How to Teach a Border Collie to Catch a Frisbee

by Rob Hainer, Demand Media
    Teaching the "Drop" command makes the game easier.

    Teaching the "Drop" command makes the game easier.

    Often touted as the smartest of dog breeds, your border collie needs an outlet for his energy and intellect. Enter the flying disk: he must judge his speed and direction better than an NFL wide receiver while burning up his excess energy. It also saves you from having to run around the yard nonstop—just stand and throw. Puppy and adult border collies take to Frisbee quickly, so start teaching him to love the disk before you ever give it a toss.

    Step 1

    Start feeding your dog out of the flying disk. Allow him to pull and tug it around when he's finished with his food. This gets him used to the feel of the disk in his mouth and teaches him that the Frisbee is a positive piece of equipment.

    Step 2

    Hold the disk low to the ground during playtime with your pup and move it quickly from side to side. Encourage him to grab the disk by holding it close to his nose and moving it a few inches to each side until he begins to bite it and follow it when you make bigger movements.

    Step 3

    Teach your herding buddy the "Drop" command. When he grabs the disk in his mouth, praise him with lots of love and happy comments, then tell him to "Drop it." Pull gently on the disk, but stop pulling if he pulls back—you don't want it to become a tug-of-war. Look down and get quiet when he doesn't obey. Border collies thrive on positive attention, so removing your attention and praise is likely to make him drop the disk to scramble up to you for a quick apology. When he drops the disk, give him more praise.

    Step 4

    Roll the disk to get your pup to chase it. Border collies are fast, so he should be able to keep up with the disk without much trouble. Praise him liberally when he catches it, and call him to you to give him the "Drop" command. He'll quickly learn that that the faster he drops it, the faster you can roll it again.

    Step 5

    Kneel down about three feet from your canine companion and toss the disk slightly to the side of his head. He might miss the first few as he figures out how the disk's trajectory is different from when you roll it, but he's ultra-coordinated and should start catching it soon. When he misses, run to pick up the disk yourself; catching the disk is the rewarding part of the playtime, so let him play with the disk only if he catches it.

    Step 6

    Stand up and increase the distance of your throws gradually, changing directions to keep your border collie on his toes.

    Tip

    • Floppy flying disks are easier on your dog's teeth, so use them instead of plastic ones if you don't plan to attend Frisbee competitions. If you're the competitive type, go for the plastic ones instead.

    Warning

    • Never allow your border collie to jump to catch the flying disk until he's at least 1 year old, or older if necessary for him to reach his full-grown size. Jumping while the bones are still developing can lead to serious joint and bone injuries and problems.

    About the Author

    Rob Hainer began writing and editing for newspapers in 1992. He began his career as a photojournalist in the Army, and studied journalism at the University of Missouri. He worked as a copy editor and reporter at "The Marietta Daily Journal," the "Spartanburg Herald-Journal" and the "New Haven Register."

    Photo Credits

    • Kane Skennar/Digital Vision/Getty Images