Doggy Psychology: Why Your Dog Loves To Play Fetch

 Fetch: it’s a game played between dogs and their humans that’s as old as time.

There’s something about chasing and returning a favourite ball or Tug-E-Nuff toy that dogs of all ages and breeds just seem to love.

But why is it so appealing? In this week’s blog post, we decided to delve a bit deeper into the psychology behind a simple game of fetch.

It’s all about instinct

The first reason harks back to the dog’s oldest relative: the wolf. Experts have noted that wolves had an instinctive urge to carry their successfully-hunted prey back to their families. It follows, then, that this natural canine behaviour is something that has stayed with our four-legged friends even though pet dogs have long since been domesticated.

Selective breeding

But it’s also true that some dogs love fetch more than others. That’s because certain types of dog, such as the Labrador retriever, have been selectively bred for their ability to hunt down and retrieve things for humans.

Dogs that were good at ‘fetching’ will have inevitably passed on these skills to their puppies. So although it’s unlikely you send out your dog to catch and bring home dinner for the family, he or she is still tapping into the inherited urge to fetch passed on by their ancestors.

Perhaps there’s another final reason why dogs simply love a good game of fetch – it’s FUN!


The only thing your dog loves more its favourite toy is quality time with you – and playing fetch offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy some one-to-one time.

Doggy psychology experts also claim that a game of fetch stimulates the reward regions of a dog’s brain so playing simply feels good, which might help explain why it’s a game they never seem to tire of.

It’s also a really great opportunity to strengthen your bond, which can help you reap rewards when training or just during every day life.

If your dog loves playing fetch with a stick or tennis ball, imagine how much they’ll love playing with one of our dog training toys that have been cleverly designed to motivate and excite dogs of all shapes and sizes.

Some have in-build balls while others have secret food pouches. Others even have real animal fur incorporated to tap into that instinctive hunting urge we talked about earlier. Have a browse in our shop and find the perfect toy for taking your games of fetch to the next level.

Want more insight on doggy psychology? Check out our previous post all about what your dog’s really thinking.

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Linda - January 27, 2018

My sheltie pup LOVES the rabbit skin squeaker!! Not very play orientated but this drives her crazy and she loves playing fetch with it and chasing it too

LauraH - November 25, 2017

My service dog loves to play and ball is her game. Fetch, but she then wants me to take the ball from her rather than leaving it for me. I need to find a new type of fetch or chase toy that will work for us.

SUSANNAH - November 12, 2017

My dog LOVES playing fetch and would do this rather than eat. sleep or walk. However she has recently been diagnosed with degeneration of the spine in her neck area and arthritis and I have been advised not to let her play fetch anymore as she loves to twist and turn to retrieve the ball. She is also not allowed to “rag” her toys (which she also loved to do) because she has had cataracts removed and the vet has warned that “ragging” may cause her lense to detach in the good eye she has left. Have you any suggestions for alternative play, as she so loves to play? Thank you!

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