Playtime & Tricks Part 2


Catch

This trick is easy to teach using big, light, fluffy and easy to catch popcorn. You can use any food for this game.

  • Buy a bag of popcorn and toss one at the time.
  • Be patient. Co-ordination may take time, but your dogs motor skills will slowly develop. 

See It, Drop It

This game uses food to teach your pooch impulse control as it learns to wait and look at the food before being cued to “Get it.”

  • Gently restrain your dog so that it will wait to see the treat.
  • The game will progress until your pooch waits and sees it on its own.
  • Drop the treat. Gently restrain your dog when it tries to get it. When your dog is settled, say “Get it,” removing the restraint and allowing it to get the food.
  • The dog will eventually learn to see it, wait and on cue get it, if you drop or toss a treat.

Target Game (Nose-first) with Food

The easiest way to start this game is by teaching your dog to touch its nose to a target held close to its nose. You can use a pencil, a sticky note or your hand for smaller dogs and a tennis ball for larger dogs.

  • Choose an appropriate target for your pooch.
  • Show it with the target. Present it swiftly to your dog, about a quarter of an inch in front of its nose. Give your dog a treat as soon as it looks at the target.
  • If your dog touches it the right way, then reward it.
  • Again, show your dog the target at a quarter inch from its nose. As soon as your dog touches it with its nose, reward it.
  • Once your pooch learns, you can move the target a little to the right or left, a little lower or higher. Reward your dog once it touches the target with its nose.
  • Play no more than 3 to 5 minutes at a time.

Place

This play is a type of target game, wherein your dog’s bed, a platform or a mat is the target place. The aim of this game is to make your pet go to a place, and when your dog does it earns a reward.

  • Begin with no more than a foot away from the place.
  • Refrain from luring your dog into the area. Instead, get it to do it by itself and then reward your dog after.
  • Show your dog the treat and then use your body language, such as leaning or looking towards the place.
  • Reward your dog immediately with every successful contact with its place. You can give your dog the treat with your hands or toss the treats and say “get it” as a food toss game.
  • After your dog readily goes to its place, begin to add the command “place.”
  • Once your dog learns, move a little farther away. Stay at this distance and stare at it until your dog goes to its place by itself. The moment your dog sets foot on the place, toss a reward.
  • Gradually increase the distance. 

If your pooch is not familiar with a mat or a platform, then introduce it first. Encourage your dog to walk over it, sniff it or give it a few treats on the place before you begin the game.

Leave It!

This game teaches the dog to leave the treat, not grab it from your hand, and then take treats from your hand gently. You can readily show this to your dog as it wants the food you are holding.

  • Hold a tasty treat in your hand.
  • Close your hand to form a fist to hide the treat inside and hold it to your dog. It will likely sniff, try to nibble, paw and lick.
  • Quietly wait until your dog stops investigating your fist and moves its nose away. The moment it does say “Yes” and then open your hand, allowing it to eat the treat from your flat open palm.
  • When your dog learns to refrain from getting the treat, you can say, “Leave it.”
  • When your dog is doing well, try offering the treat with an open hand. The goal is to make your dog “leave it” until you give it permission to do so. Quickly close your hand when it tries.
  • When your dog learns well, you can try different situations, such as a treat on the ground, a chair, etc.                 
  • Remember to add the cue “leave it” when your dog is reliably refraining from taking the treat. Also, use the signal “TREAT” to let your dog know that it has permission to take it.

Physical Play

When your dog shows little interest in toys and food games, playing physical games will light the mood up and make it come alive.

Hide and Seek

  • Quickly leave the room and then hide. Call out to your pet and wait.
  • Hopefully, your dog will search to find you. When it does, you can tease it by hiding your face or giggling. You also can pet your dog when it finds you.

Touch

  • Hold your palm near your pooch’s face and wait until it touches it with its nose. Reward your dog with a treat. When your dog mouths your hand, do not reward it. Only a nose touch is allowed.
  • As your pet learns to touch your palm with its nose, gradually put your hand in other positions so that your dog will have to move to reach it.

Touch is the foundation of lift and spin.

Lift

  • Hold your hand above your dog’s head in a manner that it has to lift up to touch it.
  • You can slowly progress to make your dog do an impressive leap to touch your hand, which is fun for many dogs.

Spin

  • Move your hand following a small clockwise circle over your dog’s nose. As your pet follows your hand, it will turn in a tight circle.
  • Slowly fade your hand as your dog learns to spin until it does it only with a hand gesture as the cue.

Go Wild and Freeze

  • Look at your pooch and say “Go wild”, and then get excited, get silly, jump around and make some noise. It will encourage your dog to be playful as well.
  • After a moment, say “Freeze,” then turn away from it, cross your arms and be quiet.
  • When your pet is calm, “go wild” and then freeze again.