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I've been trying to teach my young Aussie frisbee and I've been happy with the results. He can catch it straight ahead with no problem, and is starting to catch it thrown at a slight angle away from him, but he doesn't get chasing it down and catching it at a distance yet.

While I'd appreciate some advice on that, what really stumps me is when he doesn't catch it: it lands on the ground and he claws and scratches at it if he can't pick it up, and he drags it backward with his front two paws like he's trying to hike it between his legs like a football. I understand he is trying to pick it up, but how do I go about un-teaching this?

Any general frisbee advice? He's just under 1 year old, is super smart and has so much energy, so I think frisbee would be fitting for him. Thanks for the help!
 

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If he can catch it straight on ahead of him, I think you're on the right track and you just need to build distance gradually. Your throwing skills will be important because the more consistently you can throw the easier it will be for him.

Are you playing on grass or another surface? Some surfaces are hard for dogs to pick up the disc, but grass is usually fairly easy. I would interrupt when he starts digging and call him back to a disc in your hand. If he doesn't dig and starts picking it up correctly, say "yes!" and mark that behavior. It might help to practice him picking it up off the ground as a separate skill, not just when you've thrown it.
 

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I agree with everything elrohwen is saying. try having him pick it up as a separate skill and eventually merge the two. Kaya had the same issue, great catcher but not the best picker-upper. She would also want to chew the Frisbee if she couldn't get it picked up. I ended up buying her the Kong Flyer and it works amazing. Its made of Kong material so she cant chew it into sharp edges and it helps her to pick it up because its floppy. She can kind of just grab the middle and run with it folded. It also flies the same, if not better, than a plastic Frisbee.
 

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Yeah, I was going to say the soft fabric discs, or kong type will help. Also if you're using hard plastic and aren't using a decent *dog* disc (Hero, Hyperflite, whatever) but are using either those 99 cent petsmart ones or - worse -a human one - instead? Stop. The cheap ones are unbalanced and don't fly well and tend to get sharp, and the human ones are just too heavy and aren't made to be picked up by a dog.

The cheap fabric and tubing ones are fine, kong floppy rubber is great, but otherwise - go for a little higher cost. I will say that the difference in the predictability of the flight with the better ones is noticeable and they don't get trashed as fast. I have a really hard mouthed disc player. Those .99 cent discs after maybe 2-3 catches have teeth marks and noticeable roughness. The hero discs are a little softer and after weeks of heavy play are still fine.

I DO have and kind of use the cheap ones but - as water retrieving toys.
 

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Oh and rollers will help improve your catch rate and the dog's ability to pick the disc up. It presents an easy grab for the dog at the edge in motion and teaches the dog what to aim for - in the air and when they miss and it lands on the ground.
 

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Agree with CptJack on both getting good quality dog specific discs, and working rollers to get her driving to the disc and grabbing it.
 

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I think everyone's been giving really good advice so far -- practicing on grass, practicing picking up separately, and working on rollers are great tips. I would also say that with my dog specifically, he went through that phase of frantic scratching, but he figured it out how to best pick it up himself after a few weeks. I didn't have to "un-teach" anything.

As mentioned, the type of flying discs you use will make a difference too. I started mine on the floppy ones just so they can get the hang of it chasing it and retrieving and then transitioned to the Hyperflite Jawz, which are incredibly durable and holds up against hard chompers and even some tugging. They don't "float" in the air as well as the competition standards as they're heavier, but are still great tools for training. I've had the same 2 discs I've been using for the past 6 months and all they needed was an occasional sanding to smooth out the edges and are good to go.
 

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I think everyone's been giving really good advice so far -- practicing on grass, practicing picking up separately, and working on rollers are great tips. I would also say that with my dog specifically, he went through that phase of frantic scratching, but he figured it out how to best pick it up himself after a few weeks. I didn't have to "un-teach" anything.

As mentioned, the type of flying discs you use will make a difference too. I started mine on the floppy ones just so they can get the hang of it chasing it and retrieving and then transitioned to the Hyperflite Jawz, which are incredibly durable and holds up against hard chompers and even some tugging. They don't "float" in the air as well as the competition standards as they're heavier, but are still great tools for training. I've had the same 2 discs I've been using for the past 6 months and all they needed was an occasional sanding to smooth out the edges and are good to go.
Yeah, depends on your dog. After going to a disc seminar and seeing the level of damage some other dogs do to discs, I realized mine is pretty mild. We've had a couple Hero235s for 4 months and they need to be sanded down but don't have any holes in them at all. I really like the way the Heros throw and fly. There are discs for everything - discs for dogs with hard bites, dogs with soft bites, working in cold weather, small dogs, large dogs, etc. It's kind of overwhelming at first. haha
 

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I love Hero. Kylie uses the pup discs and Molly uses the 235s. Kylie's will last her forever, even doubling with her tugging on them. Molly's won't last nearly as long even with more careful treatment, but it's not like they're crazy expensive, either.

The ones we got at the seminar... I don't even know what they are. We got the softer option (for harder mouthed dogs - the more rigid option was also available but for softer mouthed dogs) but they're from the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge. I LOVE THEM both in the air and for the rim shape for the dog, but they're not going to last as long.
 

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Yeah, depends on your dog. After going to a disc seminar and seeing the level of damage some other dogs do to discs, I realized mine is pretty mild. We've had a couple Hero235s for 4 months and they need to be sanded down but don't have any holes in them at all. I really like the way the Heros throw and fly. There are discs for everything - discs for dogs with hard bites, dogs with soft bites, working in cold weather, small dogs, large dogs, etc. It's kind of overwhelming at first. haha
Ah, thanks for the perspective! Yeah, I know my dog is a relative mild biter/chewer, so how how long discs last which ones work best are highly variable depending on the dog. Nevertheless, I'm quite impressed by how well these Hyperflite discs held up between the freezing temperatures and my dog using it as a tug toy in between throws. I'm actually looking to transition to the competition standard type discs now that my dog is more reliable about not chomping and playing tug with it. I'll have to keep the Heros in mind. Different topic for a different thread. :)
 

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Ah, thanks for the perspective! Yeah, I know my dog is a relative mild biter/chewer, so how how long discs last which ones work best are highly variable depending on the dog. Nevertheless, I'm quite impressed by how well these Hyperflite discs held up between the freezing temperatures and my dog using it as a tug toy in between throws. I'm actually looking to transition to the competition standard type discs now that my dog is more reliable about not chomping and playing tug with it. I'll have to keep the Heros in mind. Different topic for a different thread. :)
Hazel loves to tug with her discs. We are mostly throwing and not tugging, but she'll hang off of that thing if I let her. The Heros have held up well! But we went to a seminar and the instructor's Aussie put holes in them with his canines after a couple days.
 

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Going to chime in to agree with the suggestions of doing rollers. Rollers really helped Skye build drive for the disc, learn to track it and get comfortable snatching it.

My favorite discs so far are the Hero Super Aeros and the Hero Superstars. They hold up well for Skye and she does a bit of tugging on them. They are a little heavier and I like throwing them. I do need to try something a little lighter for more distance, I think I'm going to try the Hero Xtra 235s next, suppose to be good distance discs.
 

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It's going to sound funny, but I'm not sure tugging has anything to do with the dog destroying discs. I don't let Molly tug at all. Her destruction comes soley from how she grabs the disc out of the air. I mean, I'm sure you need something some better to tug with and that would make it faster, but evidence seems to say it's down to how HARD the dog bites on the grab, not how hard the hold on when you pull.
 

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I can't even get good distance with Heros. I suck at throwing so much. Lol
 

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I have good distance backhand, and an okay hammer. Regular forehand? LOOOOOL. No. My wrist doesn't snap that direction.

The seminar really helped my throwing. It was basically 3 hours of playing frisbee with a partner.
 

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It's going to sound funny, but I'm not sure tugging has anything to do with the dog destroying discs. I don't let Molly tug at all. Her destruction comes soley from how she grabs the disc out of the air. I mean, I'm sure you need something some better to tug with and that would make it faster, but evidence seems to say it's down to how HARD the dog bites on the grab, not how hard the hold on when you pull.
I think depending on how the game of tug is played, it may or may not make a difference. The chomping on the grab for sure can put holes on the disc. But with the way I initially trained my dog on discs (may not have be the best way, I admit), involved a transition from tugging/fetching rope toys. As a result he can chomp pretty hard on it to improve his bite as we tug and I've also noticed that he will sometimes "grind down" on disc with his rear molars. We've definitely chewed through a bunch of flimsier discs (ok, the $0.99 PetSmart ones) during our earlier training days before I decided to invest in sturdier ones. Thankfully, he's much better on his releases these days. If only I can improve on my throwing!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If he can catch it straight on ahead of him, I think you're on the right track and you just need to build distance gradually. Your throwing skills will be important because the more consistently you can throw the easier it will be for him.

Are you playing on grass or another surface? Some surfaces are hard for dogs to pick up the disc, but grass is usually fairly easy. I would interrupt when he starts digging and call him back to a disc in your hand. If he doesn't dig and starts picking it up correctly, say "yes!" and mark that behavior. It might help to practice him picking it up off the ground as a separate skill, not just when you've thrown it.
I never thought about the surface but it's been mostly on a gravel driveway.. He lives with my fiancé and she lives on a hill where the only flat surface is gravel and all the grass is hillside... This never occurred to me lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all of the input.. He is really rough on all toys, and my next question was gonna be what frisbee youall use but you beat me to it lol. He has already broken, chewed holes in or otherwise destroyed 3 different kinds of discs lol yes one was a cheap one from petsmart 😅
 

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Check out these links for good dog discs:
http://www.herodiscusa.com/canine-dog-discs
https://www.hyperflite.com/discs/

Though you may not need the toughest disc out there. Most dogs will destroy the cheap ones from Petsmart. But there are some really tough discs out there.

Also, never leave the disc with your dog after you play together. They're not meant to be chew toys or toys for the dog to play with alone.
 
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