Training your dog to use an automatic ball launcher won’t be easy if you haven’t played ball with your dog before. Still, here are some steps following which could help train your dog.
Firstly, just roll the ball in front of your pup and encourage them to fetch it. In this step, you DON’T need to turn the ball launcher on as you’re just trying to introduce your dog to the game. Associate several commands with this play.
For instance, say ‘go’ when you throw the ball and ‘leave’ when your dog has fetched it and you want them to drop it. Repeat this exercise for at least two to three days before you introduce the automatic ball launcher. Reward your dog if they follow your commands with treats.
Once you’ve made sure that your dog has learned how to play ball, introduce the automatic ball launcher. Set the launcher at its lowest distance setting, make your dog stand next to it, and once the ball is released, shout ‘Go’.
In this step, it might happen that your dog isn’t sure what to do and to tell them, you might have to play ball with the machine for two to three times to show your dog how it’s done.
Once you’re sure that your dog’s learned the game, launch the ball and ask them to fetch it using the ‘go’ command. At first, you might need to reward their behaviour to keep them going, so prepare a treat in your hand, and give it to them every time they fetch the ball and drop it close to the machine.
Some dog owners want their dog to drop the ball into the machine after fetching it. Remember, if your dog isn’t used to complex training instructions, it’s unlikely they’d do it at first. You might have to wait a couple of weeks before they start loading the launcher on their own without your help.