Good behavior is largely determined by your puppy’s self-control. When asked, a good pup sits even if he’d rather jump, resists when he wants to take, and releases when he wants to hold on. Try to do everything you can to notice and encourage that kind of control. One way to do this is to make sure that the games you play with your puppy foster the behaviors and attitudes you want. Avoid any game that involves play fighting with your pup (wrestling), competing for possession of an object (tug-of-war), or that has you following your pup’s lead (chase!). These can foster combat and competition between human and dog. Good games like “hide and seek,” “find it” and “beat the clock” promote cooperation and self-control. These kinds of games can also help support your leadership in positive ways by reinforcing the “you direct, your pup responds” relationship during play.
Hide and Seek
This game is great fun for everyone. Start with one person holding your pup while another hides. Once the person (let’s call him Johnny) is hidden, you say, “Where’s Johnny? Find Johnny,” and you walk with your pup through the house. At first, Johnny may have to make some noise to attract your pup’s attention. Once your pup finds him, everyone should praise the pup and tell him how bright he is. Soon your pup will charge around with no encouragement, finding each family member by name.
This is hide and seek with objects, such as beloved toys or biscuits. Have a friend hold your pup while you place the toy or biscuit a few feet away in plain sight. Return to your pup and say, “Where’s the biscuit? Find it. Find the biscuit,” and let him go. If he bolts to the biscuit, great. If he doesn’t, walk him to the biscuit, point it out, then praise him. As he gets better, make the hiding places harder and harder. Pups can learn many toys and objects by name playing this game. This is a wonderful rainy-day game to play with your puppy.
Beat The Clock
This high-speed game teaches your pup to respond quickly to commands, even when excited or distracted. This is something most pups need help with. Put your pup on a leash. Tell him “OK, playtime!” and start to romp. Speak excitedly and move around – do anything to get him happy and interested. Right in the middle of this play, give him a command he knows well, such as “sit.” Immediately become still and silent. Guide your puppy into position if you need to. The moment he sits, restart the game. If you do this correctly, being very happy and excited during the play and silent and still after commands, your pup will quickly learn how to “turn on” the game by obeying you immediately. These kinds of games help you build a strong relationship with your pup because they can improve how he listens and responds to you now and in the future.
This article was provided by Pedigree Foods.