With a truly bad ass game dog…. It doesn’t matter. Hell…. You catch them as a courtesy so they can keep playing. They would happily break their legs for the toy. They don’t give a shit if you’re gonna be there or not.
But…. What about YOUR dog?
MOST dogs are limited not by how high they can jump, but by how high they think they can stick the landing from. The real trick to the catch is building the dogs faith that you WILL be there.
The problem is that in that most people wait until the dog starts to need” them to start catching. But… By then… When they go to catch it trips the dogs out and they don’t understand the sudden change. For some…. It’s actually quite aversive. You grabbing them out of no where. And it can turn them off the game all together.
So….. What do we do????
During tug…. Make sure you can pick up and carry the dog without a drop. For some…It’s just a do it, and they’re fine. Others….. You have to really successively approximate. Touch their belly while holding the toy. Slowly add a little lifting pressure, until….. EVENTUALLY…. You can pick them up in celebration and carry them a bit without them interrupting the game.
Introduce them to the “retrieve” game picture of Wall Climb. This can be done with Obedience. A helper. Or a Back Tie with quick release. Keep the toy low enough that the can run up to it and take it with all 4 on the floor. AFTER they take it…. Pick them up and carry them back to the line of departure. Play for a few seconds. OUT them. And either throw the toy back to the helper to re attach. Or….. Attach their harness to the back tie, or… just down them, so you can walk to the wall yourself and attach. Repeat picture as much as you want for your session.
After they master that….. Progressively raise the toy until they have to stand on their back feet. Then….. Eventually…. They will have to leave the ground to get it. That is the magic trust building moment. When they leave the ground, it will change from a “pick up and celebrate” to a “CATCH and celebrate”. Ideally….. When they leave the ground… they never feel themselves land. They KNOW you’ll be there. They don’t even know what it feels like to land on their own. You… Are just part of the picture.
And THAT is how you paint the picture for a normal dog. And not a dead gamer.
Wall climb… Like ALL the games in GRC are a beautiful testament to the relationship and trust.
Now…. Go catch your dog!!!