I have mostly larger dogs (50lbs and over) so when I train in canine disc or “disc dog”, we don’t do any high flying vaults or stunts where the dog has to use me as a spring board. Not only is it hard on my body, but on the dog’s body as well, AND impossible, such as if the dog is larger and not overly agile.
Having been involved in canine disc for about 15 years, I have been able to figure out many things about the sport. One of these things is that not all dogs can do the impressive jumping that gets the oohs and aahhs – BUT they can still play the game and have fun. And in competition, can also sometimes do well.
The most important thing when training with the disc, is to teach the dog how to catch well and then release. If the dog is only chasing the disc and not catching or is dropping it halfway back to you, the game stops being fun. Luckily, there is an easy remedy to this – proper training.
The dog I am currently working with, Miranda, is not a large dog, but she doesn’t really LOVE playing disc. In fact, she prefers to chase other dogs with the disc. This brings a whole different aspect to training, because even though she can jump high, I don’t necessarily want her to. More often than not, we have ended up with injuries that have stopped or slowed down a disc career when high jumping has occurred.
Instead of worrying about her NOT jumping I have to find some middle ground, where I can throw lower, but she can still jump off the ground and catch the disc. Because of her muted lack of interest in blindly catching disc after disc, I have to find alternative disc tricks to keep her interested.
So I use food and play to encourage her and it seems to be working. Not all dogs have to be obsessed with the disc to play.
Below is our first session of training the over the body jump.