Teaching our beloved pups a cool trick like how to catch makes playing with them even more exciting. This fun skill comes in handy when we want to reward them with a treat after being good or spend some time with them in the backyard throwing around a frisbee. This might be a little tricky for furry friend to learn at first, but you can practice using this neat tip: all you need is some some popcorn!
Teaching your dog how to catch a treat is key to being able to have them do it with larger items like frisbees and tennis balls. Even before they start catching dog treats, though, it’s a good idea to start with popcorn because it’s less dense than traditional dog treats. Samantha Randall, dog owner and writer for Top Dog Tips, says this allows it to travel slower in the air and is easier for your dog to look at as it’s being tossed. Plus, it’s safer because popcorn is super light and won’t injure them if it falls on their face as they’re trying to catch it.
Even before they start catching dog treats, it’s a good idea to start with popcorn. Before you start searching whether dogs can eat popcorn, the experts at the American Kennel Club note that plain, air-popped popcorn like SkinnyPop Original Popcorn (Buy at Walmart, $4.20) is fine for them to eat in small quantities. This way your pup won’t be consuming tons of butter and salt, which could cause tummy upsets (poor Fiddo!)
Here’s Randall’s step-by-step guide for using popcorn to teach them how to catch:
- Make sure your dog sits on the floor about two to three feet in front of you.
- Hold the popcorn high above their head. Start by dropping the treat down to your dog.
- Once they’re able to catch it each time you drop it, begin tossing it. Aim to get a decent arc as it’s being tossed in the air. This way your dog will have an easier time following the treat. Plus, it buys them more time to position themselves underneath it.
- If the treat happens to fall on the floor, try to grab it quickly before your dog can get to it. This provides incentive for them to catch the treat instead of letting it drop.
Watch the video below to see how to teach a dog to catch treats:
When your dog becomes comfortable catching popcorn, Randall suggests making things a little more tricky by witching to small dog treats or pieces of kibble. Rather than trying to toss them in a high arc direction, she adds that you should try doing so at a more direct angle. Also, tossing them a little faster motivates your dog to follow and grab the treat as quickly as they can.
As your dog becomes more comfortable catching treats, then you can move onto dog toys and tennis balls. Randall notes that every dog will learn how to catch at their own pace. However, she notes that practice makes perfect and to enjoy the ride: “It will take a lot of repetition, but you’ll have a lot of laughs and plenty of fun in the process.”
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