You’re out for a walk and you’ve been throwing a tennis ball repeatedly for your canine pal to bound after and bring back. But while the ball sails through the air, your dog... doesn’t. You can’t shake the thought of how cool it would be if he upped his catching level to mid-air grabs. Not only would it look pretty awesome to anyone who saw you on a walk, but it would also make for a fantastic trick to entertain guests with while the BBQ is on.
If he’s always full of energy, getting him to catch in the air will also help tire him out on walks. Extra energy dispensed in the air means a more relaxed and docile dog at home. One that naps while you eat rather than pestering you for more food.
Conveying exactly what you want him to do can prove challenging. After all, why should he catch something in the air when it will make his life easier if he just waits for it to hit the ground? Having said that, if he’s young and agile he’ll probably respond to training in just a few days. If he’s getting on a bit and not quite the athlete or intellect he once was, then be prepared to be patient, he may need a couple of weeks before he gets the hang of it.
Why bother with this training though? Well, you’ll quickly become known as the owner of the flying dog; nicknames like ‘super dog’ and the ‘flying canine’ will soon spread around the neighborhood. He’ll probably appear on Snapchat stories and Facebook feeds all over the state. So for the glory alone, it’s worth it!
Before your dog starts flying you’ll need a few things. The most important thing you’ll need is space. A big yard or a field would be ideal, if you practice in the house you may quickly break all that you hold dear.
His favorite food or treats will also be essential so stock up! A tennis ball, stick, frisbee, or any other type of toy you throw for him will also be required. Once you have all of that, just bring patience and a positive frame of mind and you’re ready to get to work.
What treat is good for him to practice catching ball in midair? I think it should be similar size but not too much or else he won't eat his meals.
Hello Alex, Since pup will be getting larger amounts of it, I personally like to use freeze dried liver. Since it's freeze dried it dissolves more easily and is pretty light weight in case it hits pup in the face if he doesn't catch it. Depending on the brand, you can get bigger pieces initially, which can be easily broken into smaller pieces as pup gets better at catching. Freeze dried liver is also healthier than most treats and not likely to upset pup's stomach if he does eat a lot of it. It doesn't need to be as big as a ball for pup to learn, just big enough that pup can see it easily. I usually start with a piece about the size of a grape tomato and just drop it right above pup's mouth, only about a foot away while pup is first learning. As pup improves at catching, I add distance so that you are working up to more of an actual toss. If you want to make it even harder, you can begin making the treat smaller too, as long as its still big enough for pup to see. Usually by that point, pup is ready for a ball though. When pup is ready for the ball, I also start dropping the ball just above pup's mouth, then increase distance as pup gets better at catching. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden
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