BEST DOG GAMES
By: Nelson Ansah
Have you ever wondered how your dog can identify you? If you’re thinking by your scent, you’re not wrong. But it goes beyond that.
Dogs are constantly on alert about their environment. They want to know everything about it and, of course, about the people around them. Who is a friend? Who is a threat? You can say it’s their survival instincts.
For dogs, all time is learning time. Whether you’re walking them to the park or watching a movie indoors, they’re looking for visuals and cues that tell them how to behave in that setting. You can take advantage of this trait to train your dog the way you want.
One of the best ways to do that is through games. Games are an excellent way for you to train your dog while having some fun. So, we’ve gone ahead and found four amazing games that can teach your dog a lesson or two.
The Name Game
Dogs are adventurous. They love to go out and explore their environment, seeing, smelling, and hearing some unusual things. You probably have no problem with that, but you’ll want your dog to return at your beck. That’s where the name game comes in.
The name game involves getting your dog’s attention by mentioning its name and giving it a treat for every response. Essentially, a response to a call = treat. Once your dog gets the routine, you can change it.
For instance, you can add a distraction. Let someone else walk by as you call your dog’s name. If your dog responds, you can then reward it.
It’s vital to not set your dog up to fail. It’s training, and your dog isn’t going to get it all on the first try. Begin with little distractions and routines, then work your way up. You can find more step-by-step instructions on the name game here.
The Hot and Cold Game
This next game is excellent for clicker training your dog. First, figure out what you want to teach your dog. It can be anything at all-maybe picking keys up from the floor.
What you do then is to sit back with your bag of treats and wait for your dog to try its luck. If your dog moves towards the keys, shout a hearty “hot” and throw some treats near the keys. If it moves away from the keys, shout a less excited “cold” to acknowledge that as the wrong direction.
Finally, if your dog edges back to the keys, shout a more excited “hot” again. Don’t forget to toss a treat in there as a reward. This game helps you teach your dog some tricks and whatnot. Pretty easy, right?
The Shadow Game
It’s a joy to have your dog walk by you without the need for a leash. That’s not an easy place to get to, but luckily, the shadow game can help.
Begin by walking with your dog on a leash in a quiet environment. You’ll need to have some treats handy here. Start walking in any direction, and if your dog catches up with you, reward it with a cookie.
Now, your dog can get ahead of you during the walk. When this happens, turn a slight 180 degrees and drop some treats near you. You then call or pull your dog back into munch on your goodies. While your dog is busy with its treat, take a few paces away and wait for it to catch up. Give your dog a goody every time it catches up with you.
You’ll have to repeat this game for your dog to begin following you willingly. The goal here isn’t to drag your dog by the neck. Then, you’re simply teaching nothing.
The You’ve Got a Friend in Me Game
As the name suggests, this game is more of a trust-building technique. It helps you connect with your dog and build a lasting bond. Plus, it’s quite easy to pull off, so many dog owners like this technique.
Here’s what to do. First off, you have to get your dog to lie on the floor. If your dog is able to do this, you need to heap some praise on it. Next, walk around your dog to its rear and gently outstretch your legs so you have one on either side of it.
This move can freak your dog out, so be gentle and don’t stay in that posture for long. You can now return to facing your dog and give it a treat for good behavior. Repeat this for a while until getting behind your dog doesn’t alarm it.
Now, instead of going head to tail, go side to side. Make sure your dog is still quite comfortable while you do this. Keep this routine up until you can move all around your dog without it fidgeting.