Here’s a fun game that you’ll love almost as much as your dog will! Teach your dog to play Volleyball! Well, kind of… I haven’t managed to get my dog to understand the official rules of the game, but I did teach him to volley the ball back to me! Maybe your dog plays fetch, and you’ve wondered if your dog could ‘throw’ the ball back to you? Play catch like father and son perhaps? This game of Doggyball comes pretty close, and I love playing it with my boxer, Doug!
Teach Your Dog To Play Doggyball!
I began by cueing Doug to ‘catch’ a large, but very soft children’s toy ball. Get them excited about the ball before having them ‘wait’ or ‘sit’ while you step back a few steps to toss it to them. Mark any attempt to jump up and catch the ball with ‘yes!’ and reward with a treat. I am especially generous if he bounces the ball high up, or in my direction so that I can catch it. Once he has the idea that I want him to launch the ball in the air, I try bouncing it back to him a few more times, and then fade treats completely, letting the joy of the game be the reward.
You should be able to teach this trick even if your dog has no experience catching treats or toys in their mouth. It does help if you use a cue they know like ‘get it’ or ‘fetch,’ that has indicated they should go after a ball in the past. I wondered why my dog was sitting there letting the ball hit the ground before noticing that I had told him to ‘wait,’ but hadn’t told him ‘okay’ ‘get it’ when I tossed it. He obediently lets the ball fall to the ground unless I cue him to ‘catch’ or ‘get it’ or at the very least release him with ‘okay.’
Have fun with your dog!