Free Training Tips

Engage Your Pup: Fun, Easy Games to Get Her to Behave

 

So you got that

furry, wiggly little ball of excitement home and he is peeing all over your house! It seems he cannot contain his excitement, or at least his bladder cannot. And you would be right to assume such. Young pups, particularly males, have great difficulty learning to control their, um…”excitement” 😉 Oh! And she hops and jumps, gets right in your face. She seems that she just needs to be near you all the time! Again, you are partly right. She does “need” to be near you, but more so because her drive and instincts compel her to compete with you. I know, I know. It is just so adorable and it feels great to be needed! I get it. At the same time, to give into or merely tolerate such behaviors will eventually teach your pup that you are not in control. You cannot be depended upon. On this same note, you never want to yell, smack or jerk him around by his collar in response to these behaviors. After all, he is just being a pup. It is up to you to teach him how to be a good pup!

Here are some fun, easy games to engage your pup (or dog) that will help her learn to behave.

Find Me

Not all dogs need to be working dogs or training for search and rescue to enjoy the whimsies of figuring out where someone may be found. A game I taught my dogs, I call “Find Me”, encourages them to work out their innate curiosity, run all over the house and get a treat for doing so! All the while, I engage them in a passive obedience effort–cooperating with each other and myself. This is especially fun if you have more than one dog!

Have no worry here if your dog is older. Mia is 5 1/2 years young and we just started this game shortly after her 5th birthday last year! She does great with it.

Here is how it works:

After a short play time, getting their full attention, I make them Sit/Stay or Down/Stay. I go hide somewhere in the house, with two treats (usually crackers) in my hand. When I reach my desired position, I yell, “Find me!” and then remain quiet. At that command, my girls begin to search the house for me. When they do find me, I immediately congratulate them while giving them each a treat. Then we head back to the dining room to start all over again 🙂

It truly is that simple. Great thing about dogs, too, is that they do not ever seem to get bored with the “same ole game”, no matter how many times it’s played!

So, how did I get my dogs–an older dog and a pup–to Sit or Down and Stay while I am out of the room? Glad you asked!

Fun Building

There are several “play time” activities that I do with my dogs regularly, to engage them, build focus, direct drive, help them cooperate with each other, build on basic obedience, and, of course, have fun. Training dogs is one of those activities that fits the novel saying, “If it feels like work, you are doing it wrong!” Sure, I get frustrated with my pups at times. Who doesn’t? But even then I make it an opportunity to have fun together.

Here are some of those engagement activities (“play time”):

You see in the short video my two dogs and we briefly play a few simple games. By the time I give them the Down/Stay, I have their full attention. Then I leave the room. Obviously, this needs to be built up. Start with the Down or Sit and have him Stay for maybe a minute. Then give him a treat or, if you prefer, have some tug time (which is a treat) in place of food. Add a minute or so as he stays without breaking in the shorter times. Then you can build up to a Sit or Down/Stay and leave the room for as much time as you need to go hide.

This can be done with one, two, or more dogs. If you have more than one dog, I suggest you mix it up, spending time with each one individually and with them together. You will be amazed at what a little “play time” can do in even fixing issues you may have with your pups–and they may have with each other.

What Does This Have to Do with Peeing?

As you engage your pup and she learns that interaction and commands are fun, she will begin to listen better in other areas, such as potty breaks. Granted, a lot depends on the age of your pup, but still integrate these play times with other training, including housebreaking, and you will see how much easier, and fun, all training becomes!

Free Training Tips

Key #1: As always, consider the age of your pup in whatever you ask of him.

Key #2: Take seriously the fact that dogs learn from everything we do–and neglect to do. They need to learn to depend on you as head of the pack.

Key #3: Engaging your dog in fun games often helps in all other areas of training a great dog for a fine household (pack).

Key #4: Remember, “If it feels like work, you are doing it wrong!”

Enjoy!

 

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