How To Play Games With Your Dog
How To Play Games With Your Dog
Ali Taylor from Battersea Dogs and Cats Home in London shows you some fun games to play with your dog which will provide both physical and mental exercise.
Step 1: Choose a toy
Different dogs will like different toys so make sure you use something that your pet finds interesting and fun. Don't choose toys which over-excite your dog, as you need to be able to stay in control of the game. Avoid sticks which can shatter and splinter or toys with pieces that could be swallowed. All toys should be non-toxic and solvent free.
Step 2: Choose a game
Different breeds of dog appear to be driven by different types of games - for example, you will be more likely to get a retrieving breed to want to fetch a ball. Terriers often enjoy toys that squeak, and scent hounds enjoy tracking games. You are more likely to interest your dog in playtime if you start with a game that appeals to him.
Step 3: Chase and retrieve
Before starting chase games, make sure your dog will come back to you. See VideoJug's 'How to train your dog to come when called' for tips on how to do this. When your dog is sitting, throw a ball or toy a short distance in front of you. As you throw it, say 'FETCH' and follow him for a few paces as he runs after it. When your dog picks up the toy, run away from him so he is encouraged to chase you. When he catches up with you, turn around and put your hand out, and say 'DROP'. If your dog gives you the toy, reward him with praise or a treat from the other hand. If he won't let go, encourage him to take a toy or treat from your other hand. Don't try and take it out of his mouth, as this can lead to dogs becoming possessive over their toys.
Once your dog has mastered the process, throw the toy longer and longer distances, and try the game with different toys.
If your dog looks bored, stop the game straightaway as you need to keep him motivated.
Step 4: Search
Search games are a more challenging version of chase games as they require concentration. Tie your dog up, and show him that you have a treat or toy in your hand. Keeping his attention, walk away and let him see you put the toy or treat somewhere out of sight, like under a cushion. Put it somewhere close and obvious to start with. Untie your dog, and tell him to 'go find'.
Repeat the game with more difficult hiding places, until you can hide treats or toys around the garden or house without your dog watching.
Step 5: Hide and Seek
Tell your dog to sit. See VideoJug's 'How to train your dog to sit and lie down' for tips on how to do this. Walk away, making sure that he is watching you. Let him see you hide somewhere really obvious, and then call him to you or whistle. Reward him with praise and treats or a game when he finds you. Repeat the process, with more difficult hiding places. When your dog starts to get the hang of the game, tell him 'I'm hiding' when you walk away from him, and call him with a whistle when you're ready.
Step 6: Agility
Dogs such as collies enjoy more advanced games such as jumping over barriers. Your dog should be at least a year old and have no medical conditions to attempt agility exercises. Put your dog on a lead to start with so you have full control. Lure him over the barrier with a favourite toy. Repeat the process until his confidence builds up and you don't need the lead or the toy.
Remember to keep control and avoid getting your dog over-excited, but make playtime fun.