Wednesday, 7th October 2015
Playing with your dog / puppy is a really important communication and relationship building activity and there’s actually much more at stake when it comes to playtime than you might think…
How we play with our dog lays the foundations for our relationship and the secret is to define the boundaries and rules of the game and to control where it starts and stops.
Sounds easy doesn’t it but in general terms we humans are simply too slow, too predictable, too inconsistent, and above all, too boring!
That’s why you see dogs disengage from their owner, roam around, find sticks, branches, and toys that they can chew on their own, run after leaves, check out any other animals or people and go play with them instead…
In reality this encourages the dog to pay no attention to us when we’re outside, the opposite of what we’d like… if you're not careful you end up with a dog that won’t listen to you and this is when most dog owners sign up for obedience classes as a last resort!
Play the right games with an appropriate structure however and you can transform the behaviour of your wild child that bolts away to greet another dog or person on the horizon and there are literally hundreds of games you can play. ‘Chasing Food’ is one of my all time favourites and I play it on every single walk!
Game 1: Chasing food
For me this is by far the best interactive game that you can play with your dog/puppy and it’s really simple!
You can build up to incorporating exercises like sit, down, etc. throwing the treat as a reward.
The Chasing Food game will increase your dog’s responsiveness massively and it’s the foundation exercise for training your dog to cope with distracting environments.
If you incorporate this game with clicker training principles it’s profoundly useful in keeping your dog engaged and focused on you in the presence of environmental stressors and distractions.
Stay tuned for more information about two more essential games to play!
Meanwhile happy playtime!