DON'T FORGET TO PLAY GAMES WITH YOUR DOG ... IT'S FUN, AND GOOD
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
- 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
ANTIC, March, 2005
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