Ellen Britt for CNT #wooftips
If you are like most dog owners, you’ve seen videos of dogs energetically chasing flying Frisbees, leaping into the air to catch the spinning disc and then gleefully returning the Frisbee to her owner.
So you decide to try this game with your own dog, only to discover that she’s totally disinterested! So how do you get your dog to play Frisbee with you?
While there’s no guarantee your dog will take to the Frisbee, most dogs will respond to these steps:
Introduce your dog to the Frisbee as you would any new toy. Some dogs will get excited just by seeing it or you can wave it around and talk excitedly to your dog to get her attention.
If your dog is disinterested, try rewarding her with a treat for approaching the disc and touching it. You can also try actually putting the treat into the Frisbee or even using the disc as a food dish.
Playing tug of war with the Frisbee is a great way to get your dog to want the disc as well.
Spread this introductory period out over several days until your dog has accepted the Frisbee and shows interest in it.
Now it’s time to introduce the “give” command. Here’s what to do: give your dog the Frisbee while holding a treat. Say “give” then take back the Frisbee and reward your dog. Repeat. If your dog will not let go of the Frisbee, then don’t give her a treat and let go of the disc.
You don’t in any way want to make a game of tug of war out of this. The idea is to have your dog give up the Frisbee without any hesitation on her part. When this happens you and your dog are ready for the next step.
Now it’s time to move outdoors. Have your dog sit, then from a very short distance away toss the Frisbee to her. When she catches it, lavish praise on her. Then have your dog come to, give you the disc and then reward her. Treat her only when she returns with the disc.
The final step is to gradually increase your distance from your dog before you throw the disc to her. When she is consistently catching the Frisbee from that distance, you can increase the distance even further.
That’s it! You and your dog have mastered the basics of playing Frisbee. Have fun!
By Ellen Britt
Dr. Ellen Britt has loved dogs since she was a child. She is particularly fond of the Northern breeds, especially Alaskan Malamutes. Ellen worked as a PA in Emergency and Occupational Medicine for two decades and holds a doctorate (Ed.D.) in biology.
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