By Josh Gowin, published on March 1, 2009 - last reviewed on December 28, 2011
They can't take a bow, but many dogs gladly lap up the limelight. Ever wondered how to get your pooch to leap off your back to catch a flying disc or jump through a hoop on command? Bob Evans, trainer of two world champion Frisbee-dogs, and Ron Bruce, head trainer at Dog Train LLC and Tenaker Pet Care, shared tips with PT about how to give your pup panache.
Never assume your dog understands what you want him to do. Don't just fling a Frisbee and expect an untrained dog to catch it. Start by putting the disc in the dog's mouth, then transition to short tosses, Evans advises. Once the dog grasps the concept, he will be limited only by how far you can throw.
"The biggest mistake is to train too much, too young," Evans cautions. Puppies have short attention spans. It's best to pique a young dog's interest in the desired behavior and then stop immediately. Next time, he will be more excited about the task, and hence more cooperative.
Teaching with authority provides a sense of pack structure, Bruce says. Complying with a leader is in the dog's best interest.