Frisbee

The ultimate in "cool dog" games! • This is a game that is a combination of physical exercise, skill, and timing for both owner and dog. It is fun, athletic, and thinking-oriented. It also builds teamwork skills between dog and owner.

Ql A O Start with a soft, flexible Soft-Bite I T" ^L • Frisbee. When a disc is moving at a high speed, it can be dangerous and sometimes scary to catch. So you will want him to catch something soft first.

(j A ^ You can graduate to a rigid Frisbee I T"• later. This can be a regular Frisbee or a Nylabone Frisbee, which has a raised bone shape on top for ease of picking up if the disc lands on the ground before your dog catches it in the air.

(j A A A thirty-foot-long leash is helpful in teaching your dog to return with the Frisbee. Keeping it on him ensures you can call him back to you, even if he's a natural retriever.

(j A Is it as easy as it looks on those TV I ^T^J »commercials? No. But it can be fun to teach. Begin a few steps in front of your dog and toss it lightly toward him. As he catches it, praise him heartily and do it again. Each time your dog is successful, you may want to extend the distance at which you throw it to him.

Next, teach your dog the Take It game described later in this section. Hold the Frisbee in the air two or three feet in front of him. Command her to TAKE IT. As your dog gets up and takes the Frisbee, praise. As she gets comfortable taking the Frisbee out of your hand, move the Frisbee forward while still holding it. As your dog is just about to take the Frisbee, lightly throw it one or two feet. Your dog should snatch it out of the air.

Begin with your dog at your side (maybe you can kneel down). Get your dog excited by commanding TAKE IT, and toss the Frisbee a few feet. With success, increase the toss to about ten feet. Begin to throw it away from him and encourage him to get it with a TAKE IT command. He may not always get it while it's in the air at first, but continue to throw short distances until your dog gets the hang of running to catch it in the air.

When he catches it, call him back to • your side, using your long leash to guide him back to you. Be careful not to correct him with the leash while he's learning to go out for the Frisbee.

(j A (j If your dog won't release the Frisbee I T" I • when he returns to you, do a baitand-switch technique with food to get him to release it. Offer a treat using the DROP IT command. When he releases the Frisbee, reward him with the treat.

When you graduate to a more rigid Frisbee, reintroduce it the same way as you did the original Frisbee. Take your time to go all the way back to the beginning where you lightly toss the disc toward your dog in slow, short tosses. That way your dog will not be surprised when he catches a harder object.

Try not to throw the Frisbee very • high in the air. While it is extremely amusing to see a dog "fly" through the air to grab it, too much height may cause him to land too hard on his limbs. Prolonged activity like this may cause some joint problems.

Don't do high-impact jumps with • dogs under one year of age. Their bones are still growing and developing. Be cautious also with aging dogs since their bones and joints will show some wear as well at this stage.

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