Articles Index/Training
Posted 07/06/0598


Playing games with your dog is a great way to cement your relationship, and it can be good exercise, too. Along the way, you can get in a fair amount of training in an informal atmosphere. Among the games you might consider are:

Hide and Seek -- Place your dog on a sit stay, or have someone hold him, and then go hide and call the dog to you. Be very excited when you are found. Start making it more difficult by "hiding" behind doors, pieces of furniture, etc. If you are not found at first, call again. Some dogs use their noses for this task, others will just look. It's a great way to encourage a fast recall.
Simon Says -- This is one way to make obedience training an interactive game. Try sitting when you tell your dog to "sit" or lying down when you say "down". Try turning your back to your dog when you give commands. Mix up the order of commands you usually give your dog. Make him "guess" what is next! The fact that you are behaving rather oddly will help proof him for later distractions.

Clean Your Room -- Get a box or basket and collect lots of toys and other dog-safe items. Scatter everything on the floor. Encourage your dog to pick up the items one at a time and place them in your hand. Every time the dog picks up something, reward him with lots of praise and a food treat. Make it harder and harder to put things in your hand, while rewarding successful efforts with lots of praise. Each item the dog picks up is put in the box until the room is all cleaned up!

Get your dog used to sitting down before you feed him, waiting for you to go through doorways first, and other useful behaviors while he is still a puppy. Giving simple commands ... followed by lots of praise ... and then issuing a reward ... is the foundation for later more formal training. Once your dog knows it's fun to listen to you, you'll be well on the way to a well-behaved companion.

ANTIC, March, 2005

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