Free 10 Day Canine Enrichment Challenge: Day 6 – “Catch It”

Catch It

The Aim of the Game “Catch It” is another attention capturing game. This Canine Enrichment game is so easy to play that even kids love it. This game can help build desire for food in dogs that need some drive building.

Regular food may be a little boring, but if you put it in motion and make it a game it can suddenly become very exciting. It helps that the human playing the game is very excited and laughing too.

Another benefit of this game is a dog learning how to control their mouth. Many dogs, when excited, may miss with their mouth and bite something unintentionally. This game teaches the game to focus and then chomp at the right object at the right moment.

At the genius level, you can switch out the food for toys.

Requirements

  • This is best played off leash in a secured environment

Equipment

  • Big chunks of food (string cheese and hot dogs work well)
  • A ball or toy of 2 different sizes

Step by Step

  1. It’s best to start with teaching your dog to catch treats as you don’t want to throw a toy that might hit them in the face and scare them from continuing the game.
  2. If your dog can sit, start in that position. If not, you can try it with the dog standing also. You need the dog to sit or stand with you a couple feet away. If the dog is too close, the catching angle will be off.
  3. Start by getting the dog to chase the treat. You can start with some tosses to the ground to get your dog’s predatory chase response going.
  4. The next step is to get your dog following the treat with their eyes. Once your dog is engaged and ready to grab the next treat, slowly lower the treat from above to their mouth with the treat still in your hand.
  5. Use caution for hard mouthed eager chompers that might nail your hand. These dogs are probably ready to go straight to tossing the food.
  6. Continue dive bombing the treats slowly until you feel your dog might be ready for the toss.
  7. The first couple tosses might bonk your dog right between the eyes. If your dog is upset by this, go back to dive bombing in between your tosses. If not, keep tossing and see if the dog starts trying to catch in the air.
  8. Switching to an underhanded toss can help if your dog isn’t picking up on the dive bombing toss method.
  9. Not all dogs pick this up right away. We have had dogs that took a week or so and we keep it to just a few tosses a day.

The Genius Level

  1. The Genius level is where you can try "Catch It" with a toy. Start with your dog’s favorite toy. If your dog is really not interested in toys, you would have to do some toy drive building first.
  2. Start with a toy that is small and easy to catch. For most dogs, even a tennis ball will be too big to start with. If your dog isn’t ball motivated, they may catch a small soft cloth or furry toy.
  3. Start by getting the dog to chase the ball. Once the dog is interested in the toy, try short tosses.
  4. If your dog tends to run off with toys and not bring them back, you can use the second ball and mat method shown in the video. This dog had prior mat training so there was value to go the mat already. The second ball helped him drop the first ball.

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