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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I would like to teach Winnie to catch. My last dog was an amazing dog but bless her she was absolutely useless at catching anything. Treats, balls, ropes you name it she dropped it. She just couldn't do it. It's not hugely important but comes in useful sometimes. So I ask Winnie to sit a couple of feet away and I show her the treat (I'm using something big enough for her to see and follow but small enough to catch). I say 'catch' and toss the treat not too high but around her nose/mouth area. Most of the time it bops her on the nose or head. A few times she caught it and I made a fuss of her but not sure if she caught it because she could or because it just happened by chance. I don't want to continue doing this if she can't catch them as they fall very close to her and she ends up eating them before I get to them. Is there a better way of doing this or do I just have to keep going until she gets better but has free treats in the meantime. Her 'leave it' is a bit hit and miss. If they fly a bit further away I can get a 'leave it' in but if it's right by her paws then her tongue is out before I even get a chance to say it. Any advice on this please?
 

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I taught Annie to catch with a soft stuffed ball she loves. She was on my bed or the couch, standing, I threw the ball and said 'catch!' if she failed to catch it, I picked it up and threw it again before she could get it. It helped to start directly in front of her nose about 50 cm away. Over time, her success rate increased. If she caught it, I tugged a bit with it in her mouth which she loves, then threw it again if she dropped it. Catch is still one of her favourite games. I also refer to it as the fetch, human, fetch game, as I end up running around the room retrieving the balls she misses!
 

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My old dog is a catcher extraordinaire. Especially with food!! We taught him how to catch with popcorn and didn’t worry about him eating what he missed off the floor. Airpopped popcorn is great (just a little at a time!) because it’s lightweight and just one ingredient. It falls more slowly than say a treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I taught Annie to catch with a soft stuffed ball she loves. She was on my bed or the couch, standing, I threw the ball and said 'catch!' if she failed to catch it, I picked it up and threw it again before she could get it. It helped to start directly in front of her nose about 50 cm away. Over time, her success rate increased. If she caught it, I tugged a bit with it in her mouth which she loves, then threw it again if she dropped it. Catch is still one of her favourite games. I also refer to it as the fetch, human, fetch game, as I end up running around the room retrieving the balls she misses!
I did try first with a rolled up sock (she loves socks) but she wasn't getting the idea that I wanted her to catch it. She would jump back and start playing with it which is why I went on to treats. She has on occasion caught a rubber ball in the garden but purely by chance. I am very good at human fetch :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
My old dog is a catcher extraordinaire. Especially with food!! We taught him how to catch with popcorn and didn’t worry about him eating what he missed off the floor. Airpopped popcorn is great (just a little at a time!) because it’s lightweight and just one ingredient. It falls more slowly than say a treat.
I love the popcorn idea. Its big enough and as you say falls slower so she might have more time to catch it. Will put some on my shopping list. Thanks
 

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I did try first with a rolled up sock (she loves socks) but she wasn't getting the idea that I wanted her to catch it. She would jump back and start playing with it which is why I went on to treats. She has on occasion caught a rubber ball in the garden but purely by chance. I am very good at human fetch :D
Try starting closer. Like, an inch or so away, kinda bring it to her mouth and then tug a bit with the socks. Then after she is reliably opening her mouth to bite the toy that is coming to her mouth, kind of pop it at her that inch, so it leaves your hands for just a second, then tug a bit. Or hold it over her head so she is looking up with her mouth open, then drop the toy an inch into her mouth.
 

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Some dogs are more talented than others. Pogo could leap and catch a ball in mid air; Snarky had a 50-50 chance of the ball hitting him dead center between the eyes.

I started Pogo (and now Galen) by tossing a ball to him from a distance of two or three feet. I used a ball because it was big and easy to catch. I would slowly move the ball up and down, side to side, until I was certain he was tracking it. Then I would gently toss it slightly to the side of his head. Sometimes he missed; sometimes he caught it. I simply retrieved the ball and made no big deal of missed attempts. I praised him lavishly and pretty much threw a party on the occasions when he caught the ball. Once he understood that catching the ball was a big deal he tried very hard. With practice he got better.

I never worked Pogo up to catching treats, as I didn't want to accidentally causr fights with Snarky if he missed and Snarky stole his treat. I have started Galen, however, as he is a single dog. Once Galen got good at catching a ball I simply switched from a ball to a large slow moving treat, like a half biscuit or a piece of dried liver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Some dogs are more talented than others. Pogo could leap and catch a ball in mid air; Snarky had a 50-50 chance of the ball hitting him dead center between the eyes.

I started Pogo (and now Galen) by tossing a ball to him from a distance of two or three feet. I used a ball because it was big and easy to catch. I would slowly move the ball up and down, side to side, until I was certain he was tracking it. Then I would gently toss it slightly to the side of his head. Sometimes he missed; sometimes he caught it. I simply retrieved the ball and made no big deal of missed attempts. I praised him lavishly and pretty much threw a party on the occasions when he caught the ball. Once he understood that catching the ball was a big deal he tried very hard. With practice he got better.

I never worked Pogo up to catching treats, as I didn't want to accidentally causr fights with Snarky if he missed and Snarky stole his treat. I have started Galen, however, as he is a single dog. Once Galen got good at catching a ball I simply switched from a ball to a large slow moving treat, like a half biscuit or a piece of dried liver.
I think I have to do some science experiments to find the slowest moving treats I have available.
 

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Our old girl Indigo was an excellent soft frisbee catcher. We started that because my husband can't throw a ball well at all. He hates baseball because it's so embarrassing! He would float the frisbee and she would run after it and catch it in the air. Sometimes she preferred to sit across the yard and catch it when we threw it at her. She started catching her balls, toys and treats such as popcorn when they were tossed at her. It all happened very naturally as she got older and more coordinated. We didn't practice, we just played outside and she got better and better.
It's hard now with her gone and a new pup to not compare and have expectations. Our Winnie is just 14 weeks so she's got lots of time to show us where she shines. 🐾
 

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I let Galen have any treat he drops, with no comments. However, I tell him he's an awesome dog, rub his ears, and make a really big deal when he catches one. He likes being the center of attention, so he makes a good effort to catch the treat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A soft frisbee is a great idea as it briefly hovers in the air. You definitely don’t want to be snatching treats away from her that you’ve tossed unless she’s getting rewarded for leave-it.
Yes, this was an issue. Weather here is a bit stormy at the moment so I'm currently doing this as an indoor game. I can go for a soft frisbee once we can play outside.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tried the popcorn today and it worked really well although my husband didn't believe me as every time I got him to watch she didn't catch it - typical. I decided to incentivise her by getting the flirt pole out and if she caught the popcorn I would swing the pole. This gave a much better success rate and I now know that she is actually capable of catching and just needs practice. I now have a poodle ready for a nap. Time for a coffee for me in peace :giggle:
 

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Well for me thats one I didn't have to teach. Renn loves loves to catch & retrieve. He will bring it back, well most times and either sit in front of me to take it or he will drop it with a toss toward me. LOL Once he gets bored with it he will int to just run off with the ball.
 
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