Disc Dog Training Plan: How Much Do My Dogs Practice?

Here are the types of training my dogs do and how often we train in a typical week. I included everything I felt was relevant to disc, even a disc isn’t used in that particular form of training. This plan varies a bit when we’re traveling or have competitions on back to back weekends. There are periods where I’ll let them have up to a week off, just to have a break. Some of these things (like strength and trick training) are often combined in the same training session for efficient time management.

I’ll share about my current main competition dogs, Volt and Torch. Volt is 3 years old and plays at a lowish advanced level. Right now, he has moments of brilliance, but there’s no rhyme or reason to it. The goal is to get him to play more consistently at an advanced level. Torch is 8 years old and plays at a very advanced level. The goal is to maintain the highest level of play during world championship competition season in September/October, while avoiding burnout as a result from over-training. (The only thing worse than under-training is over-training.)

From March to October is when we do more intense and focused training with the goal of competing well. We mostly refine what we know during competition season. November to February (aka the “off” season, although we don’t really have one in Southern California) is more relaxed and focuses on maintaining their fitness levels, reinforcing foundations, working on new tricks, and routine building. Occasionally, we’ll do other things that are not on this list, but those are not part of our habitual training regime and not listed here.

[Disc Stuff]
Freestyle Practice: One round of freestyle (1.5 to 2 minutes/session)
• Volt: 1-3x/week
• Torch: 1x/week (Off season: ≤1x/week)

Freestyle Sequence/New Trick Practice: Miscellaneous freestyle practice, may include random freestyle play (5 to 10 minutes)
• Volt: ≤1x (Off season: 1-3x)
• Torch: ≤1x (Off season: 1-2x)

Toss and Fetch Practice: One round of toss and fetch (1 to 2 minutes)
• Volt: 3-6x (Off season: 1-2x)
• Torch: 2-4x (Off season: ≤1x)

Toss & Fetch Hand Off Drills: Includes recalls, hand touches, running hand touches, dropping in hand, etc. (5 to 10 minutes)
• Volt: 2x (Off season: 3x)
• Torch: ≤1x

Tracking Drills: Throwing in ways to make the dog track the disc – high throws, throws with extreme hyzer and anhyzer; usually combined with hand off drills (5 to 10 minutes)
• Volt: 1x+
• Torch: ≤1x

[Non-Disc Stuff]
Jumping Drills: 
Straight jump grids, curved jump grids, jump collection training (20 minutes)
• Volt: 1x (Off season: 1-2x)
• Torch: ≤1x

Strength Training: Fitness training using treats (20 minutes)
• Volt: 2-3x (Off season: 1-2x)
• Torch: 2-3x (Off season: 1-2x)

Trick Training: Tricks for our pre-routine and just for fun tricks using treats; often combined with strength training (10 minutes)
• Volt: 1-2x (Off season: 2-3x)
• Torch: 1x (Off season: 2-3x)

Swimming: Swimming for a toy in the pool (15 minutes)
• Volt: ≤1x (We’d do more, except he’s not a fan of it.)
• Torch: 2-3x (Off season: ≤2x, depending on if we make it to our friends’ pool or not)

Hike/Trail Run: 
3 to 6 miles of mixed running and walking with varied incline (up to 2 hours)
• Volt: 1-3x (Off season: 1-2x)
• Torch: 2-4x (Off season: 1-2x)

I’m able to do a lot with them because both are pretty high drive. If I had a lower drive dog, the amounts and kinds of training would be changed according to that dog’s needs. Also, you’ll notice Torch trains significantly less than Volt for most things. This is because of his age and built skill level. Besides learning an occasional new trick, he’s mostly coasting off skill training he did when he was younger. On the other hand, Volt is still working on a lot of his skills, like catching and fast returns.

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3 thoughts on “Disc Dog Training Plan: How Much Do My Dogs Practice?

Add yours

  1. Do you have any recommendations of what to do with a dog who catches discs really well when it’s cloudy but chases the shadow of the disc when it’s sunny?


    1. Hi Casper!
      I haven’t had any dogs that chase the shadow of the disc, but I know many who have the same issue. For dogs that chase shadows, I’ve seen more success when the handler chooses to throw into the sun, causing the disc’s shadow to be behind the dog. Your dog is likely watching the shadow because he cannot see the disc in the air or he’s not just looking to see it in the air, or it can be both as those issues can be closely related. If you haven’t already, try testing out different colors of disc. If he can see the disc in the sky better than the shadow on the ground, he should follow the one he sees best, in theory. A transparent disc (such as Hero Disc USA’s SuperHero) may cast less of a shadow. Tracking drills should also help get your dog to look up for the disc. Start with 10-15 yard throws that float a just a bit. When he shows proficiency at that level, slowly increase the height and distance. Here’s an example of tracking drills: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoEtFokuc_k&


      1. Thank you! Someone recommended tracking drills, but I honestly have no idea what those are and couldn’t find a video. I will watch it and try it for myself.


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