Trick #39 - Teach Your Dog to Catch

Posted by on July, 2007

Teaching Your Dog to Catch

Difficulty: Easy
Prerequisite: Sit
Items Needed: Clicker, Treats, Toy

Train your dog to catch treats when you throw them. Collect bits and pieces of your dog's favorite treat, and have him sit in front of you. Throw a treat at your dog. If he doesn't catch it at first, take away the treat so he won't eat it. Eventually, your dog will get desperate for that good treat you have, and will not be able to get it unless he tries to catch it in the air. When he does catch it, praise him and give him a good petting. Now, when your dog catches the treat, say "Catch." When your dog begins catching naturally, you may introduce new objects to catch-a tennis ball is one. Have your dog sit, and - with a few feet of distance between you - lightly toss the ball into the air, and give the command. When he does, click and treat.

Step 1: Start out with a short distance and a good treat. Throw the treat to your dog. If he doesn't catch it, take the treat away and try again. If he does catch it, praise him and give him another treat!
Step 2: Keep doing this until he is catching well. Start saying "Catch" while he is catching them.
Step 3: Give him the command - "Catch!" and throw the treat. Give him lots of praise if he catches it at your command!
Step 4: Use other objects like footballs, tennis balls, or toys to give him more experience with catching. The more he practices, the better he will get!


Since fetch is Caspian's favorite game, we use it every day for exercise. For a little variety, we started sending him out before we threw the ball. Because he had learned catch, he started catching the tennis ball while it was still in the air. He often makes some very spectacular catches. Make sure that you use a very soft ball if you try this with your dog. Also, if you notice that your dog is jumping to catch food treats and toys, check with your vet to see if jumping is good for your dog. You want to make sure your dog is in good health before attempting any jumping tricks.


He's not catching anything! Some dogs are spectacular catchers - others are not. It's an instinct that all dogs have, but some breeds more than others. Just be patient - it may take a bit longer for your dog to learn this trick.

Tip: "Practice makes perfect. Don't despair if your dog doesn't catch well at first. Reward good behavior even if he tries to catch it and misses. Give him praise and encourage him to keep on trying!"

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