As the weather improves, we start to spend more time outdoors with our furry companions. Canine disc is a fun way to interact with and exercise your dog, and get some fresh air. Many dogs love to fetch and retrieve. Canine disc incorporates these natural traits in a fun and interactive activity.
First things first, choose a disc that is safe and durable for your dog. Some cheap plastic and “promotional” discs are unsafe to use and may crack, shatter, and cause injury to your dog. Choose a reputable disc from such distributors as Hyperflite, JAWZ, and Hero.
Now, let’s get your dog interested in the disc.
Some dogs are naturally interested, whereas others may need a little coaxing and encouragement. Make the disc available only during play session. Do not allow chewing or interaction of disc outside of play sessions. This will peak their interest, making it a high reward toy, and prevent boredom with the disc. Shuffling the disc on the floor, offering treats from disc, playing “tug” and rolling it on end are a few ways to encourage your dog’s interest.
Positive encouragement, even if your dog only touches the disc to start will peak their interest. The disc should be a source of fun for your dog.
Once your dog shows interest, start doing rollers (where you roll the disc on end and the dog chases it) and small tosses, only a few feet from away from you.
Word to the wise: do not throw the disc directly at your dog’s head. Most dogs will not immediately catch the disc. Tossing it directly at them may cause them fear of the disc, especially if it hits them in the head.
Make small throws off to the side of their head. Once they start consistently catching these small tosses, throw a little further away. Here is where a solid recall comes in handy. Soon, your dog will be chasing discs across the yard. Confidently knowing they will come back will make this activity even more enjoyable.
Learning the proper way to execute a backhanded throw is also important to provide a safe interaction with you and your dog. Disc classes are available to instruct you on proper throwing techniques, and to introduce you and your dog to the sport of canine disc.
Throwing at an appropriate height is also important. Too high may cause unsafe jumping….too low can cause some dogs to dive and possibly injure themselves. Consistent throws will not only make this a safe activity, but will allow your dog to confidently anticipate the placement of the disc. In no time, you will be playing disc with your dog, having a great time, and embracing the warmer weather.
Guest Blog from Margie Fluke, Pennsylvania State Disc Dog Champion 2013 and 2014.
Introduction to Disc class is offered by Margie Fluke at Cold Nose Lodge. www.coldnoselodge.com