Fun Tricks to Teach Your Dog – How to Catch

Fun Tricks to Teach Your Dog – How to Catch

We all know how to teach our dog some basic things like how to sit, stay, and all that other junk; but those just aren’t very much fun.  I, myself, like to change it up a little bit and teach my dog some extracurricular commands and have some fun with her.  In the first installment of this series, Fun Tricks to Teach Your Dog, we’re going to explore how to teach them to catch.

One of the first things I have always taught any of my dogs is how to catch.  While I have dealt specifically with boxers for my whole life, these tricks can be applied with any breed.  So grab your bag of treats and get ready to launch them at your dog’s face…well not right away.

How to Teach Your Dog to Catch

What you’ll need: a toy or treats (preferably small ones), dog that knows how to sit, patience

Step One: Grab your bag of treats and get your dog.  Make sure to use small treats to avoid overfeeding, as this could involve some trial and error.  If you think you are going to give your dog too many treats, use a toy she likes instead.

Step Two: First you should command your dog to sit and approach her with a treat/toy in hand.  Try holding the treat in front of your dog, while not letting her eat it.  It is important that your dog learns to restrain herself from reaching out to grab the treat, for this will help her concentration.  Instruct her to stay, and see if you can get her to focus on the treat for about 30 seconds to a minute without grabbing it from you.  Hold it a foot or so away from her, at eye level or a little higher.  After a few tries, you’ll be surprised how quickly your dog listens and waits patiently for the treat.  See how close you can bring the treat to her without her grabbing it.  Don’t let her have it until after you’ve told her it’s OK.  If she does well, give her the treat.

Step Three: Once you’ve become comfortable that your dog will wait patiently for the treat, it’s time to move it up a notch.  Start step two again, but this time hold the treat about six inches directly above her head.  Don’t encourage her to jump up to get it.  If she tries that, just move it up further and instruct her to stay.  Once she’s comfortable with you holding the treat above her, drop it.  It’s important that you do this a few times, for she will probably be surprised the first couple.  Once she catches it once or twice, drop it from a little bit higher the next time.  If she is not catching it at all, repeat step two.

Step Four: So, now you’re dog is catching treats from a foot or two above her head and all is going well.  It’s time to step it up another notch.  For this exercise you are going to once again have your dog sit and concentrate on the treat, only this time you are going to take one step back and toss it underhand at her instead of dropping it.  Try this a few times and each time she catches it, take another step back.  If this is not working, jump back to step three, or even step two and repeat.  Before you know it, you will be firing treats from across the room while your dog enjoys her new hobby.

Some people recommend using a clicker or saying “catch” while tossing the treat.  While this works fine, I have never done either.  I find them unnecessary, for if you follow the steps correctly, you won’t ever need a clicker or be required to command her to catch anything.  Hell, I throw treats blindly over my shoulder and my boxer catches them every time.

This is the first in a series of articles on fun tricks to teach your dog.  For a general introduction to boxer dog training, check out this post.


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