Just like people, dogs love to play games and have fun! It’s a great release for the two of you and it strengthens the bond between you both. By playing games with your dog regularly, you will notice that he/she is more alert, less destructive and in better emotional and physical shape! What more could you ask for!
Do’s and Don’ts about game playing
DO Make rules that are fair for your dog.
Do Play in a safe location for both of you.
DO Use a lot of food treats and dog toys.
DO Pour on the praise to your dog.
DO Always start the game and finish it.
DO Reward your dog with “life rewards” – Throw a ball for your dog only when he/she sits.
DON’T Be unfair to your dog by asking him/her to sit or lie down if he/she does not know how to.
DON’T Play in areas that are unsafe.
DON’T Get frustrated or angry at your dog. That defeats the whole purpose of playing and having fun.
DON’T Play tug-of-war games with your dog if he guards items. It teaches them to fight over objects.
DON’T Play head smacking games with your dog. This will only instill roughness in your dog.
My all-time favorite! “Find It”. Get treats and place them inside or out in fairly easy locations for your dog to find. Add the cue “find it”. Praise with each detection. Gradually make the hidden locations more difficult.
Place pillows on the floor in between a doorway. Have your dog on one side of the doorway while you are at the other and call your dog to you with a food lure. This game can also be played with two people, one person on each side of the doorway & calling the dog back & forth.
3 CUP MONTY
Get three plastic cups and place one treat under neath one of the cups. Then encourage your dog to find where the treat is. Some dogs may need more coaxing than others.
HIDE AND SEEK
Dogs of all ages really enjoy this game! Have your dog in one room of your house while you go and hide somewhere. This doesn’t need to be anything drastic. Stay close as to not create stress for your dog. Begin to make a squealing nose or “bleep” sound to coax him/her. When you hear that he’s getting closer (warmer) praise him until he finds you. Some dogs may need some assistance from another person in finding the one hiding but in general, their sense of smell and curiosity will surely find you. Make it more exciting by taking a couple of whole food pieces (apples, chicken, etc) with you so when he locates you – JACKPOT!
If your dog is under 6 months of age this is a sure-fired way to instill organic observation skills. If you hide a short distance from your young dog, they will naturally begin to seek you out. With repetition, they learn to keep a very close eye on you, generally not venturing too far off. Begin indoors and gradually move outside. A clever, fun, and organic approach that teaches your dog to always keep an eye on you! and not venture too far away.
PLEASE NOTE: The outdoor version of hide and seek should only be played with young dogs off-leash in a safe zone. This is NOT intended for dogs older than 5 months due to the critical growth period that they are in. Dogs that are older than 5 months may run away – they have a heightened sense of curiosity and fear and therefore are not good candidates for this game.