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June 12, 2013

Learning To Fly: Day 2

Last week Eko and I – with the help of the P5 app – started to train towards the goal of having Eko chase and catch flying discs.  We started with the basics indoors, but for our next training session we needed to get outside.  Eko is not naturally
Last week Eko and I – with the help of the P5 app – started to train towards the goal of having Eko chase and catch flying discs.  We started with the basics indoors, but for our next training session we needed to get outside.  Eko is not naturally inclined to focus on toys so I chose a gray and wet day to practice.  The park was quiet so I had Eko’s full attention.  I was also happy to see that when I brought the flyer out of my bag Eko’s tail began to wag – it seems the positive reinforcement was working!Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dog

We started with some tug of war to ramp up Eko’s interest and excitement

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dog

Here’s how it looked from Eko’s point of view

Before moving to throwing discs, the P5 app recommends starting with rolling the discs.  For a dog like Eko who is not inclined to chase flying discs, I found this intermediate step to be a very helpful stepping stone.

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dog

After tug of war, Eko was eager to play with the flyer.  I had him sit and then released him with my roll

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dog

Eko happily dashed after the rolling flyer and pounced on it.  I heavily praised him (and gave him treats, of course) and we repeated the exercise a few more times

After the rolling exercise, Eko was fully engrossed in playing with the disc.  My excitement made him excited and he was revved up for more play.  Next up we practiced what I like to call “T-Ball catches.”  My arm was the tee and Eko had to jump to grab the flyer.

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At this point I didn’t even need to coax Eko, he was zeroed in on snatching the flyer

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dog

“Houston, we have liftoff.”

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dogFor the first time ever Eko took all four paws off the ground in order to go after a toy

Eko had a few nice T-ball catches under his belt and his tail wagged furiously after each one.  “Could this be the day!?” I wondered.   Eko was fired up about the flyer and I had a good feeling so I decided to attempt our first throw and catch….

  Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dog Look at the focus!  Look at the intensity! Eko is locked in and ready to snag that flyer!

Rhodesian Ridgeback, dog adventure, marking our territory, pet blog, pet photos, dog blog, things to do with your dog…maybe not

The throw and catch attempt was a total dud!  Eko watched the flyer alright – watched it fall right to the ground.  However, I remain undeterred.  We may have lost the battle but I believe we are winning the war.  In just a few practice sessions Eko has gone from entirely uninterested in the flyer to happily chasing, pouncing and catching (T-ball style at least!) it. The other great part about the training is that it provides excellent physical and mental stimulation to tire Eko out.

Teaching Eko to chase and catch flying discs won’t be easy, but if it was easy it wouldn’t be so much fun!

Comments for Learning To Fly: Day 2

  1. LOVE LOVE LOVE the “airplane” ears!

  2. aud says:

    What if Eko sees you playing it with another dog? Perhaps he will catch on??

  3. HAHAHA You did a great job getting Eko’s interest up, but when he was done, he was DONE. LOL That last photo is so funny! 😀

  4. Emmadog says:

    I think with more patience and practice he will catch on…he is not a retriever so it is not as natural but I think most dogs can learn to catch and then jump and catch 🙂

  5. Well, sweet Eko is Will teaching you or are you teaching Will? Love all the pictures!! That was a great lift off you made. Hugs and nose kisses

  6. hahahahahahaha!! You guys are so funny. We love your reaction too when Ecko just looked at the disc fall to the ground. Priceless!

    ~A & C

  7. onebluedog says:

    Not to worry, Will. Just look at the progress Eko has made already! I have a feeling he will be a flying disc catching pro someday soon 🙂

  8. Victoria says:

    absolutely adorable. Eko has the dejected look down pat – and so do you- no worries its all fun and games whether he goes airborne to catch it or not. We did do one thing different than you did when we trained the dogs to catch a frisbee – we threw it and then ran to catch it and Rigs learned early on he wanted to catch it instead of us and play keep-away after that w/the frisbee. Now we have the both pretty well trained (mostly) to bring it back to us so we can throw it again.

  9. Zena says:

    Absolutely love those last two pictures! Eko looks so disappointed when the flyer falls to the ground, maybe he thinks you’re trying to train the flyer to fly to him – whatever, he has made huge progress and more importantly you are both having fun 🙂

  10. Sage says:

    That was a perfect way to peak Eko’s interest. Don’t give up!

  11. hahahaha
    Will, I relate to this so much.
    I bought a Kong flying disc, so excited picturing Doggy flying to catch the it.
    You are doing better progress than I am. Doggy caught once, then the damn smart animal would run all the way where it would land to pick it up as if it was a ball.
    I’m with you, gotta keep trying, if old ladies can teach their dogs so can I!

  12. Maybe you can replace the frisby with a pancake? or a slice of sausage? I would even fly for a pancake with maple candy :o)

  13. Misaki says:

    Hehehe Eko looks like me when mummy tries to play fetch with me!!

  14. Great moment with all four paws off the ground! Thanks to your wingman/woman for help capturing your adventures!

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