5 Training Games to try during Lockdown
With many people being at home more it is the perfect time to work on some simple training with your dogs.
Here are some simple games from Release the Hounds that are effective and fun to help get your training well under-way.
- Sit for Petting
Want a puppy that doesn’t jump on people? Teach Sit, and then only pet your puppy when he’s sitting. Hold a treat above his nose and slowly move it backwards over his head, towards his tail. As he stretches for the treat, his rear should go down. As soon as he sits, give him a treat.
When you can get five sits in a row, then try one without a treat in your hand, but still using the same hand motion—this will become your hand signal. Hand signals are easier for dogs to understand than verbal signals. Give the hand signal and when your dog sits, give him a treat from your opposite hand. When your dog is reliably responding to the hand signal, then you’ll add the verbal cue, “Fido, Sit,” then give the hand signal, and when he sits, treat. When he does well with this step, you can start to phase out the hand signal so he just responds to your verbal cue.
- The Name Game
This can be played as a warm up for your dog. It simply involves you saying your dog’s name and when he or she looks at you give them a treat. Repeat this about 5 times and then move on.
- The Shadow Game
The Shadow Game helps build a foundation for good walking practice and to encourage your four legged-friend to not only follow you but to return to you willingly.
Start at home in a quiet environment with your dog on a leash. Pack up some treats for rewards and start to walk around in any direction. Any time your dog catches up to you them a treat.
If your pup gets ahead of you, simply turn gently 180 degrees and place a treat on the ground. As your dog munches the treat, walk ahead a few paces but be ready for them to catch up to you again and give another treat when they does.
Go forwards, backwards (your dog comes towards you), sideways, fast, slow, stop, run, walk, go around trees, over rocks and anything else you can come up with to get your dog to follow you like a shadow.
Aim of this game is to encourage your dog to retrieve their favourite and give it to you.
Start with your dog on a lead or in a small room where he can’t run away. Throw one of their favourite toys on the floor and when he or she picks it up, call them to you or reel him in using their lead gently.
Take one hand and hold on to the toy and cue him to “Give” the toy to you. With your other hand present a treat to trade him for the toy. When he gives the toy immediately praise him and give him the treat.
- Find the Toy
Start with two clear containers and a valuable toy. Have your dog sit and allow him to watch you place the toy under one of the containers. Now shuffle the boxes around and then tell him to “find the toy”! If necessary you can help him out by pointing to the correct box and encouraging him to get it by pawing, nudging or flipping over the box.
Praise warmly when he finds the toy and ask him to bring it to you. Trade him for a treat to ensure he remembers the Give Game but then return the toy to him as a reward for his hard work.