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2.1 Starting Out


This article is from the Frisbee Dogs FAQ, by Kevin Robair with numerous contributions by others.

2.1 Starting Out

Important. Consult your veterinarian before starting your dog on any
form of athletic training program. You should verify that your pup has
good hips, especially before attempting canine Frisbee, or else a
potential problem of canine Hip Dysplasia could be aggravated.

Also Important. ALWAYS have water available for your dog while you are
training them. Since dogs do not sweat, but expell heat primarily
through their mouth and tongues, drinking water helps them cool down.
Failure to provide water to a working dog can result in hyperthermia,
which can be fatal.

The most important step in starting out is choosing the right dog! If
this step is done right, then everything else is easy. One way to go
about it is to acquire a pure-bred puppy of a breed that is known to
do well at canine disc. The drawbacks to this method are that it costs
money, you cannot really know how the pup will turn out, and you have
to wait a year or more before the dog is able to train rigorously.

The second method of finding a good disc dog is to go to a shelter or
rescue group and adopt an adult dog. This allows you to get to know
the dog and test it for Frisbee aptitude. If the dog shows some
interest in chasing the disc, then there is a good chance they will be
a faithful, enthusiastic dog Frisbee partner. The other up side to
this method is that it is cheaper, and often the bond of a rescued dog
is stronger than that of a dog raised from puppyhood.

Ideally, you want a dog with the following characteristics:

-Adult weight between 30 - 50 pounds.
-Lean build.
-Strong retrieval and tracking/chasing instincts
-Even temperament ( They will be off-lead with other dogs )
-Sound hips

Another important step toward good Frisbee dog training is basic
obedience. The main point of this class should be to teach the owner,
not the dog. Once an owner gets a feel for teaching basic obedience,
then teaching Frisbee comes naturally.

Once you have a dog, here are a few things to do ( and not do! ) when
beginning Frisbee training:

1. Throw the disc on the ground, rolling it like a wheel. This will
allow the dog to get used to chasing it without a bad experience of
possibly getting hit by a flying disc.
2. Allow the dog to have fun, and don't worry too much if they lose
interest and/or don't bring the disc back.
3. Use a happy voice and try to convince your dog this is the best
thing since Doggy Biscuits. Always make Frisbee training an extra
special time.
4. Dogs who are not interested in the disc may be enticed to play with
it by sliding the disc on the ground in circles in front of the dog.
They will pounce on the disc, and when they do, throw a roller and the
dog should follow it. Some trainers will actually rub the disc lightly
along the dogs torso to entice them to bite at it, but care should be
taken not to cause the dog to associate fear with the disc, so make
sure you talk to your dog with a happy, reassuring voice while doing
this step.
5. Put the discs away when you are not there. You dog should realize
the disc is a special toy that is only available when you are there.

1. DO NOT throw the disc directly at the dog. You want to avoid
hitting the dog with the disc, especially in the face. Doing so could
result in the dog developing a fear of the disc.
2. DO NOT push the dog to hard, to the point it is no longer having
fun. If your pooch loses interest, then quit for now and start when
you are both fresh.
3. DO NOT encourage a dog under 14 months to leap. The stress of
landing can damage a dog that is not fully developed. If a young dog
is a reckless leaper, then keep your throws low. Concerned owners can
request that their veterinarian take x-rays to determine if their
dog's growth plates have closed and they can begin jumping.

( Remember, if both you and your pup are not having fun, then you are
trying too hard! )


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