Keeping your dog busy: Toys and games

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Toys: A toy that is appropriate for a small dog that is a light chewer could be very dangerous for a large dog that is a strong chewer. Be careful of toys that could be torn apart and swallowed. If a toy gets destroyed, make sure you throw it away.

My dogs favorite toys include Frisbee’s, tennis balls, tugs, Kong’s, Nylabones, and hard rubber toys.

There is a difference between an “everyday toy” and a “training toy”. A training toy is special. It is only used during training sessions, not for everyday play. Bring your training toy out, get your dog excited about it, then put it away before he gets bored.

Games: Fetch, tug-of-war, hide and seek, treat balls, and find it are great games to play with your dog.

Hide and seek – Hide items fro the dog to find. Purpose: fun, challenge, and exercise. Toss a treat on the floor and tell the dog to find it. When dog gets the treat and looks back at you say, “yes” or C/T and throw another treat and say, “find it” again. Try this at home with different toys, treats, or even people.

Find it game can be played with a favorite toy. Have the dog sit and wait and show him the toy and encourage him to sniff it. In the beginning hide the toy in plain sight and give lots of praise for a “find”. Pretty soon the toy can be hidden in more difficult places like under the sofa cushions and in other rooms.

Treat Balls can be great to use when you want to give your dog a job and keep them from getting bored. A job to work for his food. Just place his kibble in a treat ball or container specifically for this and let the dog play with it. As he plays with the ball the food will come out. What a fun way for your dog to earn his dinner. to find such a ball go to www.clickertraining.com or www.cleanrun.com * Remember there isn’t a law that says you must feed your dog from a bowl.

Go wild and freeze game: You do what it takes to get your dog excited and playful. You need to jump around and act silly with your dog when the “go wild” cue is given. Then when the “freeze” cue is given you ask the dog to sit or down. Then repeat the game over and over. This is a great game to teach your dog to calm down when he is excited.

Come Game: To come to you and other family members on cue. Purpose: To get dogs used to coming when called by a family member.
•Start with 2 people about 5-10 yds apart c/t the dog for running back and forth between you both. Dog should offer to go. Don’t call it just c/t for coming. When you’ve rewarded wait patiently for dog to go to the other person c/t.
•Now say, “fido, come” and c/t for coming. Give the dog his release command “OK” and have the other person call the dog. Do this many times in a ping-pong kind of manner.
•Make the game more challenging by moving to different rooms, outside, upstairs, and make it difficult for the dog to find you. When he comes c/t.
•You can play with many family members.
•You can play by yourself with the dog if the dog knows how to stay in one place while you go to a different location.

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