How to Train Your Dog to Catch a Frisbee

Medium
1-3 Months

Introduction

Its truly a privilege to watch a pooch and his human engage in a skilled game of frisbee. The owner throws the plate-like object and the dog soars into the sky like a kangaroo. They spin, twist and dive, almost as if they're dancing. If you've ever had the chance to see this, you may have wondered enviously how the pair got so good at the game of flying discs. Are some dogs just natural frisbee players? Or was there some serious training involved?

Defining Tasks

The game of frisbee can be especially fun for puppers and people. Discs float through the air differently than balls do, allowing your canine to really calculate their retrieval. While the end result can be great, getting there may take a bit of work!

Certain breeds are more interested in flying objects than others. Some dogs just don't understand what a frisbee is, or they expect it to move like other fetch objects, leading to confusion. By teaching your pup how to play frisbee and get excited about it, you can unlock a world of good times for the two of you.

For some dogs, the concept can take months to learn properly, while others may catch on fast. Be prepared to go out regularly and cut sessions short as soon as your dog seems uninterested. And your pooch's age doesn't matter too much; young and old dogs can learn to enjoy frisbee.

Getting Started

To help make your training a success, preparation is key! Some things to help you on your way to flying disc fun include:

  • A Frisbee!: This one's a no-brainer; you need a disc to play frisbee. But you should put some thought into what kind of disc is right for your dog. Size and material vary, so make sure you pick a suitable frisbee for your pooch.

  • Treats: Many methods involve a little bribery. Go get a bag of yummy treats to dish out during your sessions.

  • Wide Open Space: Find a dog-friendly park or field where your mutt can run free. There is a lot of leaping, bounding and dashing in a game of frisbee.

  • Patience: Don't get discouraged if your dog just isn't getting it. Keep calm and try to keep the game associated with only positive feelings. Eventually, she'll come around.

The only canines who really shouldn't be playing frisbee are those with serious health problems, injuries or seniors who've lost their mobility. As long as your doggo is healthy, you should be good to go.

Below are some great methods for getting your dog into flying discs. Whichever one you choose, remember to keep things fun and exciting for your pup!

The Excited Method

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Excited method for Catch a Frisbee
Step
1
Get pumped
As soon as your dog makes eye contact with you, get really excited. Let him know something great is about to happen.
Step
2
Introduce the disc
Bring out your new special toy for your dog to sniff.
Step
3
Praise the interaction
Offer tons of praise while your pooch meets the frisbee.
Step
4
Throw it a short distance
Gently toss the disc so it only goes a short distance.
Step
5
Encourage a retrieval
In your happiest voice ever, call your dog back to you as soon as the frisbee is in his mouth.
Step
6
Repeat
Keep doing this exercise, but each time, increase the distance of the throw. Your pupper will get the idea in no time.
Recommend training method?

The Strategic Method

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Effective
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Strategic method for Catch a Frisbee
Step
1
Let your dog meet the frisbee
As with the other methods, it's important to get your pup really excited during this intro.
Step
2
Practice 'release'
Teach your dog how to let go of the new toy on command.
Step
3
Roll the disc
Just take the frisbee, and flip it on its side while on the ground. By doing this, you're letting your canine know how to pick up the strange object.
Step
4
Have the dog go around
This one's for all those speedy hounds out there. Train your dog to run around you before taking off after the flying frisbee.
Step
5
Teach 'catch it'
After you say the command, encourage your dog to grab the disc from your hands. Begin to lightly toss the frisbee each time you practice.
Step
6
Increase distance
Soon, you'll be able to say “catch it” and whip that disc off into the sunset. Just keep working on all of the steps!
Recommend training method?

The Bribery Method

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Effective
0 Votes
Bribery method for Catch a Frisbee
Step
1
Use the frisbee as a dish
Put your dog's dinner in the disc so she thinks of it as a good thing.
Step
2
Reward interactions
Any time she approaches the new toy, toss her a treat!
Step
3
Play games with the disc
Try to convince your doggo that the frisbee is a hot commodity by using it in tug-of-war. Make sure she knows that having the disc is a good thing.
Step
4
Teach 'let go'
Using the frisbee and a treat, tell your pup to let go. If she does, hand over the treat!
Step
5
Start throwing
Gently toss the frisbee and praise your pooch like crazy if she goes for it. Once again, bring out the treats if necessary.
Step
6
Finesse the game
Up the distance of throws and eventually phase out the treats. By this point, the fun you two are having will be the reward.
Recommend training method?
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Written by Amy Caldwell

Published: 10/10/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Rolo
Border Collie
3 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Rolo
Border Collie
3 Months

He is really wild and he will bite. What should I do to train him and calm him down?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Chuwen, First, if you can find a free puppy play date class attend one of those with him so that he can learn how to control the pressure of his bite by playing with other puppies. Petco and some other pet stores with training offer free puppy play classes if you call and ask for the schedule. A puppy kindergarten class that has part of the class dedicated to off-leash puppy play time is also good. If you have any friends with puppies under 6 months of age, set up play dates with those puppies too. Moderate the puppies' play and whenever one pup seems overwhelmed or they are all getting too excited, interrupt their play, let everyone calm down, then let the most timid pup go first to see if they still want to play - if they do, then you can let the other puppies go too when they are waiting for permission. Second, check out the article linked below. Starting today, use the "Bite Inhibition" method. At the same time however, begin teaching "Leave It" from the "Leave It" method. As soon as pup is good as the Leave It game, start telling pup to "Leave It" when he attempts to bite or is tempted to bite. Reward pup if he makes a good choice. If he disobeys your leave it command, use the Pressure method to gently discipline pup for biting when you told him not to. The order or all of this is very important - the bite inhibition method can be used for the next couple of weeks while pup is learning leave it, but leave it will teach pup to stop the biting entirely. The pressure method teaches pup that you mean what you say without being overly harsh - but because you have taught pup to leave it first, pup clearly understands that you are not just roughhousing (which is what pup probably thinks most of the time right now), so it is more effective. https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite When pup gets especially wound up, he probably needs a nap too. At this age puppies will sometimes get really hyper when they are overtired or haven't had any mental stimulation through something like training. When you spot that and think pup could be tired, place pup in their crate or an exercise pen with a food stuffed Kong for a bit to help him calm down and rest. Also, know that mouthiness at this age is completely normal. It's not fun but it is normal for it to take some time for a puppy to learn self-control well enough to stop. Try not to get discouraged if you don't see instant progress, any progress and moving in the right direction in this area is good, so keep at it. Commands that increase self-control in general and teach pup calmness are also good things to teach. These commands will take time to teach of course, but they can also be a great way to create your own puppy class with pup. If you have other friends' with puppies, why not invite them over, sending them the following videos and articles too, and practice it all together - allowing puppies to learn and be socialized. Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omg5DVPWIWo Thresholds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-w28C2g68M Heel article - The turns method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-poodle-to-heel Down-Stay: https://www.thelabradorsite.com/train-your-labrador-to-lie-down-and-stay/ Leave It: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bite Out - which means leave the room: https://www.petful.com/behaviors/how-to-teach-a-dog-the-out-command/ Finally, check out the PDF e-book downloads found on this website, written by one of the founders of the association of professional dog trainers, and a pioneer in starting puppy kindergarten classes in the USA. Click on the pictures of the puppies to download the PDF books: https://www.lifedogtraining.com/freedownloads/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Bodie
Labrador Retriever
18 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Bodie
Labrador Retriever
18 Months

I cannot get him to catch the freebie in air he waits until it lands to get it.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Steve, Catching a hard plastic frisbee can hurt if pup doesn't know how to catch it carefully. I would look into purchasing one of Kong's floppy frisbees. Start by wiggling it around like an animal to get pup excited to chase it and bite it - so pup sees that it doesn't hurt. If pup can't catch a ball or floppy toy yet, toss those just a couple of feet at pup. If pup still can't catch those, toss treats for a couple of weeks just to practice pup's coordination with catching, then go back to the floppy toy or ball, then transition from there to the floppy frisbee. Once pup can catch in general, go back to the floppy frisbee, and at first simply throw the frisbee next to pup, so it flies about 1-2 feet beside pup at the level of their muzzle, from 5-10 feet away from pup. Try to throw it slower - too slow and it won't fly but practice an even throw. Most dogs will at least attempt a catch if they know it won't hurt, you throw it in the right spot, and you get them excited about it right before the throw by moving it around and getting pup chasing after it a bit. Once pup is great with the floppy frisbee, you can stay with that indefinitely or work up to a flexible chuck it type frisbee that maintains it's shape and floats a little better, but I would avoid a hard plastic one. Check out Zach George from Canine Revolution on Youtube if you are still struggling after applying the above suggestions. He has a lot of videos on teaching fetch, frisbee catching, and general toy motivation and engagement. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Dayton
Golden Retriever
1 Year
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Dayton
Golden Retriever
1 Year

I want to train Dayton to play fetch with a frisbee but we play disc golf and he has been taught not to mess with disc golf discs. I am now having trouble teaching him it is okay to play with "his" disc. He wont even pay attention to it. I have feed him in it for a couple weeks and I have praised with treats if he goes near it BUT he will NOT put it in his mouth

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
1123 Dog owners recommended

Hello Melany, Check out the floppy disks by Kong. I suggest starting with something similar to that, that's different enough from a normal frisbee that he may consider it fine to bite. Even though you don't want him to learn to tug it long term, when you first start, treat it like a tug toy and play a little tug with it, then have him practice dropping it, and when he drops it, give it a little toss for him to go after it. As he gets more comfortable with it, quickly phase out the tug part and praise for dropping it and spend more time throwing it and fetching it. Kong frisbees - this one is the most floppy and tug-toy like: https://www.chewy.com/kong-extreme-flyer-dog-toy/dp/44201?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=KONG&utm_term=&gclid=CjwKCAjwyqTqBRAyEiwA8K_4OxG7di4dpqh857ejNIECmnM0yC-qBAp6Po5Yx3Y8gzECkNWFs2l3tRoCC5MQAvD_BwE Kong red frisbee - a bit more firm and normal frisbee-like to transition to normal frisbee with: https://www.chewy.com/kong-classic-flyer-frisbee-dog-toy/dp/44180?utm_source=google-product&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=hg&utm_content=KONG&utm_term=&gclid=CjwKCAjwyqTqBRAyEiwA8K_4O3-R7BOa4FL6-mehKW4VXQPWjrU8_aee7xBmorJNvnwTqJu1X_PY_xoCG7wQAvD_BwE A third in-between would be something like one of the soft-material but firmer shape chuck-it frisbees Finally, if you are still struggling after switching disks, try smearing a little peanut butter on the kong frisbee, letting him lick some off, then toss it a couple feet away so that he follows it to lick more off. Praise enthusiastically when he touches it and drop a few treats on the frisbee when he touches his mouth to it. Work on that until he will get grabbier with it, even when you pick it up -to keep licking it, at which point you can encourage a bit of chase, tug, and then running short distances after it, and transition to just the fetching part and phase out the running and tug once she is relaxed about picking it up. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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