Dogs love to play! This is a real opportunity to strengthen your bond and is a healthy exercise for both. Play is an important part of a dog’s training and he can exercise his basic dog instincts with it. Here are some ideas to keep playing always interesting and fun for both.
Play hide and seek
A person hides after first showing that he has the dog’s favorite toy or a treat. First, choose a shelter that the dog can find easily and have it look closely first. Encourage him to find the person who can return the toy or treat to him as a reward. After a while, you make the game more difficult. Distract your dog while the other player is hiding, use different hiding places and move around.
Find the candy
Tell your dog to “stay” and show him a treat or biscuit, which you will then clearly place under a pillow or behind a chair. Go back to your dog and give him the command “search”. With a little practice, you can pretend that you are hiding the object in a number of places in the room. Make the game more difficult by going over a number of rooms and keeping the dog out of the room while hiding the treat.
A scavenger hunt is great fun but requires a little practice. First, keep your dog on a long or flexible leash, with a fixed collar. Never use a choke band. Tell your dog to stay where he is while you stand back about 20 yards and display a toy or treat. Drag your feet to leave as much scent as possible and hold the treat close to the ground to let the dog search the ground. Leave the reward at the end of the track and then come back the same way. Give the command “follow the trail” and encourage your dog to sniff the trail where you walked until he finds the reward. Gradually you can make the track longer by walking in different directions and following different patterns.
Try this game when your dog has learned well to follow a track. When outside, drop a toy without your dog seeing it and keep walking for a few feet. Stop and then say “look back” to encourage him to retrace the route (most dogs are able to track your scent, even if they don’t know exactly which direction you went) until he finds the toy. You can use a long leash initially so you can keep the dog on the right track. Over time, you will lengthen the distance and make the object more difficult to find. Don’t throw the object too far from where you walked, or your dog won’t be able to find it without your scent.
You can even teach your dog to go and retrieve an item without leaving your couch! You can also play computer games such as ‘zaros boosting‘ while your dog busy playing in your backyard. Offer your dog a toy and if he licks and smells it, say “search.” Once your dog has learned to touch the toy with his nose when you ask him to and you tell him to “fetch”, repeat the exercise several times and then reward him with praise or a treat. The next step is to teach him to put the toy in his mouth to retrieve it. By working very slowly and in stages, you should be able to get the dog to switch from smelling to taking the toy in its mouth at your command. Never proceed to the next step until the current step is 100% mastered. Once you have reached this stage, drop the toy and tell it “fetch”. When your dog starts to do this right, you can start throwing the toy a little further each time. Don’t reward your dog until he returns the toy. Of course, you are not obliged to play in your living room. Try to play on a walk or in the yard as soon as your dog gets the idea. And beware: a game of “fetch” can quickly turn into a “chase” or a “battle”. And it is far too easy for your dog to win these games.