Learning to Catch




Teaching your dog to catch is such a useful exercise. Not only is it a fun trick but it can also add value to the rewards you use in training, increase your options for reward placement and provide a way to keep your dogs attention on you and away from distractions in the environment.

Some dogs will naturally be good at catching but others will need to be taught.

To start with, stand in front of your dog. Bring a treat up and over their nose and when they look up, mark and reward. Next you want to wait for your dog to open their mouth as they tilt their head back. Reward them by bringing the treat to their mouth.

When they are doing well with this you can start to drop the reward into your dog’s mouth from a couple of centimeters above their nose. This will be the first catch your dog does!

From here you can start to drop from a higher height, before stepping back and throwing a treat towards your dog for them to catch. At this stage you want to reward them for any attempt to catch. If they manage it, reward with bonus treats and a big celebration.

If your dog doesn’t try to catch the food, quickly pick it up before trying again. Don’t be afraid to drop back to an easier stage again if you need to and be sure to brush up on your own throwing skills too!

In time your dog will be great at catching and you can start to play this game in a variety of locations.

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