How Much Water Should I Bring For My Dog Hiking?

Dogs need water while hiking, especially in hot weather. How much water you bring depends on where you go, what you do, and how long you hike. You can either carry bottled water with you or give your dog filtered water.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services marked with an *. The main purpose of this article is to provide you with hiking and safety tips. We will only provide links to truly great products we think our visitors would appreciate learning more about.



Don’t let your dog drink from a stream unless you treat it properly. Like humans, dogs are susceptible to water contaminants. Drinking salty water may lead to diarrhea and vomiting.

You’ll have to check with the area for known, reliable sources of water. If you are not sure about reliable water sources, bring your own water to be on the safe side. It also helps to store drinking water in your car for after your hike or for emergencies.



As a general rule for a moderate 2 hour hike, plan to bring 32 oz. of water (16 oz per hour) for yourself and more for your dog. Considering that a dog needs about an ounce of water per pound weight per 2 hours, a 30 pound dog would need about the same amount as you. It never hurts to bring more water than you need, especially in hot or dry weather. Offer water to your dog frequently and let him take small sips

Every person and dog will differ in water needs. Use our guideline as a baseline, but it’s important to get a good estimate on how much you and your dog really need by going on a series of short hikes. Record how much water you and your dog consume every hour and under what conditions. By the time you go on a long hike or backpacking trip, you’ll have a good estimate for how much water you really need for you and your dog.

Be sure to read our articles regarding our top picks for water filters and water bottles that are suitable to use with your dog. Most will even fit in your dog’s backpack and can be shared with you. Or, you can always buy your dog his own filter or bottle!



We are not veterinarians or food nutritionists. We do provide some general tips that may apply universally, but every human and dog has different nutritional needs. Please consult your doctor and vet for information that pertains specifically to you and your dog.

Remember that dogs may actually ingest water if they are playing in water. Make sure play time is kept at about 15-30 minutes. Your dog may actually ingest a lot of water if they retrieve balls or sticks in the water. One way to reduce the amount of water your dog ingests during play is to toss him a flat toy instead a round toy which forces your dog to open their mouth more.

If your dog likes to play with the water hose, don’t spray water directly in your dog’s mouth. This can force your dog to guzzle up too much water.


It’s easy to tell if you are thirsty, but if your dog is not drinking enough water consistently on hikes, it could lead to diseases and serious health problems down the road. If your dog is sick or has a fever, he may also refuse to drink.

Signs of dehydration in dogs:

  • Pale, Dry Gums
  • Excessive Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Sunken Eyes
  • Loose Neck Skin That Doesn’t Retract Quickly After You Pinch It


Talk to your vet right away if your dog is dehydrated. You could wrap your dog up in a wet towel on your way to the vet. Consult your vet about giving your dog more water, as this could actually make him vomit.

Humans exhibit similar signs of dehydration as dogs. But a great indicator is dizziness, dry mouth, and sweating. You’ll also have darker urine if you are not drinking enough water.

Severe dehydration will result in low blood pressure, fever, delirium, and even loss of consciousness.

Water Intoxication

While you are out on the trail, don’t gulp down too much water all at once or this could lead to water intoxication, or when there’s too much water in the body and salt levels in your blood get dangerously and sometimes fatally low. One sure way to avoid water intoxication is to take small sips frequently instead of ingesting a lot of water all at once. Remember water play, as we mentioned above, can also make your dog ingest more water.

Signs for water intoxication for dogs:

  • Lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of Coordination
  • Dilated Pupils or Glazed Eyes
  • Pale Gums
  • Drooling
  • Loss of Consciousness
  • Difficulty Breathing
  • Seizing
  • Loss of Consciousness


If your dog has lost consciousness or is seizing call your vet immediately!

For humans, a sign of water intoxication is headaches, confusion, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. If you are experiencing leg cramping and have been sweating a lot, try adding salt in your water or eat something salty.

Marathon runners often carry salt packets with them. You could also take sports drinks, gels, or gummies that have electrolytes.

If you like gummy bears try Clif Shot Blocks*! They come in many different flavors and are compact enough to take with you on a run or outdoors. They also don’t taste grainy or sticky like other energy supplements. Each cube gives you a little boost of energy!


If you need to learn more about water intoxication in humans, Dr. Axe has a great article where you can learn more. One important tip they mention is that the risk of water intoxication increase is someone drinks more than  1.5 liters of water (over 50 ounces of water) in an hour.

Don’t give salt or electrolytes to your dog, without consulting your vet! Dogs don’t sweat out salt like us humans, but cool themselves off instead by panting and drinking water.



Water is important for everyone. If your dog is not drinking enough water on a consistent basis, check with your vet to rule out any diseases or maladies with your dog. These can be serious if not addressed.

Some tips to get your dog to drink more water:

    • Give your dog a reason to drink! Do some exercise and play with your dog.
    • Give your dog water every 15 minutes. Perhaps your constant nagging will remind him to drink!
    • Add chicken, beef, or bone broth to your dog’s water.
    • Always change out your dog’s water so it’s fresh and clean of bacteria or debris. Don’t forget to wash your dog bowl and get rid of any leftover residue and minerals.
    • Train your dog to drink water. You can say “drink” or “water” and give him treats and/or praise every time he takes a sip.
    • Sometimes dogs will try to drink less water if they can’t go outside to do their business. Take them out more to pee.
    • Elevate your bowl. This is a better option for large dogs so they don’t have to stoop down to drink.
    • Try changing dog bowls. Sometimes dogs just don’t like the container they are drinking from. We don’t have an exact answer to this. But it might work! Some dogs are just pickier than others.
    • Buy a water fountain. Your dog may just to drink from a running water source.

A great choice is the Dogit Design Fresh & Clear Pet Fountain*. It’s on sale now at Amazon as of May 2018!

Don’t forget to buy extra filters* that go with it, currently an Add-On item at 45% off. This is a really great deal so we couldn’t help but share! Better take advantage of it now!




Leave a comment if there are any other important tips for our dogs! Did you or your dog ever have water intoxication or dehydration? Can you share your story with us? Leave a comment!

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

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Activities: Grooming, Health, Shopping, Hiking, Great Outdoors, Walking, Running, Biking, Outdoor Play

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Best Energy Bars For Dogs – Pawtivity Picks

We love learning about the latest doggy stuff out there because we all want the best for our furry friends! Each week we cover the fun, novel, essential, and new products for dogs in our Pawtivity Picks Series.

This week we looked for energy bars to take out on the trail with our dogs. Energy bars are a compact, portable, and slim source of food for your dog. They are much easier to carry around than kibble and bowl. No more crushed or wet kibble! An unopened bar package won’t get spoiled and wet if you are on a trail near water or doing water sports.

Products Covered: Energy Bars

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission (at no cost to you) for our endorsement, recommendation, testimonial, and/or link to any products or services marked with an *. The main purpose of this article is to provide you with hiking and safety tips. We will only provide links to truly great products we think our visitors would appreciate learning more about.



Energy bars for dogs are short-term energy boosters or meal replacement solutions designed specifically for active dogs. Bars are high in calories so it’s not something you want to give your dog if he’s not active. Bars are also idea for travel rather than the main source of your dog’s daily meal.

Ask your vet for their opinion on which energy bars are best for your dog and activity level. You should also ask them about any known allergies. We can’t recommend a best energy bar for your specific dog. It just depends on his activity level, health, nutritional needs, and calorie requirement.

With all food, give your dog a small sample to try first before heading outdoors. If your dog gets an upset stomach or other adverse reaction from the energy bar, at least you’ll know in advance and be able to consult further with your vet. Don’t forget to try different flavors to keep meal time more interesting for your dog!

Even the best food manufacturers announce food recalls. Always check the FDA’s list for recalls periodically to make sure you are not giving your dog something from the list. Another great source for dog food is Dog Food Advisor.



TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar

TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar* is a popular choice among hikers and backpackers. It’s a complete meal for your dog, meaning, you can give your dog one of these bars in place of his meal! Depending on how much your dog eats, it means not having to carry around kibble and a bowl! And dogs really do love the taste of these. They just do! Flavors come in bacon and peanut butter.

Each bar is 2.2 oz, 250 calories and made from US sourced, human grade, all-natural grain-free ingredients. Bars also come in multipacks for a total of 4.4 oz and 500 calories. Bars can be kept for up to 2 years or up to the ‘best by’ date on the package.

Food is suitable for sensitive stomachs and approved by a lot of picky eaters. Bars are scored and can be broken into pieces easily by hand or given throughout the day as a treat.

If you look at the Nutritional Analysis, bars contain 18% crude protein and 20% crude fat to help sustain energy. Top 5 ingredients are all natural: chickpea flour, whey protein isolate, oil blend (safflower, coconut) organic tapioca solids, and proprietary vitamin and mineral blend.

According to Embrace Pet Insurance, dogs need about 25-30 calories per pound to maintain their weight. For a 50 pound dog, this is roughly 1250 daily calories or 625 per meal twice a day. That means as a meal replacement you may need to give your dog a 4.4 oz package for each meal and perhaps top it off with something else, such as peanut butter. This is important to keep in mind as it’s a very rough estimate of how much food you have to bring for your dog.

WHY WE LOVE: We love this because dogs love this! We also love how this can be used as a ultra-light, compact meal for your dog, perfect for that backpacking and day hiking trip.

Take me to the TurboPUP Complete K9 Meal Bar*now.


Zuke’s Power Bones

Zuke’s Power Bones* are a favorite among day hikers. Zuke’s already carries a wide array of treats, that dogs simply love.

With real meat listed as the #1 ingredient and the fact that dog’s love the taste of these treats, getting these treats is a no-brainer. Power Bones comes in 4 flavors; Beef, Chicken, Chicken & Rice, and Peanut Butter.

Power Bones contains about 12% crude protein and 7% crude fat. The top 5 ingredients are meat, ground oats, ground barley, ground rice, and maple syrup. Other ingredients are all natural and include a combination of fruits, vegetables, spices, and preservatives. These treats come in chewy, bite sized chunks about an inch long.

WHY WE LOVE: Zuke’s Power Bones are the prefect little treat for a day hike. We love giving tiny doses of energy (and love) to our dogs while out on the trail.

Amazon currently has an add-on special* on the beef flavor for $5.44 as of May 2018. That’s a really good price. Better take advantage of the awesome deal!!

Take me to Zuke’s Power Bones* now.


Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar

We look to hunters for advice on energy bars. The Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar* is new to us, but a staple for many hunting, sporting, and guard dogs. It’s compact and packaged for ultimate portability at any outdoor event, show, or during intense training exercises.

This 400g bar can be broken up into 8 smaller pieces. According to the manufacturer, 100-200g (2-4 small pieces) is enough for a 55 pound dog! That’s a small dose of energy! It will take about 30 minutes to 1.5 hours for the energy bar to take effect.


The Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar contains 25% crude protein and 59% crude fat. The top 5 ingredients are fish meal, lard, vegetable fat, grape sugar, and corn. Additional vitamins and minerals have been added to the bar.

A bonus in these treats is that these bars don’t freeze. You can use them in the winter without getting a hard block to give your dog! It’s also packaged so no need to package your own food.

This product is made by Henne Pet Food of Denmark and originally designed for dogsled teams.

WHY WE LOVE: This bar is one small, mighty compact dose of energy for your active dog!

As of May 2018, there is an extra 5% coupon*.

Take me to the Lakse Kronch Pemmikan Energy Bar* now.


Out Bar

The Out Bar is handcrafted in batches by The Great Outdogs. It’s a compact meal replacement for dogs that need a good boost of energy. The bar comes in three flavors; herring, lamb and turkey.

Each piece can be broken up into 4 smaller pieces. A 50 pound dog will need about 3.5 bars per day.

The Out Bar contains 23-28% crude protein and 16-23% crude fat. The top 5 ingredients are animal protein (herring, lamb / lamb liver, turkey / turkey liver), buckwheat flour, green lentils, sweet potatoes, and chickpeas. This may vary slightly based on flavor of the bar. Bars are grain-free, do not contain artificial preservatives, and have added vitamins and minerals. Ingredients are source from North America.

WHY WE LOVE: We love that this bar is handcrafted with quality ingredients.

Take me to the Out Bar now.


What energy bars do you get for your dog? For what activity?

Leave a comment if there are any other products you think are worth letting everyone know about! Please let us know why you like it, how you use the product, and how long you have been using it for.

Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!

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Activities: Shopping, Hiking, Camping, Backpacking, Great Outdoors, Running, Food, Biking, Sports – Water, Sports – Winter

Amazon Affiliate Disclosure: The owner of Pawtivity is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.  

A selection of our favorite dog friendly activities and events for Fall 2017.

Top Dog Friendly Activities for Fall

It’s Fall! We love the change of the seasons and the welcome relief of a new chill in the air. Dogs love it too!

Here are some dog friendly activities that will get you celebrating the smells and sights of fall.

Want to see a pawtivity (activity) or event listed? Just email us!




Participate In A Doggy Run With Your DogDoggy Run (1k-5k): October is Adopt A Dog Month and the perfect time to sign up for your first 5k to support your local rescue groups and shelters. If you or your dog can’t run, just walk! They’ll still have fun. Don’t forget to dress up in costume!




Go Hiking With Your DogHiking: Enjoy the new change of the season by taking your dog out sniffing and exploring a new hiking trail. The best trails will be the ones that offer the best views of fall foliage. Plan a road trip to a destination hike. Please let your dog stick his head out the window to bite that wind!



Take your dog camping.Wilderness Camping: The summer heat is finally over! It’s time to spend the entire day outdoors with family and friends. Book a campsite early. There’s so much to do, but whatever you do, involve your dog in all the action! End the day by making him a campfire s’more with dog biscuits and marshmallow. Then, snuggle in for the night and wake up to watch the sunrise together.



Dog jumping over a panel jump on an outdoor agility course.Obstacle Course Race: Do you love mud runs? Take your dog on one! We think it’s a no brainer, and there are some races that are dog friendly.





Hike The Triple Crown

Hike The Triple Crown: The Triple Crown includes the Pacific Crest Trail on the west coast, the Appalachian Trail on the east coast, and the Continental Divide which runs along the Rocky Mountains. Each trail does offer dog friendly sections. Make the most of your experience by planning a backpacking trip with your dog!




Take Your Dog To A Pumpkin PatchPumpkin Patch: It’s the season for a great pumpkin search! There are several dog friendly pumpkin patches. Pick out the best pumpkin to carve at home and enjoy some carmel apples, cider, and pumpkin pie while you are at it! End the day by watching the classic, “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” with your dog.



Take Your Dog To A Corn MazeCorn Maze: Have a dog that’s good with his nose? Take him with you to a corn maze! Have fun getting lost together and exploring your way out of the maze!




Dog with Finger MustacheDog Mustache / Beard: This is the silliest thing we think you can do with your dog! Give your dog a mustache or give yourself a dog beard! You may have to do a few takes to get it just right, but either way you are sure to have some fun!



Catch Your Dog Dreaming Something HappyDream Happy: Did you know that dogs sleep 12-14 hours a day? Of course they don’t sleep that all in one stretch, but it’s cute to see them all curled up or even snuggled up with you getting in a short snooze. We love to see a sleeping pup, so share the best shot of your pup that will make even the most wired want to lay down for a snooze.




Make Your Dog Homemade TreatsTrick for Pumpkin Treats: Who has time for baking when you’re always outdoors? This is an easy recipe that will take no time. Mix together 1 can pumpkin puree, 1 egg, 2 cups rice flour, and ½ cup peanut butter. Preheat the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 10 minutes or until slightly toasted and crispy. Cool and make your dog do a trick before you give him his treat! To make this even more of a gourmet treat, sprinkle on a mixture of ground pumpkin seeds (shelled), peanuts, cashews, and almonds before you bake them.




Teach Your Dog To Catch A Frisbee/DiscRunning Catch (Disc): Some dogs have high prey drive. They will go after any moving object. Get your dog running and jumping by throwing him a frisbee or disc to catch!




Take An Agility Class With Your Dog!Take An Agility Class: Dog just want to jump, tunnel, run, and climb? Agility is not just for the Border Collie. To us it’s a great way to train for an obstacle course race! It’s also one of the best form of mental and physical exercise that boots your dog’s confidence and actually makes him more obedient – he’s learns to look up to you! Start this outside with our dog in the fall, but move on indoors during the winter!



Go Bikejoring With Your DogBikejoring: Have a large dog that loves to run with you? Bikejoring is a sport where your dog actually pulls you on your bike. Think dog sledding in the fall! You could start training your dog with bikejoring in the fall and move on to skijoring (dog pulls you on cross country skis) in the winter. This is a must-do for a Husky!



Is there a great dog-friendly activity or event missing from our list? Contact us so we can share it with the community!



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Sign up TODAY!

Play Ultimate Frisbee With Your Dog

Ultimate Frisbee

Do you know what ultimate frisbee is? It’s a game where teams have to get a frisbee or disc into their opposing end zone or goal. The human version comes with a lot of rules, especially at the competitive level. Create and play your own version of ultimate frisbee with your dog. Have your dog catch a frisbee but instead of having other people in the mix, add some obstacles, treats, and distractions.

Share a photo or video with the community! How did you play ultimate frisbee with your dog? Did you play with others? What version of ultimate frisbee did you come up with!


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Disc, Frisbee

Roll a Frisbee On The Ground To Your Dog

Disc Roller

Need to get your dog to take an interest in a frisbee or disc? Roll the frisbee on the ground. You will want to hold the frisbee up vertically and then snap your wrist to flick the frisbee to roll on the ground. If your dog has high prey drive, he will chase after the frisbee. Otherwise, try waving the frisbee around before throwing the ground to get your dog’s interest.

Be silly, have fun! Snap a photo of your dog in action!


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Disc, Frisbee

Play Frisbee With Your Dog

Play Frisbee

Introduce your dog to the frisbee or disc and just play!

Show us how much your dog loves to play!


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Activities: Disc, Frisbee

Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

Dog Bored? Top 10 Ways To Cure Dog Boredom

My dog looks up to me a lot. So, it always makes me feel guilty whenever she sprawls out on the floor with a thud, gives a big sigh, and then stares me down with those sad, bored puppy eyes. All she wants to do is play! Maybe I’m overthinking it, but she would get up in a heartbeat if she saw me with a toy in hand!

So, how do you cure dog boredom?

Dogs need a lot of physical exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction. Otherwise, they will look for something to take their frustration and boredom out on, such as chewing up your living room couch, digging out all your new outdoor plants, or barking at anything with legs.

Our dogs have become lazy, or rather we have allowed them to become lazy. Dogs used to work a lot! Many were bred to retrieve prey or herd livestock alongside their humans. All dogs have a natural instinct for scavenging for food.

We simply need to do more with our dogs and give them (and yourself) an active lifestyle! I’m always looking for a fresh way to keep my dog busy and avoid destructive behavior in dogs. Here are some quick tips to keep your dog entertained, happy, active, and challenged.



~As they say, a tired dog is a happy dog.

  1. Walk Somewhere New: Like humans, dogs love a little variety and challenge in their walks or hike. Take them somewhere that has new scents, sounds, and experiences.
  1. Go Out On Errands: Dogs love the car ride too. If you can’t walk, take your dog along with you when you run errands! Crack open the window and let them sniff something new in the air! Never leave your dog in the car if it is too hot outside! Not only will another dog owner give you the stare down, but worse, your dog may have get heatstroke or sustain brain damage.
  1. Sign up for a Pawtivity or Event: Find new ideas to keep your dog active and happy on Pawtivity! Sign up to do something with your dog! Try a new activity you’ve never done before. We love fetch, disc dog / frisbee, and tug. Agility is also a great form of mental and physical exercise that boosts your dog’s confidence and makes them more obedient all-around – it truly is an overlooked form of play for dogs! 15 minutes of disc, agility, or other form of active play at a time truly does wonders – keep your dog wanting to do more and looking to you to play more.
  1. Go To The Dog Park: The dog park is a great way for your dog to socialize with other dogs. Better yet, it’s often free!
  1. Make Your Dog Work For Food: Since dogs used to scavenge for food, why not scatter your dog’s food in the yard and make them find their food? Or lay out small piles of food around the house for them to find. Every time you feed your dog or take your dog on a walk, make them do puppy situps (sit, down, sit, come/touch, look). Practice puppy situps at a farther distance each time. This is great training for better recall and obedience, useful for when your your dog is off leash.
  1. Get a Chew Toy: Dogs love to chew, so get a good assortment of soft and hard chew toys to try out! Carmella can bite through black Kongs, so we love edible dental bones and antler bones. Antler bones last a long time and do double-duty to fight boredom and clean teeth. Note of caution: Find the best chew toy for your dog – start with a soft one. Antler bones should be taken away if you see chipping or breakage. Chew toys that are too hard can fracture your dog’s teeth. We never had a problem with antler bones, but this has to do with they way Carmella works at the bone, she doesn’t just bite down. Tennis balls are not the best chew toys as they can wear down your dog’s teeth enamel and fall apart in pieces large enough to get stuck in your dog’s throat. In all, supervise your dog with their chew toy before deciding which one is best for them.
  1. Invest in Treat Dispensing and Smart Toys: Dogs naturally have a keen sense of smell.  Why not challenge them to use their natural instincts by giving them a puzzle for them to solve?  Treat dispensing and smart toys often involve the use of treats and require supervision. They also come in varying levels of difficulty.
  1. Create Distractions When You are Away: Keep a safe treat dispensing toy around, put on the tv or radio, and keep a chew toy or two around for your dog to play with when you are out.  You can also try giving them frozen treats that will melt over time or put toys in a huge ice mold to leave outside.
  1. Rotate Your Dog’s Toys: This shakes things up a bit and gives more mileage to your dog toys. Dog are like kids – they love the new toy and all want the new toy.
  1. Attend a Basic Dog Training Class:  How will your dog know what you want them to do? Dog owners need the proper training to communicate effectively with their canine companions. Basic commands such as sit, stay, leave it, give, or come serve as building blocks to help you play more with your dog.


What are other ways that you can keep a dog busy? We hate to see a dog that is bored. Include a comment below or email us and we will add your suggestion as a pawtivity!

Carol & Carmella
President & Pup, Pawtivity


Is Your Dog An Amazing Pup? 

Is your dog amazing? Contact us to be considered as one of Pawtivity’s featured amazing pups! We may feature you on or on our instagram accounts @pawtivity and @myamazingpup. Send us a photo of your dog and tell us why they are so amazing!


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Teach Your Dog To Catch A Frisbee/Disc

Running Catch (Disc)

Before you begin, make sure you dog is comfortable with the frisbee or disc. Have your dog sniff and play with the disc on the ground. Then lure the disc in front of your dog and make him want to chase you.

To get your dog to catch the disc, try rolling the disc on the ground first. Most dogs will run after a moving object at ground level. Roll the disc on the ground while using a command such as “catch” or “fetch” and followed by a reward treat. Start at short distance and increase the distance slowly. If your dog doesn’t really catch on to the disc or is still a puppy, you could try using a tug toy and encourage him to love the chase by playing tug with him every time he retrieves the tug toy. When ready, replace the tug toy with a disc.

To teach a running catch, you’ll have to have your dog catch a disc in mid air. Have your dog sit in front of you and throw the disc in the air a short distance. Try to catch some air underneath so you make it easy for your dog to catch – he may not have to move much at all! Reward every time your dog catches the disc. Slowly increase your distance and perfect your throw so that your dog can do a running catch.

Take a photo or video of your dog’s greatest catch! How did you train? What’s your favorite disc?


Help a fellow dog owner! Do you have an adventure story? Contact us and we will link it to this pawtivity or event! Where did you go? What did you do? Please include any useful tips and advice that would help others!

Disc, Frisbee

Learn To Play Frisbee or Disc With Your Dog

Learn to Play Disc With Your Dog

Disc, Frisbee, Disc, Frisbee… 

Is it called a disc or frisbee? A frisbee is actually one kind of flying disc as well a registered trademark of the toy company, Wham-O!, that first popularized the flying disc. Disc is the term used in the dog world, and thus the sport is called disc dog.

What Is Disc Dog?

Disc dog is a popular dog sport that anyone can teach to their dog. Dog handlers must train their dog to catch a frisbee, either at a short distance, long distance or in a freestyle jump.

The best thing about disc dog is that you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or spend a lot to on some starter discs. You can also go pretty much anywhere you want to play with your dog.

Dogs That Will Love Disc

Dogs are not picky. Most will love playing with a disc, to chase, tug or chew up. No matter what they will be happy.

However, dogs that love balls or have a strong herding instinct or prey drive will love this sport the most! They already love the chase and will have no problem going after a flying disc. They’ll go by instincts.

How To Get Started

It is best to get at least 2 discs for your dog. We recommend discs made specifically for dogs, such as those made by Hyperflite or Hero Disc USA. Puppies or dogs just getting into disc dog should learn to fetch and retrieve with a soft toy or soft disc. The last thing you would want to do is to hit your dog with a hard frisbee and turn them off the sport altogether. For more advanced play, you can get a vest so your dog can jump off you while doing tricks.




  1. Comfort First.

Before you begin, make sure your dog is comfortable with the disc. Place the disc on the ground and let your dog sniff the disc. Hold and waive the disc around to make it fun and interesting. Then, slide the disc on the ground to make it even more interesting. Reward your dog with treats or praise every time he goes after or touches the disc. You want to let him know that it’s good to go after a disc!


  1. Love the Chase.

Now that your dog is comfortable with a moving disc, teach him to chase it. With disc in hand, lure your dog around you and reward when he goes after the disc. You may have to hold and waive the disc again to make it interesting and fun.  Repeat this exercise a few times.

Next, try tossing the disc a few feet away from you with the flat side down (edges curled up). Give your dog a command word such as “take it” or “get it” and reward him when he goes after the disc. You can use any command but be clear and consistent in its use. You can also try rolling the disc on the floor if that will excite your dog more. The goal is simply to get your dog to love the chase and not to discourage him.

Since your dog is still getting used to a disc, you really want to make playtime interesting. Keep sessions at 5-10 minutes so you keep your dog wanting to play more! When your dog “loves the chase” add in a sit before you allow your dog to go after something.


  1. Fetch & Retrieve.

Roll the disc on the ground like a wheel and reward your dog when he goes after and picks up the disc with his mouth. Don’t forget to use your command word for him to go after the disc. Once your dog has the disc in his mouth, enthusiastically call him over to you by saying “come” or “touch” and reward with a treat.

Practice alternating between disc rolls and short disc tosses with the flat side down.  Encourage your dog to go after the disc and then reward him when he comes back to you.

If your dog is not treat motivated, you may want to use a second disc to entice your dog to come to you and drop the first disc. You may also want to use a long leash if your dog has trouble with recall or practice more recall exercises at a short distance.


  1. Drop & Reward.

By now, your dog should love to fetch and retrieve the disc. You may be running into a problem in that he does not freely drop the disc when he comes back to you.

It’s important to make your dog realize that you will not continue to play until he drops the first disc. Play will only continue when he gives you the first disc, but in exchange for the second.

When your dog has a disc in his mouth, lure your dog with a second disc and ask him to “drop” or “give” his disc to you.  If you hold the first disc do so gently so that you do not tug. As soon as your dog drops his disc, say “good” or “yes” and give him the second disc.

Now, let your dog play for awhile with the second disc and exchange discs again. If your dog does not give you the disc, try waiving the second disc around or make some noise to get your dog’s attention. You want to make yourself and the second disc interesting. Always remember to say your command and reward immediately after.

Stop play and turn away if your dog does not drop the first item and continue again in a short while. This signals to your dog that you will only play with him if he gives you the disc in exchange for the second. You have to be patient in this step and keep sessions short. Instead of a second disc, you can also use a rewarding treat and slowly phase that out into a second disc.


  1. Grab & Catch

In order for your dog to catch a disc, he needs to learn to jump and grab the disc with his mouth.

Ask your dog to sit. Hold the disc out level to your dog’s mouth and ask him to “take” or “get” the disc. Once your dog grabs the disc tell him “yes” and let him play with the disc. Now, ask your dog to drop the disc and take the disc back.

Slowly increase the difficulty of grabbing by raising the disc higher up until your dog has to jump to catch the disc. Then, walk and lure your dog to take the disc as your are walking so he has to jump and catch in motion.


  1. Throw & Catch

Not every dog will catch a disc the first time. Learning the foundations above will help your dog catch a disc but it does take a lot of practice until your dog really masters this. There are a few exercises that you can practice with your dog. Don’t forget to use your command words to have your dog “take” or “get” the disc.

  • Hold a disc with your dog at one side and lure him halfway around you. Then, throw the disc for your dog to catch.
  • You can practice throwing the disc, food, balls, and other toys a short distance in front of your dog’s face. Increase the speed and make your dog learn to focus and catch.
  • If you have a lot of discs, you can alternate holding discs from your right and left hands. I may be easier to be kneeling or sitting while you do this. Hold out a disc in your right hand and have your dog “take” the disc. While your dog goes for the disc, grab a disc from your stack in your left hand and ask your dog to drop the first disc and go for the second disc.  When your dog is comfortable with this, start throwing the disc a short distance for him to catch.


Over time, you should increase the distance of your throw when your dog is consistently catching the disc. You can also increase the height of the throws over time. Make it even more interesting by adding in your own tricks and freestyle moves!
Related Pawtivities: Play Frisbee, Disc Roller, Running Catch (Disc), Ultimate Frisbee
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