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Teaching your dog how to use an automatic ball launcher is a great way to keep them entertained and exercised.
However, the last thing you want is to buy the best automatic dog ball launcher and have your pup not use it the way it’s supposed to be used.
It can be a bit of a process, but it’s definitely worth it in the end.
In this blog post, we will outline the simple steps you need to take in order to teach your furry friend this fun trick.
Let’s jump right in.
Table of Contents
Step #1: Introduce the ball launcher to your dog in a positive way
The first step is to get your dog comfortable with the ball launcher. You want them to see it as a positive thing, not something that’s going to hurt them.
To do this, place the ball launcher on the ground and let your dog sniff and investigate it. Once they seem comfortable, give them a treat.
It’s a good idea to have your dog on a leash for the first steps to help keep your dog close and their attention on you.
Step #2: Teach your dog a “drop it” command
Toss the ball behind them, not too far away, and present a treat right in front of their face when they bring it back. Say your command, either “out” or “drop it,” and once they drop the ball, give them the treat and follow up with praise.
Note: If your dog isn’t dropping the ball in exchange for their treat, you’ll want to get a higher value, more rewarding treat. This is usually anything that is smellier.
For example, you can try ham, chicken, or my pup’s personal favorite, cheese.
The smellier, the better when it comes to training. Sometimes dry cookies/treats aren’t interesting enough to get a dog to follow through on your commands.
Something else you can try is to simply wait until your dog is hungrier to start their training. If they’re more food motivated because they’re hungry, they’ll be more interested in dropping the ball for a treat.
Another benefit of the leash is that you can ensure they are bringing the ball back to you instead of chasing after them to get the ball from them. Dog training can take time so make sure they can get this down pat before moving to the next step.
Note: If you are struggling to teach them commands and want more structured help, consider an online dog training course for extra guidance.
Step #3: Start delaying treats & praise after they drop the ball
Now that your dog is getting the hang of things, it’s time to start delaying the treats & praise.
Start by waiting a couple of seconds after they drop the ball before giving them their treat and praising them. Then, gradually increase the amount of time you wait before rewarding them.
The goal is to get to the point where they are bringing the ball back to you and dropping it without expecting a treat or praise right away.
It’s important not to move on to the next step until they drop the ball whenever you ask.
Step #4: Get your dog to drop the ball close to the launcher
Now that your dog has the basics of the “drop it” command down, you’ll want to start working on getting them to drop the ball close to the automatic ball launcher.
To do this, simply place the ball launcher a few feet away and give your dog the “drop it” command when they bring the ball back to you.
Make sure you’re pointing at the ball launcher when saying the commands now.
If they drop the ball close to the launcher, give them a treat and praise. If they don’t, that’s okay. Just pick up the ball and try again.
Remember to take it slow and be patient with your dog.
Step #5: Start only rewarding when they drop the ball right next to the launcher
Now that your dog is getting the hang of things, it’s time to start only rewarding them when they drop the ball right next to the launcher.
You want to be more directive with your hand and pointing to the device. Then, whenever they drop the ball right beside the launcher, give them their treat.
Step #6: Only reward when they drop the ball in the launcher
Now you’re really starting to increase your expectations.
Once they’ve started dropping the ball close to the ball launcher consistently, you’ll want to reward them only when they drop it in the device (or very, very close).
Remember, you want to immediately reward them when they do it properly, so they understand what’s expected of them.
If they drop the ball far from the automatic ball launcher, simply throw the ball again for them without giving them a treat.
Step #7: Gradually increase the distance between you and the launcher as your dog becomes more comfortable using it
Now that your dog is getting the hang of using the automatic ball launcher, you can start to increase the distance between you and the device.
Start by taking a few steps back while they are retrieving the ball. If they still drop it in or close to the device, give them their treat.
Step #8: Be patient – some dogs may take longer than others!
Remember, every dog is different; some may take longer to learn how to use the automatic ball launcher than others.
It’s also important to note that you should keep your training sessions between 10-15 minutes. It may take some dogs a few sessions per day and a few days to get through all these steps.
The most important thing is to be patient with your dog and not get frustrated if they don’t catch on right away.
If you keep at it and follow these steps, they’ll be using the automatic ball launcher on their own in no time!
I hope this post has given you some helpful tips on how to train your dog to use an automatic ball launcher.
Remember, being patient with your dog and taking things slow is important. If you keep at it, they’ll be using the device on their own in no time.
No matter how good your automatic ball launcher is, it might as well be manual if your pup doesn’t learn how to use it.
By following these simple steps, your dog will surely learn how to use their new toy in no time.