie pie with sugar on top!”