Teaching Your Dog To Play Frisbee

Playing Frisbee with your dog is a lot of fun.  It is good exercise for your dog, too.  Before you start, however, make sure you consult your veterinarian and see if your dog is healthy enough to play.  Generally, dogs that weigh less than fifty pounds, are lean, and have a passion to retrieve are best suited to this game.

First, make sure your dog obeys basic commands and will return the disc to you when you call him rather than rushing off with it.  If your dog does not have this grasp of basic commands, wait until he does before teaching him this trick.

Despite popularly being called Frisbee, a disc that is designed for dogs and their sharp teeth performs better than an actual Frisbee.  You can purchase these at pet stores like Petsmart and Petco.

The first step is letting the dog play with the disc to get used to the feel of it in his mouth.  Roll it like a ball and have your dog retrieve it for you.  Once the dog has gotten used to retrieving the disc when it is rolled like a ball, you are ready to move to the next level.

Throw the disc at the dog’s level toward the dog and let him catch it.  Praise him wildly if he does, then call him to you with the disc in his mouth.  Reward him with a treat for doing this.

Now you need to find a fenced area with some room to run.  Try tossing the disc a short distance outside.  Give lavish praise when the dog chases the disc.  Have him return it to you.  Continue this for a week or two until the dog firmly understands that he is to catch the disc and return it to you.

As your dog gets better at catching the disc and returning it, gradually increase the distance you throw the disc.  Keep throwing it at the dog’s level, no high catches yet.  You will need to find a safe area to play off leash or use a non-tangling long line to keep control of your dog while you do this.

Finally, you can increase the height of the disc when you throw it.  The dog now knows that he is to catch the disc no matter where it is thrown and will attempt to snatch it out of the air.

Some further tips:  Don’t let your dog play with the disc unless you are playing with him.  The dog’s sharp teeth can destroy a plastic disc and the resulting sharp pieces can be a health hazard if he swallows them.

Make sure that you take frequent breaks and give your dog small amounts of water to keep him hydrated and cool.  Your dog is expending a lot of energy and working hard and needs the water.  Also be conscious of how hot he is getting.  You do not want to cause heat stroke by working him excessively in the sun.