Training Tips

Whether your dog has been playing fetch for years or if this is his first time, the following training tips from professional dog trainer, Nicole Ellis, will help your dog learn how to play with the iFetch in no time at all.

  • When teaching your dog how to play fetch, make sure you train near the iFetch so that your dog can connect the dots between fetch and the iFetch.
  • Train with the iFetch at most three times a day and only for ten minutes at a time. That way fetch stays fun and doesn’t become fetch bootcamp.
  • If you feel like your dog is getting frustrated and is unable to get the ball into the iFetch , then just work on reinforcing any behavior toward the iFetch and make sure your dog gets rewarded.
  • If your dog attempts to get the reward via other behaviors (e.g. rolling over, jumping up, shaking paws, etc.), it’s important that you NOT reward these behaviors.
  • If your dog is cautious around the iFetch at first, that’s okay. The iFetch is new and different and he’s probably not sure what it is.  You can start by rewarding him for just going near the iFetch. This way he learns that the iFetch is just another part of the house. With a little time, you can use treats to bring him closer to the iFetch, teaching him to drop the ball as close to the iFetch as possible. After a few training sessions (results may vary) your dog will learn to trust the iFetch and then it will be playtime.

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Meet Our Trainers

Nicole Ellis, TrainerNicole Ellis, CPDT-KA

Nicole Ellis is a celebrity CPDT-KA dog trainer. Nicole always knew her destiny was to work with animals. She grew up riding horses, bonding with family pets and was always the fearless kid in the class who volunteered to hold the giant boa constrictor or pet the cheetah. She went on to study animal training with top trainers, learning to work with everything from exotics like bears and big cats, to household pets like dogs and cats. Somewhere along the way, she realized that her mission as a trainer was to train other humans to strengthen their bonds with their pets through positive training and mutual understanding. Happier owners mean happier pets, and hopefully fewer unwanted pets will end up on the streets or in city shelters – that is Nicole’s thinking. Nicole’s own dog, Maggie, came from a shelter and became her animal training ambassador. In addition to working in commercials and in movies, Maggie knows over one hundred behaviors and performs at hospitals, charity fundraisers and on TV. Nicole recently added a new family member, a puppy named Rossi. Together they are excited to help you train your dog.

Crystal Dunn, TrainerCrystal Dunn, CPDT-KA

Owner and Training Director, Leaps N’ Hounds Dog Training

A professional trainer since 2006, Crystal Dunn adds a creative and fun twist to dog training. With her roots in rescue and rehabilitation, she has a soft spot for the underdogs and embraces their challenges. From rambunctious athletes to timid personalities, Crystal loves helping people uncover the gem inside every dog. In 2008 she founded Leaps N’ Hounds Dog Training in Austin, Texas, offering a temperament and personality-tailored approach to training each dog as an individual. Crystal currently serves as Training Director for Leaps N’ Hounds and writes for the blog. She runs the award-winning Pit Crew therapy dog team and consults for other local dog-friendly businesses. She and her team work with iFetch’s  performance dogs, heading up the Dog Stars program and providing training consulting. In 2016 iFetch and Crystal also started the iFetch-A-Family program to help provide enrichment activities for shelter dogs. They hope to grow the program in other states this year.

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