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Question for disc doggers!


sjuguy
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At what age, or how long did it take your dog to actually get the concept of catching the disc? Also, did anybody have a pup that did not seem very interested, then one day something clicked peaking their interest and enthusiasm for playing disc?

 

I ask because I have a 6 month old male who enjoys fetching rollers, but only for a short amount of time. He will catch (or at least attempt to catch) short tosses where not much work is required on his part. We work on take and tug, which is enjoys. When I toss the disc any distance, he will let it his the ground before grabbing it. I'm writing it off that he is still young, and that he will naturally get it as long as we keep playing.

 

Anybody with insight, or stories to tell out their dog's disc behavior from puppy to adult?

 

Thanks

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Secret took MONTHS to graduate from rollers. Months. Then, even after she caught her first disc, I still had to do rollers at least 50% of the time or she would lose interest. Her toy drive was low, low, low.

 

She's 15 months old now, though, and so much better! Now and then I'll do the odd random roller because they still make her very happy, but her catch rate is probably close to 100% (when I don't throw them like a moron, at least).

 

That said, I'm just a hobby disc dogger. You'll never see us doing freestyle or anything, as I simply don't have the coordination for the tricks. I'm lucky I can throw the frisbee straight. lol

 

My older dog, Luke, is a good example of zero interest to frisbee freak in the blink of an eye. I think he was about 8 months old when he decided that fetching and catching was super cool.

 

And FYI, I wouldn't be encouraging a six month old puppy to jump up and catch a disc any time soon.... Not good for their joints. Keep the tosses low!

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Hate to brag, but I had my BC catching the disc at about that age or earlier and I have no experience training dogs whatsover. As a matter fact, he's my first dog. I owe my\his success to the breed and his love of chasing anything that moves, although that includes bikes, cars, cats, etc. He seemed to naturally take to it.

 

He is about 16 months now, but when he was a pup, to burn his excessive energy, we played everyday for about 30 minutes, starting with rollers and gradually working to catching in the air within about a month. Even training him to bring the disk back took very little on my part. He brings the frisbee back everytime and tosses it at my feet. He could do this all day.

Now he catches the disk as far as I can throw it, which with a good wind could be almost 75 yards.

It's pretty impressive and I'm still amazed at how he does it.

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I think it is personal, both my 2 dogs love frisbee and Rievaulx picked up very quickly it was something to chase and bring back when he arrived at 5 months. My first border collie Bandit hated frisbees but would perform the same type of tricks for a tennis ball. I am not actually sure he hated the frisbee he always seemed scarred of it. We tried a whole range but nothing inspired him.

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Meg took a few months to warm up to Frisbee. I adopted her in April. She's 2 years old and did not know how to fetch. So first I had to teach her to bring things back. It took her a few weeks to catch on. Then we tried the Frisbee, but she wouldn't touch it. We tried feeding her out of it to increase interest, but it didn't work...she ate the food and ignored the disc. She wasn't afraid of it, just didn't understand that it was a toy, despite all the tossing, rolling and attempts to get her to play tug with it.

 

Apart from balls of various sizes, all her toys were soft. So I switched to using a soft cloth disc. She still wasn't real interested until my lab mix Bear (who does not normally fetch or play Frisbee) joined in the play, caught the disc and brought it back. It was like Bear was showing Meg what to do. It worked. After that, it was like it clicked for Meg that the soft disc was a toy. I started with short tosses and gradually increased the distance. Meg became a Frisbee addict...with the soft disc. Every so often during the first few weeks, I tried to switch to a plastic disc, but she wouldn't go for it. So we played with cloth discs for about two months. Then one day in July, I tossed a plastic disc and she went for it. Lots of praise and a few more throws and she was hooked.

 

With a 6 month old growing puppy, I'd stick to rollers and short low tosses for safety reasons and not worry too much about catching yet.

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Thanks for the replies. Don't worry, I'm not encouraging any jumping. Short tosses are always low..

 

We just got a bunch of snow (which he loves), so rollers are not an option! I think we'll stick mostly to the wubba, and throw in the this disc only every once in a while until spring. Maybe by then, he will have a different outlook!

 

Jim - I know what you mean, I had a GSD growing up that was a frisbee machine. He learned to catch them early on, but he had a ton of toy drive from the get go.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are multiple world finalist/champion dogs that started out as puppies who seemed to have little to no interest in the disc!

 

Keep it up, but keep it fun, low pressure and keep sessions VERY short (short means you stop WELL before he loses interest). I am working with my low-drive cattle dog mix now and it took ages for him to develop the coordination and get the hang of "catching." You said he will do takes but won't catch a toss of any distance . . . instead of tossing the disc for him, try just floating it (spinning it in place) right in front of him. You can do this just as he is coming for the take, almost without him knowing the disc has left your hand. Since there is really no difference he should catch it. That counts as a catch in my book! Gradually release it sooner and sooner and then start adding a little distance. Make sure your throwing is not the issue--rim angled properly, enough spin, and no wobble. It took lots of extremely short tosses right in front of my cattle dog before he started to get the hang of it. He is two now and we started working when he was about 11 months old. He's just now getting it. I haven't pushed it--I have a border collie who is my disc dog and he is just my "pet" really.

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Rollers are when you throw the disc so that it rolls along the ground on its edge -- It makes it more enticing to newbie/young dogs because they can chase it. It builds drive for the frisbee. Rollers are also good for young dogs because then they don't have to jump in the air to catch the dic.

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Rollers are when you throw the disc so that it rolls along the ground on its edge -- It makes it more enticing to newbie/young dogs because they can chase it. It builds drive for the frisbee. Rollers are also good for young dogs because then they don't have to jump in the air to catch the dic.

 

 

Ahhh Makes sense. For some reason all I could imagine was hair rollers. LMAO! :lol:

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  • 2 months later...

My BC "Ace" is 5 months old and he catches the frisbee at 30-40 yards.. I keep sessions limited to 6-8 throws unless he is really into it. Sometimes he loses interest if he misses a couple times in a row but he's getting better at judging the frisbee on longer throws. I use a command to make him circle around my back to get a running start but I never throw it unless he is looking at me. If your dog gets in the habit of just running and expecting the frisbee to come over his head you might have problems later.

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Rollers help a lot.

 

Also try waving the disc in front of the dog's face and getting him excited about it. Wave it around and play keep away while not letting go of the disc. Then once the dog really wants the disc, toss in the air (lightly) right in front of the dog's face. With young dogs, I really like discs made of fabric. Like a Flippy Flopper or something similar.

 

 

But,

 

be careful what you wish for! Once your dog is hooked, he will be hooked for life. My dog sleeps with her head on the frisbee sometimes if you don't take it away from her.

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for Happy, it was someone watching..I would be in a soccer field throwing discs and she would barly try, then she saw someone stop to watch..and suddenly she was flying through the air on top speed catching every disc lol its a spectator sport in her opinion!

 

Misty..nothing..she has always been obsessed with leaping in the air, she doesnt give a hoot abour rollers, just throw it high!

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I never throw it unless he is looking at me. If your dog gets in the habit of just running and expecting the frisbee to come over his head you might have problems later.

 

It depends on your goals, I guess. If I'm working toss and catch (and especially extreme distance), I want the dog running full out straight ahead, and looking up in the sky for the disc, not looking back at me. It's my job to put the disc in a place where he's gonna find it. If your dog is looking at you they are not running as fast, and then they have to re-find the disc ahead of them once they turn back around. Moreover, you run the risk of a dog who doesn't trust you to throw it and stops partway up the field, waiting for you to throw the disc. You want the dog to have a good lead out, especially if you're throwing much more than 30 yards. Freestyle is a bit of different story and you want the dog watching you more, but still, if they have the pattern down and know where the disc will be, it's easier for them if they don't have to watch it the disc leave your hand.

 

The problem that you're probably talking about is the problem that a lot of people have when starting freestyle after playing nothing but toss & fetch for a long time. The dog gets conditioned to drop the disc and run straight back out, when you were actually planning on throwing in a different direction. But the solution to this is just to start getting a freestyle foundation earlier so the dog learns there are multiple ways to play disc, not to change your toss & fetch game.

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Disc is one of the my Border Collies favourite acitivities. He will actually go and find it when we head outside and drop it at my feet. He has also learned the word "frisbee" and will fetch it no matter where it is in the yard or even if he is distracted by something else.

 

He is having trouble catching the disc though (half the time due to my bad throws). When he goes to grab it he can't keep a handle on it most of the time. (I'm using a rubberized dog disc). When I try longer throws he ususlly looses track of it and is out of position for the catch.

 

Any advice on training techniques or the how to throw the frisbee would be great. I'm new to this as my previous dogs (Goldens) never got the concept.

 

 

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I know I'll sound like a curmudgeon but we don't play frisbee here at all anymore. Maybe a tiny bit of kick the stick or ball and they leap around catching close balls or run a bit but only a few times before we find other stuff to do.

 

I did with my first border collies. Jazz is one of my first. She has a missing front bottom tooth (frisbee catch) and her canines are worn away (after years of play) plus she's just a mess in her old age. I attribute allot of that to playing fetch type games way to young and way to much.

 

But both her and her bro were easy to get to play. just started playing fetch then switched to a frisbee in the same session. (of course they already played fetch with a ball) they got it cause they were into fetching anything. they got better at catching after practice but it wasn't long.

 

Please be very careful about over playing a young dog. Jazz is 14 and is a total gimp. We lost her bro in Dec. due to his rear end giving completely out. Maybe it's just their conformation but I swear I think I over did fetch. :(

It's so hard to look at a young pup and imagine what might happen later in life, but they grow old all to quickly, Cherish what you have and keep them as healthy as possilbe.

JMHO

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I know I'll sound like a curmudgeon but we don't play frisbee here at all anymore. Maybe a tiny bit of kick the stick or ball and they leap around catching close balls or run a bit but only a few times before we find other stuff to do.

 

I did with my first border collies. Jazz is one of my first. She has a missing front bottom tooth (frisbee catch) and her canines are worn away (after years of play) plus she's just a mess in her old age. I attribute allot of that to playing fetch type games way to young and way to much.

 

I would agree; we only actually play 2-3 times a week and I try to keep the frisbee low so there is not alot of jumping. Dexter loves to jump though so it is hard keep him on the ground. Not so bad this time of year as the landing is soft in the snow. My disc is soft rubber so there should not be any broken teeth.

He just seems to always fumble the frisbee even when I throw it right to him.

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How old is Dex?

The way I learned to throw was to follow my arm with my eyes and end up pointing my hand (the one that releases the frisbee) to where your target is.

 

Please be careful

I always used soft frisbees too, but the wrong way in the mouth and you're still putting teeth at risk!

Throw as close as he can catch then add a few feet at a time.

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How old is Dex?

The way I learned to throw was to follow my arm with my eyes and end up pointing my hand (the one that releases the frisbee) to where your target is.

 

Please be careful

I always used soft frisbees too, but the wrong way in the mouth and you're still putting teeth at risk!

Throw as close as he can catch then add a few feet at a time.

 

He is 16 months; I'm very watchful of his physical state and never run him to exhaustion. My first golden retreiver died suddenly of either a heart problem or aneurism when she was running in the back yard. My wife has always felt guilty as she was out playing fetch with her when it happened.

It can happen at any age as our Golden was only 2 years old. The vet said it was probably a pre-existing problem which was not noticed during any of her exams (perfectly healthy dog otherwise). I don't thik my kids would recover if something happend to Dexter.

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I got my Border Collie when he was 2 and he was running and catching the frisbee right away. Within a month or so he was leaping and soaring in the air. Now, 4 months later he looks like a dog you would see in competitions. People stop and stare at us now.

 

His drive and focus is incredible. He can catch at far distances and can leap several feet in the air and land gracefully. I am definitely aware that I do not want to over do it and cause injury. I am mostly afraid for when he lands somewhat vertical which is very rare now. The way you throw the disc is a great way to control how your dog catches and lands.

 

Does anyone here do freestyle or go to any competitions? I am hoping to join a disc class in the spring with an instructor who competes with her collies but would love any input of any kind from people here who do it.

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