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Old 07-17-2012, 10:14 AM
JacksonsMom's Avatar
JacksonsMom JacksonsMom is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Maryland
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Default Using treats to train play (frisbee, toys, etc)

Does anyone advise doing or not doing this?

I'm REALLY hoping to teach Jackson how to catch a frisbee in mid-air.

He's really developed a great drive for the frisbee over the past year. For the first year of his life, he wouldn't even really play fetch. So I had to teach him how fun THAT was (his favorites are Orbee balls). He'll play out back or in the house for a while down our long hallway, but I still can't get him too interested in fetching other places (i.e. the park, or anywhere with a lot of smells and more interesting things going on).

But now, I have these little plastic discs from Petco and I LOVE when I see him just sooo excited when I pull them out. I'm just so thrilled to see him with so much drive for them. We get outside, he's on a long line that I let him drag, and he's jumping up and down focused on the frisbees when I am holding them.

And he's chasing them longer than ever lately. He used to get bored with it after about 5-10 minutes - now he's usually going for 15-20 (and often uphill) and just loving chasing after them. Occasionally I have to give him the reminder to bring it all the way back with a slight tug on the leash, because sometimes he stops mid-way and begins to chew on the disc (he has a thing for plastic).

As a reward for bringing it back, I've been using one of the chewed up ones as a tug toy. Which, again, I LOVE seeing his drive and how strong he's pulling as this is not a dog who is normally motivated by tug or toys (he's a food mongrel). In the beginning, I did use treats to reward him for bringing the frisbee back. I kind of phased those out. But I'm wondering if I should bring them back into the game so that hopefully if he does catch one in the air, I can reward him heavily with praise and treats, etc. OR... is that bad to use treats and will it turn into more of a "trick session" rather than playing a game? I'm just not sure. I know that food motivates him more than anything and I'm thinking it may help if we ever want to play with the disc somewhere else where he usually doesn't play like a park.

So basically, right now, I can throw it directly at him from 1-2ft away and he can catch it. But HOW can I keep him to run and actually CATCH it from up in the air. He does mostly follow it with his eyes, but he lets it drop on the ground first.

I also just purchased a Jawz Pup Disc from Skyhoundz because he enjoys chewing the plastic and it always amazes me how fast he gets pieces off and then the frisbees get destroyed quickly and don't fly right.
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