How to Teach Your Dog to Catch a Flying Disc

by Ragtimelil

Throwing a flying disc, sometimes called a frisbee, for your dog is a fun game for both of you and will keep him in shape. Here's how to get started.

The name Frisbee is a registered trademark. The correct term is flying disc although it has become common usage to use the term frisbee. The sport is referred to as disc dog competition.
The Frisbee got its start when, in 1938, a couple, Walter Frederick Morrison and future wife Lucile were tossing a pie pan back and forth on a California beach. They were offered 25 cents for it and Morrison realized this could be a business. He promoted and developed the flying disc until 1957 when he sold the rights to Wham-O who gave it the name Frisbee.

Updated 3/3/13 - Review of Discs

Ashley Whippet

The sport became very popular with dog owners as well as humans in the 1970s when a 19-year-old college student, Alex Stein, with his dog, Ashley Whippet, jumped the fence, ran out on the field and started throwing a disc during a nationally broadcast baseball game. Everyone was so mesmerized by the dog’s athletic leaps to catch the disc that the game was stopped and the announcer broadcast the novel flying disc action for eight minutes.

The Disc

 I use a cloth covered disc for my dogs. I used to buy cheap plastic ones but the dogs would bite down hard and make ridges in the plastic that would cut their lips and tongues. I’m sure the ones make for dogs are more durable these days, but we’re happy with our cloth ones.

Color does matter at first. Dogs cannot see reds and oranges and may lose them in the grass. I always try to get a light color to make it easier for them to find it although I've discovered that my dogs will use their nose if they can't see it.

Booda Floppy Disc, 10-Inch

Booda Soft Bite 10 inch Floppy Disc is designed for flying. It flies, floats and its flexible. This disc is soft and gentle on pets' teeth and gums and is a safe way to play and...

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Hyperflite K-10 Jawz Dog Disc

The Jawz flying disc is the toughest and best-flying chew-resistant disc ever made. The Jawz disc stands up to gnashing canine teeth better than any other competition disc and w...

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Hyperflite K-10 Pup Competition Standard Dog Disc

Hyperflite K-10 Pup discs are approximately 30-percent smaller than the original K-10 series and were designed with the small canine in mind. K-10 Pup discs feature improved aer...

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A Quick Review of Some Discs

Now that we've been playing for some time, we have a better idea of the discs we like.

We started with some cloth ones and they seemed to work, but I noticed recently that the corners of Moss's mouth was red and raw. The cloth discs have a rough edge to them and he grabs them hard. They aren't causing any problems with my old dog, however.

The cloth ones also wear out and have to be replaced periodically. Some of them are not cheap.


We tried a plastic type of disc from a big box store that advertised it as easy on the mouth. It's a large one with a hole in the center. I can't get the hang of throwing this one and Moss sometimes grabs it funny because of the hole.


We finally bought a couple of plastic type advertised as professional quality. I was simply amazed at how well they float in the air. Moss loves them. After a few days, I am seeing some teeth marks but no sharp edges so far. Interestingly, they are cheaper than some of the other ones I've tried.

Flippy Flopper Flying Disc for Dogs, Large

This is the one we started with. The most popular of all dog toys, the durable and irresistible Flippy Flopper! These are the larger, 9" discs. The colors and imprint may differ from the photo, as this classic ...

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Hyper Pet 9" Hyper Flippy Flopper Dog Toy, Green

This one is a little cheaper and lighter weight but works well. Flippy Flopper: Flying Disc for Dogs! Proudly presenting our most popular, interactive dog toy! The Flippy Flopper™.

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Hero Air 235 Flying Dog Sport Disc - Purple

What we are using now. Love how easy it is to toss. We are pleased to offer you one of the finest K-9 flying discs on the market, the Hero Air 235 (105 gram) model. Many top canine flying disc enthusiasts rave about the Hero's fr...

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How to Start

fetchI always teach all my puppies to chase a toy or ball.  If they pick it up, that’s even better. I encourage them to bring it back to me. Eventually they learn that to keep the game going, they have to bring the toy back. A game of fetching not only is fun and good exercise, but it fosters a sense of cooperation in the dog.

Dogs won’t intuitively look up if you throw something for them to chase. Their instinct is to look on the ground. I start by teasing them with the disc by dragging it along the ground and letting them chase and grab it. Then I hold it just above the ground and let them grab it. I roll it along the ground on the edge of the disc and let them chase it. Then I begin tossing it straight to them so they can catch it in the air. Gradually I begin to throw it low so they can follow it as it flies. I don’t throw it too far at first. Before long, they will be watching it fly and calculating where to catch it.

Rolling Disc
Rolling Disc
Low Throws
Low Throws
Looking Up
Looking Up
Air Catches
Air Catches


It took me a while to learn to throw with consistency. If I can throw it well, my dog, Moss, will always catch it. One trick is to hold it in your throwing hand with your index finger extended along the edge of the disc. This seems to make it easier to get a level throw that really soars.

Disc Dogs are the ones that compete in tournaments. You don’t have to compete to have fun throwing a disc for your dog. We don’t have any plans to compete, but I love to watch videos of the freestyle tournaments. The dogs are simply amazing. I may be getting too old to get down on the ground and have a dog jumping on my back. I’ll just watch they younger folk. I’ll still throw a disc for my dogs too.

The great thing about playing flying disc with your dog is that it is great exercise and a great game you can play together. I've done a lot of dog activities over the years and have come to love this sport because of the minimal equipment and space needed. It costs next to nothing to get a few discs and you only need a yard or park to play in.

Updated: 03/03/2013, Ragtimelil
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Disc Talk

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Ragtimelil on 09/20/2012

Yeah, I throw it right at the old one so he can catch it without running much. He takes a victory lap if he feels like it.

katiem2 on 09/20/2012

My older dogs do but the vet tells us to take it easy on their arthritis.

Ragtimelil on 09/19/2012

Thank you. I've been having fun with the dogs and frisbees. Even the old dog is catching them and is so proud of himself.

katiem2 on 09/19/2012

How neat, I love Frisbee's and dogs. My youngest wants a running dog really bad. We have old dogs, two that have passed their expiration date. She will put this to good use once she finds her new best friend. Thanks for the interesting fun activity with dogs. :)K

Ragtimelil on 09/07/2012

Yeah, it'll be easier to shred....:)) Just kidding. He might not though.

BrendaReeves on 09/07/2012

My golden catches the Frisbee, runs off with it and chews it to shreds. I guess a cloth one might work better.

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