Although I call this "Puppy Frisbee" it can be done with a dog of any age, and is a useful tool to go back and work the foundation work on any dog, at any time. The premise is that the puppy is the frisbee, going back and forth between two people. I've been playing this game with my puppies for years, to teach them a no-conflict out/recall before they ever see a decoy in a suit.
To play "puppy frisbee" you need 2 people, 2 identical whistles, and 2 identical toys (ie 2 tugs, 2 wedges, color doesn't matter but size may if the dog has a preference). Preferably either a tug, rag, wedge etc, not a ball on a string or other similar toy.
Let the dog begin playing with one person. After approximately 5 seconds (vary the time so the dog doesn't anticipate) the second person will call the dog with the whistle. At the whistle the person playing with the dog immediately freezes. If the dog is a beginner the second person may need to step close and encourage the dog to let go of the dead toy and take their toy by teasing the dog with it near his/her face. Once the dog is playing with the second person, they can back away a few steps, play for approximately 5 seconds, then the first person blows their whistle and the second person's toy goes "dead". Repeat this process back and forth between the handlers for a few repititions up to a few minutes, depending on the interest level of the dog.
If at any time the dog anticipates the out/recall the "dead person" simply removes their toy so the dog can't get it, while the person they should still be playing with makes their toy more active to re-engage the dog. As the dog progresses with their understanding of the game the people can move further apart until they are approximately 20 feet apart, or further if desired. The level of play can also be increased, from some gentle tugging to a much rougher/stronger game of tug.
Using this game you can practice 30-40 out/recalls in a matter of minutes, compared to 5-10 during 1 session with a decoy. It will help instill in the dog the concept that the out/recall is just part of the overall game, not an end to the game. This can also be done with leg sleeves if both of the people know how to properly use them. It will depend on the dog though, you don't want the dog thinking they are going back to their handler looking to bite them when the handler has no equipment on.
© 2009 Kadi Thingvall