How to Train a Puppy to Play Baseball

Medium
1-4 Weeks
Fun

Introduction

Your active little puppy seems to have an endless amount of energy. By the time you’ve walked downstairs in the morning, she's already leaping up and down, tail wagging furiously. You take her out for several short walks each day but she's still insistent on following you around every room. She never seems to be ready for bed at night either. You can't help but love her full-of-life attitude. 

However, it would also be nice to have some downtime in the evenings. So you need an effective way to tire her out. You’d also like to teach her a fun game and maybe some sports. Therefore, training your puppy to play baseball seems like it will tick all the boxes. Plus, your family loves baseball, so it means Lucy can join in with your family games. It’s also a great way to channel her energy down a productive avenue. Lastly, watching a puppy play baseball is bound to be hugely entertaining!

Defining Tasks

Training a puppy to play baseball is actually surprisingly straightforward. The trick is to make the whole thing feel like a game. It also means easing her into the game gently and giving her all the support she needs. Training may also require using some temptation techniques to get her eager to get involved. Of course, positive reinforcements will play a key role throughout.

If your puppy is keen to please and highly receptive, then it could be just days before she's playing baseball. But if she has a short attention span and would rather laze around, then you may need a number of weeks. If you can perfect training, you’ll soon find yourself with a dog that’s the talk of the town. You’ll also have a fun and interactive way to both exercise and socialize your dog. Who knows, maybe she'll even be in the first national doggy baseball team!

Getting Started

Before you get to work, you’ll need to check that you have a few bits. Firstly, you’ll need a large yard or a local field to train in, as you don’t want to risk anything getting broken. You’ll also need friends or family members who can help play and train. Of course, a baseball, glove, and a bat will also be required. You may also want to use a helmet and other safety equipment.

Then you’ll need some incentives. This could be some tasty treats or it could be a toy for her to play with. Try and find around half an hour to train, several times a week. Keep training sessions short because she's just a puppy.

Apart from that, only patience and a positive attitude are needed!

The Pull Back Method

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Step
1
Temptation
Head out with your puppy, friends and/or family, as well as some baseball equipment. Be high-pitched and animated as you go, as you want to put Lucy at ease. Then start gently playing baseball with your puppy around.
Step
2
Pull back
While you’re playing and once Lucy looks comfortable, have one person sit down and hold her collar. The very fact that she can’t play will only make her want to play more. So this is a great technique to use if she doesn’t seem too interested.
Step
3
Release
After a couple of seconds of your puppy trying to get free so she can chase after the ball, release her. Then all of you shout encouragement in a playful voice. One person could also run towards the ball as well. This may make her even more desperate to get to the ball first.
Step
4
Reward
As soon as your puppy does touch the ball, shower her in praise and rewards. You can give her a treat or some food. You could even let her play with the ball for a little while. Just remember that the better she feels, the more eager she will be to play again.
Step
5
Practice
Now you simply need to practice regularly. Continue to encourage her and reward her whenever she touches the ball. Also, keep the training sessions to no more than half an hour to begin with. You want to build up her stamina gradually.
Recommend training method?

The Start Small Method

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Step
1
Fetch
Baseball can be a big, intimidating game to a dog, especially just a small puppy. So it can often be helpful to ease her into it gently. Therefore, start taking her out and playing fetch with a tennis ball.
Step
2
Reward
Whenever she gets the ball and returns with it, hand over a tasty treat. If you use a clicker when you train, you can click when she comes back. This may speed up the learning process. If she doesn’t seem too interested in returning with the ball, chase after it with her.
Step
3
Friends
Once she loves playing fetch, start playing with friends too. Throw the ball to each other and encourage your puppy to chase after it in between. Also make sure she gets the chance to catch the ball sometimes. If you don’t, she may soon give up trying.
Step
4
Real deal
Once she is confident playing in the company of friends, you can then start playing properly with real equipment and in a larger space. Continue to encourage Lucy to run after the ball and reward her when she gets it.
Step
5
Commands
Now that she's familiar with the game, you can start using verbal commands to get her in line with the rules. So issue a ‘wait’ command to keep her still at her post while the ball is thrown and hit.
Recommend training method?

The Verbal Cue Method

Effective
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Step
1
Launch
Take Lucy out into a yard or a local field. Make sure you have a friend with you and a baseball too. Now stand around 20 to 30 yards away and throw the ball towards your friend. Make sure it stays within your puppy’s line of sight.
Step
2
‘Chase’
Just prior to her chasing after it, issue a ‘chase’ command. Give it in a high-pitched voice and just once. You can use any word you like for the instruction. Although she may be just a puppy, she'll already be able to learn a long list of different commands.
Step
3
Reward
Let Lucy get to the ball before the friend. Then you can both shower her in verbal praise. You can also chuck her a treat or play with the ball for a minute or so. Really show her how happy and pleased you are. This will make her desperate to play again.
Step
4
Bat
Practice the above steps for a couple of sessions. You can then start using a real baseball bat. This time, throw the ball to the friend so they can hit it and then give the ‘chase’ command. You may need to point in the direction of the ball to encourage her to chase too.
Step
5
Lose the rewards
Now the trick is to practice regularly. You can make it harder each time and introduce more people and even other dogs gradually. Continue to give her rewards until you can see that she's having so much fun that the rewards are no longer needed. Then slowly phase them out.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

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