Chloe takes a break with her squeaky ball  after a game of fetch.

Does your dog like to play the game of fetch? Maybe it's with a stick, a ball, or even a modern day frisbee. But do you know why they play the game? If we could ask them, I'm sure we would have a simple and direct answer, but since we can't we'll have to theorize a dog's response. Now Chloe loves the game especially if it's played with a ball, and a squeaky noisy one at that, and she's very good at it I might add. If there were a professional fetch league for dogs, I'm sure Chloe would have no trouble making the team.

Chloe's squeaky ball shows wear from games of fetch.
I've never given her lessons in fetching a ball, but rather it seems to have come naturally to her. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, particularly since Chloe and me played a mini game of fetch the day we picked her out from the Weems Kennel. It's a story that I now consider as legendary in our family, and a big reason why we selected Chloe over her other sisters. 

No, we weren't looking for a puppy that could play fetch, but rather I used the ball toss game to see how she would interact with me, and as legends go, Chloe engaged me admirably. Now almost four years later from that first game in the kennel, Chloe has become much better in catching the ball as she routinely grabs it out of the air on a single bounce. She immediately brings it back and waits for me to throw it again. No doubt the playing of fetch pleases her just as it does with me when she obediently returns with the ball clutched in her mouth.

So back to the question, of why do dogs play the game of fetch? The theory that is most often given is that it's a result of the many centuries that have passed in a dog's domestication from the wild. As they were trained and bred to assist us in all sorts of activities, the process of being our original companion in hunting and retrieving is now an instinctive one for most dogs.

Of course, I would also like to think, ...that maybe a cocker spaniel plays the game with a little more spunkiness and skill, simply because of their heritage as a hunting partner.

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