How playing with your dog can help improve obedience
Games provide an opportunity for a dog and its's owner to enjoy each other. They also provide wonderful mental stimulation especially on rainy or stormy days.
In general some basic rules should be followed:
- Make sure games are initiated by you - leaders initiate play !
- Dog must be under control and not using it's teeth on your skin. If this happens stop the game and walk away.
- Always end the game with the dog wanting more.
My favorite indoor game is hide and seek. Start by showing the dog a toy and then putting him in a sit/stay. Hide the toy somewhere really obvious and encourage him to search for it saying "find it". Anytime he moves toward the toy or sniffs in the general direction praise him with "good, find it". When he picks it up, play with him for a minute or so and tell him how clever he is. Each time you hide the toy make it a little further away and more well hidden than before. If he's having trouble finding the toy don't be afraid to help a little and next time make it a little less challenging. Use a toy your dog really likes to pick up and hold on to.
A variation on this game is using yourself as the hidden object and getting a friend or family member to help. Start by calling your dog back and forth between you and a friend, giving a small treat at each end. Gradually move one person further and further away out of the room, upstairs, downstairs, in closets, under beds, in the garage, etc. The person that hides can use his voice to encourage the dog to find him. When he does find you , give him lots of praise and even a food reward if it was especially difficult. Most importantly have fun !!
Playing games with your dog will not only help you bond more closely but also help make him more excited and motivated to work with you in all aspects of your training. Games provide a fun way to improve
obedience performance and provide mental stimulation to keep a dog from leading a boring existence. So go get your dog and play something you both enjoy !!