If you are thinking what to do with your Australian Shepherd during free-time, you should try a dog Frisbee. In this sport, dogs should catch the frisbee flying in the air. Playing Frisbee with the dog is a lot of fun and has meanwhile developed into a sport. But is it so easy and simple as it looks like? Whether every dog is willing and able to catch a Frisbee? Do Australian Shepherds play Frisbee?
What Is Dog Frisbee?
Frisbee is a flying disc, which the man throws, and the dog should catch it flying and bring it back. This dog sport originated in the United States in the 1970s, where dog frisbee competitions quickly took root. In the US, this is also sometimes could be called disc dog sport.
Do Australian Shepherds Play Frisbee?
Do Australian Shepherds Play Frisbee? Yes, Australian Shepherds would be happy to play frisbee with their owners. Some will immediately understand the essence of this game, and with some dogs it may take some effort. This dog sport develops endurance, sensitivity and speed. Having fun together strengthens the bond between you and your Aussie.
In principle, the dog Frisbee is suitable for all dogs who like to move. However, there are some exceptions:
- This game is not good for puppies and young dogs, because jumping and abrupt movements could damage their joints. Frisbee game is intended for grown dogs;
- Frisbee game is not suitable for dogs with osteoarthritis or hip dysplasia;
- Overweight dogs should not play frisbee due to their physique.
Basically, you can try dog Frisbee with any healthy dog. The next time you visit your veterinarian, you can ask if Frisbee game is good choice for your Australian Shepherd if you want to be calmer. If the vet confirms that your dog is suitable for this sport, the next step is to choose a good plate and start training for this activity.
How To Choose the Right Disc to Play a Frisbee?
Finding the right frisbee is not that easy. Normal hard plastic discs are very uncomfortable for dogs, especially at the beginning, and they quickly lose the desire to play. That is why there are special discs for dogs, called Frisbee. But there are also big differences and it is not easy to find the right size sometimes.
- First, the disc should be as soft as possible so that the dog can catch it as comfortably as possible.
- Second, it should be made of such a material that it does not deform after the bite.
- Third, it should also fly well – this requires a certain stability and hardness.
The most important thing to begin with is that the disc should not be uncomfortable for the dog. That‘s why it is better to start with softer disc, than too hard. You can always switch to a harder one.
How to Prepare For Dog Frisbee
Would you like to go straight to the meadow and start playing with your dog? Take some time to prepare for this sport. it is advisable to start from learning how to throw the disc, unless you are used to throwing a frisbee. Only with the right throws you will give your Aussie the chance to catch the fisc out of the air.
Once you feel well learned to throw a disc, you can find the right place for the exercise. It should be a flat meadow with no pits, as the dog will be focused on the flying plate. In public areas without a fence, your Aussie should be able to to play frisbee is there are not many distractions around him.
A concrete yard is not suitable – the floor must be elastic so that the joints are not strained. As with any active sport, do not feed your dog at least couple hours before you go to play. This will prevent dangerous stomach upset and the risk of nausea.
How Do I Teach My Australian Shepherd to Catch a Frisbee?
4 steps to learn to play Frisbee
Getting To Know a New Toy
- Your Australian Shepherd gets to know the Frisbee disc. Show him the frisbee, let him sniff and bite it. In this step the whole point is to interest the dog with the disc. As always when learning new things, use the done task – reward method.
- Roll the frisbee (vertically) on the ground. If your Australian Shepherd runs after the plate, takes it, and returns it to you – don‘t spare him the praise. If the brings you frisbee several times in a row, you can try to throw it. The whole point of this step is for the dog to understand that the plate needs to be brought back and given to you. If your Australian Shepherd knows the command „bring me that“, then it should not be any problems with this step.
Yeah, i know that some dogs just don‘t catch up fast enough and the disc falls over before they are even close to it. If you face such situation, try it on a slightly sloping hill. The disc rolls longer and the dog has more time to catch up with it.
Learning To Throw and Catch
- Don‘t throw the disc far at the beginning. It is important that it flies as flat as possible so that your Aussie can catch it. At this step, the dog is learning to catch it from the air.
Let the dog stand or sit right in front of you. Then take a big step back and make sure your Australian Shepherd is looking at you. On your command, the dog should now walk past in a semicircle around you, in order to be able to start at full speed. If you are right-handed, your dog should stand on your left, and if you are left handed – dog stands to your right.
And now the timing becomes important: as soon as your Australian Shepherd is around you, but not yet past you, you have to let go of the disc. The dog should be able to see the forward movement of the arm and thus calculate the direction of the disc from the start without having to slow down.
This takes a little practice, because you must have already completed the backward movement by then. Often the ideal time to throw the frisbee is when the dog is past you on the right (or lest, depends which hand you throw). With a little practice you will find the ideal time to throw that your dog would be able to catch it while disc is still in the air.
Important: i know that sometimes we want to tease our little friends, but in this case don‘t joke with the dog that you are waving, but not really throwing the frisbee. The dog should be able to rely on being able to run around and at full speed hoping to catch up the flying disc.
Enjoy The Game!
- From now on it‘s getting really exciting. It might be that at this step your Australian Shepherd will be so excited to play that he will be jumping around you and trying to take the frisbee from your hand. If you are at this step, your Aussie probably knows the game very well already, so you just throw the frisbee into the air with a very slight twisting motion.
Ideally, the frisbee should be at the same level where you held it before. If your dog catches the Frisbee without any problem – you have a new, very good way to spend time. Let the dog have fun and don‘t forget to praise him even if the dog is doing everything perfectly! At this step, you can gradually increase the distance and calmly throw the disc a little more in the air. Remember, it is important that the frisbee flies horizontally.
If you get problems with larger distances that the dog can no longer reach the disc or that you can no longer throw it, you should try other Frisbee discs that fly more stable. Of course, let the dog get used to the new material slowly.
Important: if you see that your Australian Shepherd is very „furious“ or tired and needs to rest – be sure to take a break. Sometimes energetic breeds like Australian Shepherds can be hard to calm down, especially if they don‘t know how to stop in this game.
What Makes Dog Frisbee So Exciting And Worthwhile?
Two main useful things that the Frisbee sport gives:
- Frisbee is a good activity from fitness aspect: there is a large portion of running, stopping, changing direction and jumping. This challenges all muscles and keeps the dog fit. And this is good activity not only for your dog, but to you as well. Especially in the beginning while you are still learning, there will be many moments when you need to lift the disc off the ground yourself, and of course a lot of walks. So it is an active leisure time for both of you.
- The human-dog connection is strengthened. Your dog learns to trust you, your skills and commands. In return, you practice expressing yourself clearly at the right moments. The result is a good time together which builds better relationship.
Dog Frisbee sport is a great leisure activity. They demand strength, coordination, dexterity and the ability to react – and in a way that fosters trust with the owner. However, the basic requirements are that you pay attention to the right surface and teach your Australian Shepherd to jump and land in a way that is gentle on the joints. Only if he hits all paws at the same time, his weight will be evenly distributed.
Trainings always should be associated with positive impressions, and keep in mind that every dog need a regular break during such activity. Have a good time!
Can Mini Aussies Catch Frisbee? Yes, mini Aussies can play Frisbee if they are already fully grown and therefore have a solid muscle, joint and bone structure. However, even then you should slowly familiarize them with the easier basic techniques such as rolling the disc on the ground first and only the start throwing it. It is not necessary to ask them to make the highest and hardest jumps. A cautious increase is best and most sustainable.